BASIC MUSIC THEORY TUTORIALS - PART TWO

In the previous lesson, we learned the concept of chord voicing. Today we will continue to learn about voicing 7th chords. The idea, for piano and keyboard players, is to distribute chord notes through both hands. Let’s see again one voicing for Cmaj7 chord:

Example 1:

                                      Cmaj7

We play the root and the major 7th with the left hand and the 3rd and 5th with the right hand.

Here’s another voicing possibility for Cmaj7:

Example 2:

                                       Cmaj7

Notice that we now play root and 5th with the left hand. Then we play the 7th and the 3rd with the right hand. Which one is the correct? Both are. It will all depend on how you want the chord to sound like, and whether you’re playing a melody along with the chord.

Some musicians also like the following voicing:

Example 3:

                                        Cmaj7

Notice that the left hand plays only the root, while the right hand will play the other chord notes. It’s very common to see this voicing when playing a specific rhythm pattern, for example.

You can apply the ideas above on any kind of 7th chord. Observe a variation of example 1 on a Cm7 chord:

                                            Cm7

Notice that the right hand doubles the root.

And also on a C7 chord:

                                             C7

Voicing a 9th chord

As we did to the 7th chords, there are several ways to voice a 9th chord. All the examples will show the chord in the root position (that is, the root as the lowest note).

Example 1:

                                       Cmaj79

Notice that the chord is in close position (the most compact voicing). However, when we distribute the notes through both hands, it gets easier to play.

Example 2:

                                       Cmaj79

Now we will play the root and the 7th with the left hand, and then 3rd, 5th and 9th with the right hand. This is an example of how open a chord can be played.

Example 3:

                                       Cmaj79

It’s like example 2, but now the 9th is close to the 3rd.

Remember, all those voicings can be applied to other types of 9th chords as well.

That’s it! Keep practicing, and you will realize that chord voicing is an easy task.

Good productions!