Chord VoicingsTo get started with chord voicings for any jazz standard at the piano, you must first learn how to form rootless chord voicings. Look at it like this, you can’t do any piano comping without first mastering your chords. You’ll notice that the piano chords are presented at the beginning of the beat for each new chord change. This would result in a pretty bland arrangement of the song indeed. However, before you must start here to master your rootless chord voicings. If you can’t play the arrangement in this manner, you will not be able to add more complicated comping patterns down the road. Once you feel comfortable playing the rootless voicings, look for space in the melody for opportunities to add chord “stabs” or holds. Again, this is demonstrated in the video.
Jazz Piano CompingStudent ChrisK asked this question during a live training “Willie, can you chat more about comping, more movement up and down the keyboard?” This is at the heart of jazz piano playing…trying to create motion in your chords. To get more movement in your piano comping and chord voicings, start to think of your chords as moving horizontally rather than vertically. So, think horizontal. This means that you are looking for motion between the chords by using 3rds or maybe bell tones. This can also be achieved with inner voices. Take a look at the example below and notice the descending pattern in the right hand. See it? A, Ab, G, Gb. Another way to get movement in your comping, looking for space in the melody is a great way to get started. In the example below, you’ll see that there are red and green arrows. The red arrows are where we find some space to comp chords AFTER the melody hits. The green arrows are where we will do our piano comping ON the beat. This alternation between syncopated and non-syncopated rhythms is what adds spice to the arrangement. Now, see what this example looks like when we create an arrangement with piano chords that use our comping techniques.
Jam With The BandPlaying with a live band is an incredible experience. Now you can enjoy this experience from your own home. Most students don’t have a live band hanging around so using our Live-to-Library system, we’re bringing the band to you!
Learn more about how to play piano with a band.