A New Rootless Jazz Chords Trick (Podcast Episode #35)

Posted by: JAZZEDGE on June 22, 2021

Watch the lesson...

Listen to the lesson...





00:06 Hello and welcome to Episode 35 of the confident improviser podcast. I'm Willie Myette, creator of jazz edge. So today I am going to show you a new rootless jazz chords trick. This is an easy way to create any rootless jazz chord. So now if you're interested in getting the video replay in the sheet music, jazz edge members can watch the video and download the sheet music. So if you're interested, just go back to jazz edge.com. And you can check that out. All right, so let me load up the sheet music here. So first of all, let's talk about what a rootless jazz chord is. So you'll see here that I have my, my block chord, right, so I'm just playing a C major seventh chord. And this is my blog chord, or just my plain old seventh chord. It's literally just the notes C, E, G, and B natural, right, so it's just your regular C major seventh block chord, or C major seventh, seventh chords. So to create a rootless chord voicing, I am going to take the root out of that chord. So remember, with these notes again, cbgb, right, the root is C, the third is ain, the fifth is G and the seventh is B. Now, why do we take out the root? Why would we take out the C? Well, typically when playing jazz, we're going to be playing with a bass player, right? Or we might be playing the bass note with our left hand, and we might want to do that rootless chord with the right head. So there's many different situations in which we would want to take the root out of the chord. Now one thing I could do is I could just take the root out of the chord and I have now E, G, MB, so I have the third, the fifth and the seventh. And if you're thinking about it, theoretically here, you probably already know Well, hey, wait a second, that's an E minor triad, and you would be right. Okay, so if you go to the third have a major seventh chord and make a minor triad, right? That's the first three notes of your rootless chords. But we're not getting all of the notes of our rootless chord, we still want to for note rootless chord here, okay, so we're only having three notes here. Now, if I put the C down here, on my other hand, it still sounds like a C major seventh chord. So what we do instead is we kind of break the chord apart, and then recreate it again, right, so we like break it apart into different parts, and then we form it again. So the first thing that we want to do is create our guide tones, or get our guide tones, the guide tones are the third and the seventh of your chord. So in this case, it would be E and B natural. Remember the notes of the C major seventh chord, or C, E, G, and B as the root, the third, the fifth and the seventh. So right now we're going to play the third and the seventh, which is going to be E and B, that's the third and the seventh, those are my guide tones. This is what the third on the bottom, I could also put the seventh on the bottom, and that is B, and E. Now if you're watching me, you could see that I'm playing this with my left hand, and I'm playing it with my using my pinky and my second finger, that's going to be important. So you want to make sure that you use your pinky and your second finger. So right now I have my pinky on E, my second finger on being natural, or if I'm going to put the seventh on the bottom, I put my pinky on B, and my second finger on E natural, might find that's a little bit close, it might feel a little bit weird at first, but you will get used, right, so that's the first thing you do, you start with just the guide tones. Now a little side bit here, you can just use those guide tones while playing chords, you don't have to play anything more than that the guide tones give you more than you need. Or I should say all that you need to get to be able to create the sound of the chord so you could just play guide tones, but come on, right to know chord sounds a little bit thin, right? You know the play just that two note chord. Alright, so now we want to create our rootless chords. There's a four step process for this, but it's very, very simple. The first step you've already done it, you start with guidestones. Alright, simple, my third and my seventh. The second step, I am going to add a note between the guide tones, right, and in this case, on a major seventh chord, I'm going to add in the fifth. And then my third step is I'm going to add an A note above the guide tones and in this case, it's going to be my night. Okay, so now the notes that I have are E, G, B, and D. Alright, so I created a C major seventh chord by 04:48 play my guide tones, putting a note between the guide tones and a note above the guide tones. Let's say I want to try it with the seventh on the bottom. Okay, so I have my seventh I have my pinky on the seventh Maybe I could put my second finger on the E, like I said, I'm going to put one note in between the guide tones. So there's going to be a note that because that's going to go between B and between E. Now if you're listening, just try and visualize, okay, the note B, the note E. Alright, so how many notes do you have in between here where you got C, C sharp, D, and D sharp. So what note Are we going to choose and then choose the night, right, the ninth is going to sound good there on that major chord. And one note we're going to put above, we're going to put that fifth above there. And there we go. I got my C major seventh chord again, this time it has B, D, E, and G. So the first one was E, G, B, and D. That was the first form. The other form is B, D, E, and G. If I put a C underneath that sounds really nice. Now let's try it on a different chord. This time, let's try it on C minor seventh, start with our guide tones. So we have E flat, and B flat, then we're going to add our fifth in between and our ninth right up above, play all of those notes. And now I have my C minor seven, chord voicing E flat, G, B flat, and D, I could put my root