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Evolutionary Voicings Part II

January 19, 2014


From the site:

Last month we introduced you to jazz pianist Barry Harris’s approach to developing a chord voicing style based on two unique hybrid scales: the major 6 diminished scale and the minor 6 diminished scale. To recap briefly, the scales consist of two chords each: a major 6 and a diminished 7th, and a minor 6 and a diminished 7th, respectively. I hope you’ve enjoyed the exercises I’ve presented – and that you’ve practised them in all keys! The skills you develop by doing so will help you to "read into" the chord symbols you encounter on a typical fakebook chart.

The goal and beauty of this system is finding ways to move voicings along the appropriate hybrid scale in such a way that the motion leads into the next chord. Taking a II-V progression in D as an example, an Am7 flat 5 can be realized as a Cm6, which together with the Bdim7 chord forms the C minor 6 diminished scale (for a refresher, refer to Examples 6 and 10 in "Evolutionary Voicings, Part I" in the October ’98 issue). Moving a Cm6 voicing along that scale makes for a very interesting sound, and it leads nicely to the D7. Once on the D7, you could use a voicing from the Eflat minor 6 diminished scale, which is the altered scale for D7 (see Examples 10 and 11 in October).


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