2 Handed Comping – Open Position Rootless Voicings
Welcome to this lesson on Open Position Rootless Voicings. When playing with other jazz musicians, you will be required to perform different roles than when playing solo jazz piano.
One very important role is to provide harmonic support to the soloists throughout the performance. This is known as ‘comping’ which is short for ‘accompanying’.
When playing in a band, you will likely have a bass player present who will have the roots of each chord covered. This frees you up to play more interesting harmony using rootless comping voicings.
Open vs. Closed Position Voicings
We’re going to cover some useful techniques the best possible sound from rootless voicings in an ensemble setting. We can take any rootless voicing and spread the notes over 2 hands to create open position rootless voicings.
Before watching this lesson, you should have a good understanding of basic rootless voicings and you should be able to play through the whole form of TWNBAY with these voicings in your left hand.
Extending Open Position Voicings
In addition to open position, we’ll also extend basic rootless voicings with stacked 4ths and 5ths to create a bigger sound. In the next lesson, we will introduce more quartal voicings and cover a number of useful 251 voicing sets made of 4th intervals.
With open position voicings, keeping the 'guide tones' in your left hand creates a strong harmonic foundation.
Remember to experiment with the different alterations and extensions in your right hand.
To start with it you may find it difficult to visualize left-hand voicings in this position. Take the time to analyse the notes and make sure that you can see the voice movement.
For extended voicings, visualize the comping voicings in 2 parts, split between my left and right hand.
A great place to start with this is to play rootless voicings in your left hand and then stack 4th or 5th intervals on top in your right hand
- Stacked 4ths are tonally ambiguous and so we can use that same stack over all the chords in a 251 in Eb Major.