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Topic Options
#1780992 - 11/01/11 09:00 AM Best choice for Rootless LH voicing
Congax Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/12/10
Posts: 31
Hi,
I start seriously working on rootless voicings with LH.
The problem is that in the litterature I can find differents version of the two inversion for 4 notes voicing especially for the Imaj7.
Some pianist suggest for Imaj7 (from the bottom to the top):
3-5-6-9 or 3-5-7-9 for type A (inversion)
7-1-3-5 or 7-9-3-5 for type B
Because I would like to avoide bad habits, which version do you suggest to me in order to build sure and solid bases?
Thanks a lot!

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Piano & Music Accessories
#1780997 - 11/01/11 09:11 AM Re: Best choice for Rootless LH voicing [Re: Congax]
kevinb Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/18/09
Posts: 1565
FWIW, I am trying to get on top of both of these (and others). I think it's easier to make smooth progressions with rootless voicings if you are familiar with more than one inversion.

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#1781003 - 11/01/11 09:22 AM Re: Best choice for Rootless LH voicing [Re: Congax]
Congax Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/12/10
Posts: 31
Thanks for your answer kevinb,
In fact I would like to work II-V-I progression in the two inversion (3 or 7 on bass) in all keys. For the II and the V rootless voicing everybody is agree... but for the I..
I would like to choose one for type A and one for type B and keep it for the moment but which one? ...
thanks

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#1781018 - 11/01/11 09:53 AM Re: Best choice for Rootless LH voicing [Re: Congax]
erichlof Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/26/10
Posts: 375
Hi Congax,
Of those inversions that you mentioned, none would really form bad habits. All those are valid and will sound nice over the root (played by the bass player, or your L.H. first).
In Mark Levine's great book, the Jazz Piano Book, he categorizes both starting points that your L.H. pinkie plays (either the 3rd in the pinkie, or the 7th in the pinkie) as 'A' and 'B' voicings respectively. If you want to develop a good habit of being able to find the left-hand voicings by feel and without looking at the keyboard (while you stare at the music, or your right hand solo line), you should indeed learn the 'A' and 'B' stock voicings for all chords, including major, minor, and dominant.

To start out, keep it simple by limiting your 'A' choice to 3-5-7-9 and your 'B' choice to 7-9-3-5. That way, you get the same quality feedback no matter which one you choose on the fly. I think it's safe to say that most jazz pianists gravitate toward either the A or B depending on the Alphabet letter root of the chord.

For instance, if you have Dmin7,G7,CMaj7 , most jazz pianists would go for the A-B-A sequence. Spelled out, that would read F-A-C-E ('A'), F-A-B-D('B'), E-G-B-D('A'). Notice how nicely the ii-V-I progresses when you alternate A-B-A. You can literally feel this and play it without looking, with some practice.
But now, say the music calls for Amin7,D7,GMaj7 . Same ii-V-I progression as before, but now, most jazz pianists would intuitively go for the opposite sequence, namely B-A-B. Spelled out, that reads G-B-C-E('B'), F#-A-C-E('A'), F#-A-B-D('B'). If you try to do A-B-A on this one, it will either be too muddy down low, or if you octave it up, it probably will run into your right hand solo line. Remember, nothing is a law, so I have played the high A-B-A voicing before, but my right hand was at the top of the piano during a flurry, so it was safely out of the way. smile

The nice thing about learning these 'stock' voicings is that you can easily recall them while soloing or reading an unfamiliar tune. For instance, whenever I see an Am7 in the score, my left hand immediately goes for the 7th first in the pinkie (G), and I have found the 'B' voicing really quickly and easily.

I believe you could develop this method into a good habit.

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#1781021 - 11/01/11 09:57 AM Re: Best choice for Rootless LH voicing [Re: Congax]
daviel Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/14/07
Posts: 933
Loc: Waxahachie, Texas


Edited by daviel (11/01/11 05:06 PM)
Edit Reason: added a link
_________________________
"She loves to limbo, that much is clear. She's got the right dynamic for the New Frontier"
http://roadhouseallstars.com/

David Loving, Waxahachie, Texas

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#1781024 - 11/01/11 10:01 AM Re: Best choice for Rootless LH voicing [Re: Congax]
erichlof Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/26/10
Posts: 375
I just read your most recent post. Yes, I still stand by 'keeping it simple and the same'. So, for a while, it wouldn't hurt to limit yourself to 3-5-7-9, and 7-9-3-5. Both are solid sounding with the same "color". When you get better at feeling these without looking, it would be fun to change one of the middle notes, (most often the second from the bottom - either the 4th finger or middle finger, depending on which voicing you are on). This will change the "color" of the chord slightly, but not the function.
Hope this helps! smile


