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Get Hipper Jazz Voicings…Right Now!

Zakk Jones

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JGT contributor Zakk Jones with a lesson on how you can extract quartal voicings to get great sounding harmonies.

Quartal voicings are a ubiquitous and very flexible harmonic tool for jazz musicians, but most of the time we think of them as being applied in a modal context. What happens when we start using this sound over a II-V-I progression?

In this video and examples below I show you how you can extract quartal voicings from two different scales, and voice lead between them to get great sounding harmonies with easy to grab 3-note shapes. In the key of C major, I use C major scale quartal voicings to play over Dm7 (ii) and G altered scale voicings for the G7 (V7). Remember the G altered scale is just the 7thmode of Ab melodic minor. Harmonizing this scale in 4th’s yields a lot of tension with just a few notes and can be applied in all sort of contexts beyond my examples. 

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Voice Leading II-V-I’s with Quartal Harmony

Let’s take a ii-V7-I in C Major
The ii chord will use quartal voicings from the C major scale
The V7 chord will use quartal voicings from the G altered scale (Ab melodic minor)

I’m not starting anywhere specifically, just somewhere that isnt’ too low and stays mostly with a string set

Now let’s voice lead with these in the progression, moving as little as possible between chords and ascending

Let’s use this same concept but starting in a different place

(notice you get a major third, or diminished 4th, between the g and b this occurs when you harmonize both harmonic and melodic minor in 4ths)

Using descending voice leading

More Zakk Jones JGT Lessons HERE

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