underneath there. Sounds really nice. When I go to the two dominant seven, C seven, I start with my guide tones again, the third and the seventh. So that's E and B flat, Pinkie and second finger. I have one note in between, what note Am I going to choose? Let's say I choose the fifth. Okay? Instead, I'm going to choose the 13th and a second, but let's just try the fifth. Okay. And then up top, I can play the night. So now I have E, G, B flat D. Sure that sounds absolutely fine. But typically, rather than playing the fifth than the dominant chord, we played the 13th on the dominant chord instead. Because and then why do we play the 13th? Well, let's face it, we're jazz musicians, right? So we want to play a little bit more attention in there. So we add in that 13th, it adds a little bit more attention. But this brings up a great point. And that is that we're not always going to want to be playing in a jazz sensibility, right or in a jazz style. Sometimes we're going to want to play like more r&b or rock, and maybe we're still going to want to use rootless chord voicings, but we're not going to want to have as much tension on those rootless chord voicings. So what do we do? Okay, so now what we can do is we still utilize those guide tones, the note between the note above, so on the dominant seven, see how I had the guide tones, the E and the B flat, the note between that shows the fifth and the note above, I chose the D the night. And what does that do that creates a little softer of a sound so doesn't sound as 10 says that, right? It's the dominant with 13. There it is with the fifth. Now I could also get rid of the ninth up top, I could instead choose to play the C. Now I have a, G, B flat C. So now this trick works super well for any kind of chord that you want to make. Let's say that I want to make a C major seventh chord with a sharp 11. Okay, and I want it to be a rootless chord. Okay, it's gonna blow your mind and how easy this is? Well again, let's go through the four step process. First step, start with the guide tones, right? So what are the guide tones for a major seventh chord? E and B. All right, perfect. Now I'm going to play one note in between, well remember, I want the sharp 11 in there or the sharp four, however you want to think about it doesn't really matter, right? Let's say sharp four. Okay, well sharp four, is that going to make sense to play that in between or play it above? Well, it's kind of hard for you to be able to see if you're listening right now. But my thumb would have to stretch up from the beat all the way up to F sharp. If I'm going to play that as my top note. That's a pretty big stretch. So instead I play it, I would say widget right between those guide tones. So I put I play E, F sharp and B. And now when my thumb What am I going to do when we play my night. Put a C underneath there. I got myself a C major seven sharp 11 rootless chord voicing. Let's say I want to do a C six chord right? So I can play C major seven. I can add the six in there and then add the ninth above. That gives me a C major sixth 09:48 major seventh with the nine let's say that I want to play a Yeah, no let's let's do a C minor seven flat five chord okay. Now I can start with that guide tones of the E flat, and the B flat. In the middle, I put my flat five, and up top, I can put the ninth if I want. That sounds nice, or I can even just play the root as well. Sometimes the nine sounds a little bit tense, this is where you're going to utilize your ears. But utilizing this trick, it makes it really simple for you to be able to create rootless chords. Now, where this trick really, really shines is with your dominant seventh chords. Because the dominant seventh chords, there's always tensions that we're going to be adding it, we'll add in the nines, flat nine sharp, nine, sharp, 1113, flat 13. Right, so we could really throw the kitchen sink in there. So let's have a little bit of fun with this. Let's start with C seven. We're going to start with our guide tones of the E and the B flat. I'm playing that with my pinky and my second finger. Alright, so let's start with with the top note the the thumb Okay, well I'm gonna do sharpened. Okay, so I'm gonna put E flat or D sharp up top here, and then in between the guide tones Wow, why don't we do? Let's try 13. See how that sounds. 13 with sharp nine doesn't sound that great. What about flat? 13? with sharp nine? Yeah, that's real nice. That sounds really good. Okay, let's try another one. How about NB flat, there's my guide tones. Now let me put in sharp 11 in between. and then let me throw my ninth up on top. Now I have myself a C seven sharp 11 chord. What if I want c seven flat nine flat 13. Right might seem difficult at first. Okay, well go through the steps. Start with the guide tones. The third in the seventh, add the flat 13 in between, add the flat nine up top. And now you get yourself a nice c seven, flat nine flat 13 chord. So utilizing this trick, you're able to create your rootless chord voicings on the fly relatively easily. What do you need to know you have to know the guide tones. So this is a great stuff to practice while you're away from the piano practice going through those guide tones, trying to figure out what are the guide tones for each of your chords. Okay, so anyway, that's it for today's episode. Thanks for joining me and I will see you in the next episode. Remember, if you are a member of the site, feel free to join in every other Thursday for my jazz edge core training, and you can go ahead and ask questions and share your playing. And of course, jazz edge members also get the benefit of being able to watch the video of this podcast. Alright, so anyway, I'll see you back at jazz edge. Thanks for joining me

Where's the sheet music & resources?

The sheet music and other resources are available exclusively for Jazzedge members. Login to your Jazzedge account and look for the TCI Podcast lesson to download resources.
Learn More About Jazzedge®
©2022 Jazzedge®