Edited by erichlof (11/01/11 10:02 AM)

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#1781044 - 11/01/11 10:59 AM Re: Best choice for Rootless LH voicing [Re: Congax]
Congax Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/12/10
Posts: 31
Thanks a lot erichlof!!!
Your answer is really clear for me and help me a lot!
Let's go for 3-5-7-9 (A) and 7-9-3-5 (A) for the Imaj7. I'll see the others later...
Thank to have spend time to answer me!
(Sorry for my ridiculus english!)

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#1781192 - 11/01/11 03:07 PM Re: Best choice for Rootless LH voicing [Re: Congax]
erichlof Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/26/10
Posts: 375
Hi Congax,
No problem - glad that I was able to help. smile I have learned a lot on PianoWorld.com (especially the Tech forum and non-classical forum), so any chance I have to 'give back', I am pleased to do so.
I wish PianoWorld was around 20 years ago, when I was starting out with all this jazz theory and piano tuning stuff! It would have made things a lot easier.

p.s. As I mentioned, I think you would enjoy Mark Levine's "The Jazz Piano Book", as it explains clearly and concisely most of the issues facing jazz pianists. I don't know if it is printed in your native language, but there are many music examples in it, and those are universal! smile

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#1781204 - 11/01/11 03:23 PM Re: Best choice for Rootless LH voicing [Re: Congax]
KlinkKlonk Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/19/09
Posts: 368
I know "Piano jazz" is available in french, I've seen it in the music shop down the street. Can't find it on the net though.


Edited by KlinkKlonk (11/01/11 03:24 PM)

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#1781582 - 11/02/11 06:04 AM Re: Best choice for Rootless LH voicing [Re: Congax]
Steve Nixon Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/18/10
Posts: 216
Loc: Chicago
Hi Congax,
Great question! I love rootless voicings and use them all the time. I actually made a couple instructional videos for www.freejazzlessons.com dealing specifically with rootless voicings. Hopefully these will answer some questions for you. Let me know if I can help further. Here they are:

Here's one on just left hand minor rootless voicings

http://www.freejazzlessons.com/category/left-hand-voicings/

Here's another one on comping with 2 handed rootless voicings.

http://www.freejazzlessons.com/2011/10/2...tless-voicings/
_________________________
Free Jazz Piano Lessons Online
www.freejazzlessons.com

Blues Piano Masterclass on DVD
http://www.learnbluespiano.net/

Learn Piano Online
http://www.pianolessonsonline.com

Online Jazz, Blues, & Rock Piano Lessons
http://stevenixonmusic.net/lessons.cfm

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#1784853 - 11/07/11 05:15 PM Re: Best choice for Rootless LH voicing [Re: Congax]
AnonymousInvention Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/15/11
Posts: 142
Loc: Florida
I agree very much with erichlof - use both mentioned inversions to begin with and get "The Jazz Piano Book" by Mark Levine. Ultimately, any inversion can fit, or parts of chords can fit, it depends on the sound you want to create with what else is being played. But, initially, go with the above mentioned two. Votre anglais n'est pas du tout mal.
_________________________
Anonymous Inventions
http://www.anonymousinventions.com

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#1785296 - 11/08/11 01:15 PM Re: Best choice for Rootless LH voicing [Re: Congax]
Jazz+ Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/04
Posts: 838
Loc: Banned
You want to keep the range around the middle of the piano, not too low and muddy and not too high where they will get in the way of your right hand.
_________________________
Roland FP-4 digital piano, Mason & Hamlin acoustic piano.

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#1786917 - 11/11/11 06:45 AM Re: Best choice for Rootless LH voicing [Re: Congax]
Congax Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/12/10
Posts: 31
I've got the famous mark levine piano jazz book and the chapter one the rootless voicing is clear but for maj7 chord he suggest 3-5-6-9 and 7-1-3-5... Phil de greg, chris fitzrald, and many others suggest 3-5-7-9 and 7-9-3-5...
That's exactly why I've posted a message on the subject... Which pianist can I trust?
The ONLY Mark levine or ALL the others? smile (without doing too much generality!)
Thanks for all your answers!!!

