Hearing & Resolving Altered Tensions
Welcome to this 5 minute masterclass on hearing and resolving altered tensions.
Altered tensions add colour and texture to our chord voicings and this has become one of the staple sounds of jazz piano. In this lesson we will work through each altered tension over dominant chords. There are only 4 of them to learn, and we will explore the colour and texture created by each of them.
Practice In The Context Of 251s
For all of the examples in this lesson, we will apply the alterations to the V7 chord in a selection of major 251s. We will pay attention to where the tension wants to resolve.
This is often just up or down a half step and being able to visualise this will create smoother transitions in your chord progressions.
b9s, #9s, #11s, & #5s
For any dominant chord, you have a choice of 4 possible altered tensions. You can combine these alterations to create more complex altered dominant sounds, but for the purpose of this tutorial we will just focus on single note alterations.
Upper Structure Triads
The information in this lesson is a nice pre-study for the concept of “Upper Structure Triads”. There is a whole PianoGroove course dedicated to this area of jazz piano which you can find in our “Intermediate Jazz Piano” courses.
The core premise behind Upper Structure Triads is that we can quickly access complex altered dominant sounds by simply remembering a handful of formulas where we superimpose triads above the dominant shell.