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#1662002 - 04/17/11 09:09 PM Using clusters
36251 Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/12/10
Posts: 724
I watch videos of pianists making great music and they use a lot of cluster voicings. I'd like to hear how people think about this. Sure 3rds and 7ths give the chord it's sound but it looks like there's a lot more going on then just that. Do you take the Mehegan II/Vs and just play part of voicing? How about some ideas using a standard everyone would know. Stella? All the things you are?

Also, how you use the right hand in conjunction with left hand. Maybe using three notes with left hand and two notes with right?

The one last thing I'd say is that solo pianists using clusters sound like they're playing many more note voicings than what they're actually playing.
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#1663665 - 04/20/11 02:18 PM Re: Using clusters [Re: 36251]
AnonymousInvention Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/15/11
Posts: 142
Loc: Florida
Clusters give jazz and contemporary classical music some of their distinctive flavor. An example would be a Bbmaj7 chord played in the left hand as a comp chord cluster(bottom to top- A,Bb,middle C) with a melody over the top that might use a D and F in it to keep reference to the Bb, or not. Another example would be a G dominant 7 chord (the notes G,B,D,F) played as the cluster (bottom to top - D,E,F,G). Many jazz chords include a sixth. Thus, the jazz chord for an A dominant 7 in the left hand might be (bottom to top) G,B,C#,F# (the bass note A being filled in by the bassist or just implied). You can break this chord into clusters, where appropriate, by using parts of it, for example - (bottom to top) E,F#,G or G,B,C# or just B,C#. The type of cluster used may depend on what hand you play it in, if you plan to sustain it or are using it as a short attack etc. I hope that answers a little of the question you asked although, sorry, there are no references to the tunes you asked about.
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#1663774 - 04/20/11 05:15 PM Re: Using clusters [Re: 36251]
36251 Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/12/10
Posts: 724
I use some clusters; they're easy enough to make up. The hard part is fitting them in and resolving them musically and combining them with other types of voicings. I learn so much when a pro explains how he develops his thought pattern when playing. I not so much interested in the pre-arranged playing thoughts but live playing/jamming/sitting in and deciding at the moment when to use them.

I remember seeing a Rachel Z video and she was talking about voicings and she said she just used any notes her hands came down on, of a certain scale; but when I was practicing that idea it just seemed that a little more of her thinking would of helped my attempts.
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#1663805 - 04/20/11 05:55 PM Re: Using clusters [Re: 36251]
pianobroker Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/14/07
Posts: 4309
Loc: North Hollywood CA.
Clusters tend to relay dissonance,minor secounds which in a jazz context can sound great.
A common ii-V-1 voicing I use alot.

ii b7,9,b3,5
You only change(drop) one note b7 of the ii to the 3 of the V
V 3,6,b7,9
I 7,1,3,5

I use clusters in the right hand in that George Shearing block chordal concept flatting the 5th whenever adding that dissonance.
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#1664441 - 04/21/11 08:43 PM Re: Using clusters [Re: pianobroker]
36251 Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/12/10
Posts: 724
Originally Posted By: pianobroker
Clusters tend to relay dissonance,minor secounds which in a jazz context can sound great.
A common ii-V-1 voicing I use alot.

ii b7,9,b3,5
You only change(drop) one note b7 of the ii to the 3 of the V
V 3,6,b7,9
I 7,1,3,5

I use clusters in the right hand in that George Shearing block chordal concept flatting the 5th whenever adding that dissonance.
Those are very common and nice voicing but I don't consider those clusters. Those are just the mehegan voicings with the b7 of minor on the bottom (the other other one being the one with the 3rd on bottom.

I'll watch a pro and not recognize any of the voicings they're playing and the love how it sounds. Some examples might be, on a ii-, only play (lowest to highest) 9,b3 and for the V7 play 5,6,b7 and for I play 7,9,3,5 (or 6)
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