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#1786956 - 11/11/11 08:36 AM Re: Best choice for Rootless LH voicing [Re: Congax]
KlinkKlonk Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/19/09
Posts: 368
There is no "best" You'll have to let your ear decide. I dislike minor second and favor major 2nds. On some tunes all you need is 3rd and 7th. Voice leading is also important..


Edited by KlinkKlonk (11/11/11 09:17 AM)

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#1786997 - 11/11/11 10:11 AM Re: Best choice for Rootless LH voicing [Re: Congax]
daviel Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/14/07
Posts: 933
Loc: Waxahachie, Texas
Bump. Look at the books by John Mehegan - personally I avoid type B for M chords, especially 7-1 - I just don't like the way they sound -- I prefer stacking 4ths on either the 3rd or the 7th - just 3 notes. I don't like a cluster chord for the M7th for some reason, I guess personal preference. Anyway, I bet most of the people who write instruction books now learned most of what they know from Mr. Mehegan. His 4 vol. set is really good.

Mehegan's books


Edited by daviel (11/11/11 10:12 AM)
_________________________
"She loves to limbo, that much is clear. She's got the right dynamic for the New Frontier"
http://roadhouseallstars.com/

David Loving, Waxahachie, Texas

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#1787054 - 11/11/11 12:30 PM Re: Best choice for Rootless LH voicing [Re: Congax]
Congax Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/12/10
Posts: 31
thanks daniel I'll have a look!!!

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#1787096 - 11/11/11 02:09 PM Re: Best choice for Rootless LH voicing [Re: Congax]
erichlof Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/26/10
Posts: 375
Hi Congax,

Glad you picked up the Jazz Piano book - it will give you many months of enjoyment!
Yes, I forgot that Mark Levine recommends that voicing with 6 inside (played with the left hand index finger) instead of the 7th. Actually, you should learn both for different situations. Let me explain:
Let's say you are reading Green Dolphin Street in C (as it is in the Real Book) and the melody starts on high C. Well, if you play your stock voicing that I recommended, 3-5-7-9, the 7 (B) will clash with the melody (high C) a minor 9th above it. This is ok, but sub-optimal. I've heard everyone play it at one time or another, but the more harmonious choice is the 3-5-6-9 in this particular instance. The reason is that the 6 (A) sounds better with the high C a minor 10th above it.

This rule of thumb (or finger -ha) will serve you well when accompanying a singer or instrumentalist who is playing the melody. If they are sitting on that high C, you might want to alter your 7 down to a 6, even if the music calls for CMaj7. So in other words, you play it as a C69 (that reads "C six, nine").

I neglected to mention this because I didn't want you to have to worry about 2 different voicings right away, when you are just trying to learn the stock voicings. While we are at it, you can alter the second chord of a ii V I pattern with moving even less fingers. The old way is F-A-C-E, F-A-B-D, E-G-B-D for a Dm7 G7 CMaj7. You can also play F-A-C-E, F-A-B-E, E-G-B-D. This is my stock choice for most ii V I patterns, The new note, E, is the 13th of G, making it G13. It is actually easier because the E does not move from the previous Dmin7 voicing - you get something for free!

You can turn around and do it with the B voicings as well. Say we have Am7 D7 GMaj7. The old way was G-B-C-E, F#-A-C-E, F#-A-B-D. The new way replaces the A with a B note in your left hand middle finger for the D7 chord. So now it reads G-B-C-E, F#-B-C-E, F#-A-B-D. Just like before, the B functions as a 13th above the D root, so you are now playing a D13 chord. This is definitely a more modern and colorful way to play a simple dominant 7th than the music score is suggesting. Again, I didn't want to bog you down with so many choices in the beginning.

If you really like that 13th sound, maybe stick with that for everything for a while. Do all keys with that stock voicing, some starting on the A voicing (3rd in pinkie), others with B voicing (7th in pinkie). But what ever you do, keep everything the same for a while so that your muscle memory can learn to feel those voicings.

I wouldn't worry about replacing the 3-5-7-9 with 3-5-6-9 just yet, unless you are planning to accompany a singer.

Hope this helps! smile

-Erich

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#1787116 - 11/11/11 02:47 PM Re: Best choice for Rootless LH voicing [Re: Congax]
Congax Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/12/10
Posts: 31
whouah... really THANK YOU,
Very very interesting and helpful...
I understand really good your example with green dolphin, or with a singer.
Your explanation about the two types (A and B) with shorts fingerings movement is clear...
Now I can continue use 3-5-7-9, keeping in mind later I'll can use another in particular situation...
Many Thanks erichlof!!!

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