Add Inner Voices To Your Voicings
In this 5 Minute Masterclass we’ll explore how to add inner voice movement to your chords when playing jazz piano. You can hear this in the playing of many of the jazz greats, Bill Evans, Barry Harris, & Kenny Barron to name just a few.
We going to explore inner voice movement over major, minor, and dominant chords. And then we will apply this information to a well-known jazz standard.
Inner Voices Over Minor Chords
Let’s start with minor chords, how can we add additional interest with inner voices over any minor we come across?
Well, there are 4 notes that you can always use for inner voice movement over minor chords. Using C Minor as an example, we can add inner voice movement using the 6, minor 7th, major 7th, and the root. Having this moving voice in the LH adds harmonic and rhythmic variety that you can use over any minor chord you come across. A handy thing to remember.
Next Let’s Explore Dominant Chords:
For dominant chords, you have a lot more freedom to use any notes from the chromatic scale. Here’s a C7 with the chromatic scale in the RH.
You can incorporate the altered tensions into inner voices:
• G-11 – C7#9 drop 13-#5-5 and then b9 to 5 of F
• G-9 – C13#11 drop #11-11-3 and then b9 to the 13 of F
You should be aware of how you resolve the tension, you can do this by targeting the chord tones of the 1 chord. A related concept here is inner voices using Sus Chords. Check out the course on chord substitutions for more information on this type of voicing.
Inner Voicings Over Major Chords.
For major chords, you can get some lovely inner voice movement between the 5, #5, 6 & 7. We will look at a few patterns for C Major. It’s nice to play these with both hands and it’s a useful tool when sat on a major chord for a whole bar or longer.