Now it's time to focus on how to construct alternate voicings of those same chords, using your chord and fretboard knowledge. This will allow you to experiment with a wider choice of chord harmonies, giving you options outside the same old barre and open chord forms.
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What do I mean by "voicing"?
A voicing is a particular expression of a given chord, based on the order in which the tones are stacked. For example, playing E major in the open position is one voicing. Playing E major using an A form barre chord at the 7th fret is another voicing of that same chord. Both offer different expressions of the same chord.
Think of it like repeating something you have just said, but using different words. The meaning is the same, but the expression is different.
Each chord voicing is unique because of the order of tones from the low to high strings in the chord shape (e.g. R 3 5 vs R 5 3).Knowing several voicings of the same chord gives you several options when writing a chord progression. Instead of relying on one chord position, and therefore one voicing, you'll notice that connecting certain alternate chord voicings in different positions creates more meaningful, intricate harmonies through the progression.
In part 4 we looked at dominant 13th chords and how they consisted of the root, 3rd, 5th, minor 7th (b7), 9th and 13th.
So they are very full sounding chords as they stack up more than four notes.
Below are a some ways (voicings) you could play this 13th chord. The key thing is to play one after the other and hear the difference...
Note: You don't have to include the 5th as it's a neutral tone and the overall chord flavour won't be lost without it. In fact, you don't have to include the root either, especially if the bass player has it covered.
Although the same chord, both forms offer different expressions of the same chord because the order of tones is different (from low to high: 1 5 b7 3 6 2 vs 1 b7 2 3 6)
Now, comparing the two, the only difference is...
A lower voiced 2 (9th) in the second chord form.
But it gives it a different sound nevertheless. I actually prefer that lower sounding 9th, but this is where your creative side comes in - what do you want to hear? What sounds best as part of the chord progression you're playing/writing?
How does the voicing connect to the previous and next chords in the sequence?
Here's another 13th chord voicing (without the 5th), this time in the A string position (A string root note)...
Back in part 3 we looked at 7th chords - four note chords and the first extensions of the basic major/minor triads.
If you followed that lesson, you'll know that a major 7th (maj7) chord includes all the chord tones stacked up to the major 7th - Root, 3rd, 5th and 7th.
So, let's look at a couple of different voicings for this chord...
Standard E string root voicing there. But if you wanted a higher voicing, there is the option to build the chord on a D string root...
A very conveniently stepped pattern there - easy to memorise.The 5th and 7th are higher in the second voicing.
We looked at "add" chords in part
Basically, the number referenced in the chord name is
the highest tone used in the chord. But because
there is no 7th
in the chord, it
becomes an add chord. To summarise:
1, b3, 5, b7, 9 = Minor 9th chord (e.g. Cm9, Dm9, Em9)
1, b3, 5, 9 = Minor added 9th chord - no 7th (e.g. Cmadd9, Dmadd9, Emadd9)
Let's look at a couple of voicings of this madd9 chord...
It's a bit awkward to get that added 9th in for those of us with smaller hands/fingers, so let's try a descending form on the same root position as an alternate voicing/fingering...
|Want to cheat?
Use this free Chord
Click on the note on which your chord's root lies, and then the type of
want to build (e.g. "maj9") and then click "variations" to see
where it can be played.
However, don't just learn it parrot fashion! Try and test your knowledge and see if you can find the variations without any help before you get the answers.
For example, what on earth is
this jazzy-bluesy chord (you can always trust jazz to
throw up unusual chords)?
Let's just try to deconstruct this to understand it more...
Root note is on Eb (A string, 6th fret).
The sharp 9th (or sharp 2nd) is actually in the same position as the minor 3rd would be, but because the chord consists of the root, 3rd and #5 (and augmented triad), the minor 3rd takes on the role of an extension tone - the sharp 9th. The b7 is also an extension of the augmented triad as we learned in an earlier part.
You'll eventually know where the "6th/13th" lies in relation to the "5th" on more than one string.
Investigate the fretboard. Learning fretboard theory doesn't have to be dull!
We'll look at this in more depth in the next (and last) lesson for more advanced chord voicings and chord inversions, where the root isn't the lowest note in the chord!
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Part 6 - More advanced Voicings