Jazz Piano Lessons: An Introduction to Quartal Chords and Voicings

There are certain concepts in jazz that make pianists sound unmistakably hip and modern, despite the fact that many of these ideas were actually conceived in the 1960’s in the playing of cats such as Herbie Hancock, McCoy Tyner, Thelonious Monk etc. One of these musical concepts is that of ‘Quartal Voicings’. As you will probably know…

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Jazz Piano Lessons: What is a Tritone Substitution?

The ability to implement effective chord substitutions is a skill which is absolutely integral to the art of the jazz pianist. At first the concept can seem somewhat mystical, but there are specific concepts and techniques that you can learn and master to help you develop your effectiveness and creativity in this important area. One of these…

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Jazz Piano Lessons: What are Phrygian Chords?

For some reason it took me a while to get my head round the concept of exactly what a phrygian chord is. No music teacher was able to give me a good explanation of the concept, it was only after reading The Jazz Piano Book by Mark Lavine many, many times that the penny finally dropped.…

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Jazz Piano Chords: Sus Chords (or Suspended Chords) Voicings

Often when we hear jazz pianists play a sus chord, they are said to sound very contemporary and modern. Sus chords are often regarded as a hallmark of the 1960’s innovation in jazz sound, and whilst it is true to say that it is the jazz piano players of the 1960’s like Herbie Hancock and Wynton Kelly…

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Jazz Piano: The Major Scale Modes

I have a funny story that involves modes! In the UK, our final two years at school are called the ‘6th form’, and when I was sixteen, my parents and I decided that I would move to a boys public boarding school. Now, this was a huge culture shock for me, but I felt it particularly…

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Jazz Piano Chord Voicings: The Dominant 7th

As you have probably gathered by now, there are a huge number of options that you have available to you when it comes to voicing chords in jazz. In fact, part of the art of jazz piano is exploring and absorbing beautiful harmonies and chord voicings, and then deploying these in appropriate playing situations. You…

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Jazz Piano Chord Voicings: The Minor 7th

Broadly speaking, there are three main types of chord in the world of the jazz piano and jazz music as a whole – the major 7th chord, the minor 7th chord and the dominant 7th chord. This fact surprises many newcomers to jazz, as its harmonies can be so rich and diverse, but this fact has…

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Gospel Chord Concept – Moving Inner Voicings

There is something absolutely magical about great gospel piano and keyboard playing. Growing up I had no exposure to gospel music, but in my late teens I heard some old Kirk Franklin and Donnie Mcklurkin records for the first time and I cried. Literally! I was immediately drawn to learning how to create the sounds of gospel…

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Jazz Piano Chord Voicings: The Major 7th

I’ve been looking around for a good, comprehensive list of jazz piano chord voicings for a while now, and whilst I’ve found some great resources, I think I have something to offer in this area. So, I thought I’d get my hands dirty, do some thorough research and make one myself. I say one, but I’ve…

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Jazz Piano Chord Progressions – More 4 and 5 Note Voicings

Welcome to part 3 in this exciting series on learning to play jazz piano chord progressions! So far we’ve concentrated solely on the ii V I progression and for good reason. Analyse any jazz standard and over 90% of chords in the vast majority of pieces will be identifiable as a ii, V or a…

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