Three-Note Rootless Chords (Podcast Episode #26)

Posted by: JAZZEDGE on April 20, 2021

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00:05 Hey guys, Willie Myette creator of jazz edge I want to welcome you to Episode 26 of the confident improviser podcast. Today we are going to be talking about three note rootless chords and I'm going to show you why these chords are more versatile and they are easier to play. As a reminder, this podcast goes along with the confident improviser program, you can find that at jazz edge calm, and there is also a video replay and sheet music that members can download. Alright, so three note rootless chords. The three note rootless chord is built up of your guide tones and one tension. So if you're watching the video, you'll see here in front of me, I have my C major seventh, my C minor, seventh and my C dominant seventh chords in front of me, right, these are my three main types of chord qualities that you're going to find most often in songs. Okay, so, for C major seventh chord, first of all, I'm not playing any root here, I'm playing this with my left hand, I'm playing even my pinkie be when my second finger and then I come up, and with my thumb, I play the ninth, which is D, that is also the second note of the chord. We call it our ninth though because it is not replacing a chord tone, it is being added as a tension. If I cross over and play a C here with my right hand crossing over, just so you can hear it right. Now you see and hear that C major seven chord sound with a three note voicing. Now we've talked about four note voicings before, that's this, I would add in my fifth, right? The three note voicing takes that fifth out, and like I said, it makes it a little bit easier to play. But it also makes it a little bit more versatile. And you're going to see that especially on the dominant seventh chord, which I will show you in just a little bit. Alright, so C major seventh, you have your third, your seventh in your ninth, that is a, b and d for a C major seventh chord. Now to move to a C minor seven, it's pretty simple, just flat that third and flat the seventh and keep the ninth exactly as it is. So we have E flat with the pinky, B flat with the second finger and D with the thumb, E flat, B flat, and D played along with the roots. That's what it sounds like. And then finally, we have our C dominant seventh chord. This is a natural third E, A flat seven B flat and your your thumb on D again, the night show you see we have the ninth on each of these three chords. super important to recognize that the ninth works perfectly over your major, minor and dominant seventh chord qualities. Right. So here c seven, your E, your B flat and your D. Now what I've done is I've created a just a very simple I real pro track in which you're going through each one of these chord qualities. For two measures of peace. Let's just go ahead and play along with just so you can hear what this sounds like. Here we go. So C major seven, I remember E, T and D, C minor. So this is E flat, D flat, D and then C seven E major seven. Whoops, let's put that back on. So one more time. Here we go. C major seven, C minor c seven. Okay, so I said that it's a more versatile chord. Let's talk about why. Well let's say that I want to change this to maybe a funk style. Okay. And now let me go ahead and play I'm gonna play, I'm gonna play all three of the chords of C major seven, the minor seventh. And I'm also going to play the dominant seventh but this time I'm going to play them as four note chords, right? Take a listen to it. 04:26 Minor, notice the dominant now let's listen let's let me just focus in on the dominant chord here for a minute. Let's just loop that and take a listen to this. I'm gonna slow it down as well. Now, here, I have the 13th in there, which is my A, and you'll hear that it adds a lot of tension. What I'm going to do is I'm going to move to my three note voicing and listen to what that sounds like. See how that opens up the sound. Here's a four note again, that kind of muddies it or no. Three No. Three note voicings opens up that sound in the left hand and makes it sort of it's not as muddy of a sound. That's not to say that you're not going to use for note voicings. No, they sound great. But when we're switching styles, sometimes it sounds nice to take out some of that tension. Now here's another important thing. Let's say that I changed to a different sound I use like an electric piano sound here. Now, listen with the four note voicing 05:50 money that is now listen to the three note voice. For number three know. Now what happens if I switch to maybe even like a rock style, right? 06:20 Sounds great, right? Now if I go to a four note, right? Probably sounds a little bit too jazzy. So these three note voicings are great voicings to have underneath your fingertips because it allows your playing to sound more sophisticated, right if I just want if I'm playing rock and I'm playing just a regular c seven chord, C, D, G and B flat listen to that. Right kind of sounds a little bit boring and flat right now the three note voicing. That's your Blackboard down there. Reno, Boise. The three now voicing rarely elevates the sound of your accompaniment, it makes it so that you know like I said, it sounds more sophisticated. Okay, so again, just to review, C major seven, E, B, D, C minor seven, E flat, B flat, and D and C dominant seven, E, B flat, and D. Remember, the third and the seventh of the chord are your guide tones. So we have EMB for a major seven, E flat and B flat Flat three and flat seven for your minor seven and an E and B flat natural three, flat seven for your dominant seventh chord. Alright, so now let's say that we want to alter some of our attentions, especially on the dominant chord on the major in the minor you don't want to alter the ninth ninth is going to stay exactly as it is. So just keep that in right as D. But on the dominant chord we can add in either a flat nine, or a sharp nine. So you see I could change this D up top to a D flat and have like a flat nine sound or I could change it to a D sharp and have a sharp nine sound. Let's go back to our ireo protrack and loop that C seven section and I'm going to put the funk gun and now take a listen to this. How cool this sounds with that sharp nine sound. 08:51 C seven sharp nine real funky sounding for sound as well with a deep sharp nine. Alright, using my minor pentatonic scale to improvise over on the right hand, 09:34 get a real sweet sound there with that sharp nine. So let's review these chords. Again, the regular c seven chord the three note voicing was A, B flat and D. That's your third your seven and your nine. Now we're going to change the nine to a flat nine. So we're going to change the D we're going to make an A D flat so now we have a B flat and D flat. That's your third your flat Seventh in your flat nine, four, C seven. And then we changed that D flat to a D sharp. And now we have D, B flat in D sharp. That's your sharp nine chord, that's a C seven, sharp nine. Right? So, to practice this, especially if you're listening to this in a car or away from a piano, that's fantastic, I really encourage you to do that. So now try going through some other chords. Now, all of these voicings right now have had the third as your bottom note, okay. And then the reason that we're doing this right now as this also links up with the TCI inspiration lesson for number 23. So TCI exercise 23. The inspiration lesson goes through these three note rootless chord voicings for your dominant seven starting on the third. So I'd definitely suggest taking a look at that. Right? So anyway, what you could do is pick a different route. Alright, so let's say F, all right, well, what's the third of F it's a, so I put my pinky on a, I have my second finger on E, which is my major seven. And then the D is going to be what G is my F major seventh chord, F minor seventh is going to be a flat, a flat, and G, F dominant seventh is going to be a, a flat, and G. So what you want to be able to do is you want to be able to visualize that keyboard and be able to spell out these three note chord voicings, no matter where you are, this is a great way of really getting these chord voicings down in your brain, right now when you get to the piano. That's when you do all the kinesthetic practice. But all of the brain work the theory work you can do away from the piano. And it's much, much more powerful to do it away from the piano. Let's do another one. How about B flat, alright, the third is D. So you have D, A, and C, right? B, and C. It's B flat major seven. Now what about B flat minor seven, B, D flat, a flat, and C, B flat minor seven. And finally B flat seven, D, a flat, C. And if we want to, we could do the sharp nine which is C sharp, or flat nine, which is C flat, D flat seven, flat nine, B flat seven sharp nine. Right? These three note chords super, super powerful, right? So work on them away from the piano, and then come back to the piano. Take a look at TCI exercise number 23. The inspiration lesson you can go through that exercise. Right? Have fun, and I'll see you guys in the next podcast episode. Remember, join me every other Thursday, and you can ask me your questions on the TCI q&a call. All right Take care guys. See in the next episode.

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