This JazzPianoSkills Podcast Episode explores Harmonized Dominant Scales using Contemporary Two-Handed Voicings.
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Here we go Welcome to jazz piano skills. I'm Dr. Bob Lawrence. It's time to discover, learn and play jazz piano. Today you are going to discover harmonized dominant scales. You're going to learn how to harmonize dominant scales using contemporary two handed voicings, and you are going to play dominant scales harmonized from the root through the seventh of the sound. So as I always say, regardless of where you are you jazz journey a beginner, an intermediate player, an advanced player or even if you are a seasoned and experienced professional, you will find this jazz panel skills podcasts lesson exploring the harmonization of dominance scales to be very insightful, and to be very beneficial. If you are new to jazz piano skills. If you are a new jazz piano skills podcast listener, then I want to personally invite you to become a jazz piano skills member. 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And I want to bring it up again today that when we talk about any scale, our minds immediately think of a sequential line of notes played 123 or four octaves, typically in both hands, ascending and descending. And of course, why wouldn't we think like this, why wouldn't we? Why wouldn't this be the image that we have in our mind when discussing or thinking about scales? After all, this is precisely how scales are taught. Basically 100% of the time. And of course the opposite is true. Also right that when we talk about any scale, our minds never ever ever think of the scale as being played harmonically. And again, because scales are never taught that way. scales are never taught harmonically. Therefore we never think of scale. is being played in this manner. And this is very unfortunate I stressed this last week. This is very unfortunate because as jazz pianists, we need to be able to approach melodies harmonically. We need to be capable capable of even comping melodically and and how do we develop this jazz piano skill? How do we develop the ability to approach melodies harmonically? Or to create melodies? When we are comping behind an instrumentalist, or vocalist? Well, we do so by practicing scales harmonized. And why do we have to invest the time practicing scales harmonize? my regular listeners can tell you because our hands and ears will never, ever, ever go where they have never ever been. It's just that simple. So if we do not take the time to literally practice our scales, playing our scales, harmonically, we do not take the time to map out our scales harmonically that our hands are not just going to magically go there. When we're playing the piano, our hands are not going to magically play these voicings behind instrumentalist and vocalist. When performing. Again, it's just that simple. The hands the ears can never go where they have never been. So we have to invest time in practicing linear lines, melodies scales, we have to spend time practicing them, voiced harmonized. Now, I brought this up last week as well. And of course, it's important to state it again here today, that there is more than one way to approach the harmonization of scales. But I am sharing with you today how I like to approach harmonizing scales, using two handed contemporary voicings and again contemporary and that the voicings I like to use are constructed using primarily intervals of a fourth, rather than the traditional interval of a third. And if you are unfamiliar with this approach, if you're unfamiliar with this sound, unfamiliar with Korto, what we call quarter voicings sorts, some folks refer to them as fourth e voicings, then I would suggest checking out an entire podcast series that I did on these voicings on these shapes on these sounds, starting back on November 10, last year 2020 starting with the primary major voicings, and even better yet, if you are a jazz piano skills member, you have access to all of the jazz piano skills courses within the jazz piano skills curriculum. So be sure to study courses 21 through 26 that deals specifically with these contemporary voicings, right with these quarter or fourth the shapes and sounds, you will be able to watch video demonstrations of me playing all of the major dominant minor half diminished and diminished shapes and sounds voicings in all 12 keys so be sure to check out courses 21 through 26. These contemporary voicings these chord or fourth e voicings are my go to voicings for harmonizing melodies, and for comping behind instrumentalist and vocalist. I'm also going to share with you a way to methodically and effectively and efficiently practice the shapes and sounds this essential jazz piano skill. So that again, you maximize your musical growth when practicing. So the agenda for today is as follows number one, I'm going to present seven, two handed contemporary voicings, one for each note of the dominant scale. Number two, I am going to present 10 exercises that focus on compact scale and arpeggio motion to minimize linear movement when practicing. Number three, I'm going to present one exercise that spans the entire scale from the root to the seventh, and one exercise that plays the scale as an arpeggio spanning from the root to the 13th on The sound All in all, I will be presenting a total of 12 dominant exercises today, just as I did last week, when we address the major contemporary voicings and harmonizing the major scale. Number four, I will be constructing all of my voicings today based on the C dominant MixoLydian mode. And number five, I will be playing all demonstrations today all exercises using a temple of 140, which is a snappy temple. And as always, I highly recommend using slower tempos 6575 85, you slower tempos whenever you begin to physically explore a new jazz piano skill. So just like last week, this jazz piano skills lesson today is a biggie, it will forever change how you think about scales, dominant scales specifically, it will forever change how you play dominant scales, and it will dramatically change your jazz piano sound. So let's get started. If you are a jazz piano skills member, take a few minutes right now, before we dig in to download and print, the illustrations and the lead sheets, you have access to all of the podcast packets, and you should, you should be using them when listening to this podcast. And of course, you should be using them when practicing. If you're listening to this podcast on any of the popular podcast directories, such as Apple or Google, Amazon, Spotify, I Heart Radio, Pandora, and on and on, then be sure to go to jazz piano skills podcast.com to download the podcast packets, you will find the download links in the show notes. And one other little but extremely important side note that I mentioned last week as well. If you're thinking that, wow, harmonized dominant scales are way way over my head, I would say to you, okay, so what continue to listen continue to grow intellectually continue to grow conceptually, by listening to this podcast episode. So often students are always concerned about a skill being over their head. Right. And to that point, I always say to them, well, every jazz piano skill is over your head when it is first introduced to you. So this is part of the learning process, right? You want your conceptual you want your intellectual understanding of jazz piano, to be way, way out in front of your physical development. And why because musical growth always begins upstairs mentally before it can come out downstairs, physically in your hands. So listen to this podcast lesson now. And begin to prepare mentally and conceptually, to explore the scales, the harmonic harmonized dominance scales later. Bottom line, again, you always want your jazz piano understanding to be way way out in front of your physical ability, your physical skills, always. And in doing so, is I always like to use this analogy. It's like having, you've created the dangling carrot that's out in front of you. And that dangling carrot is what you're chasing, when you are practicing, either practicing mentally and conceptually, or practicing physically, right? So if we do if we do not have the dangling carrot, there's no incentive. There's nothing that we're chasing. There are no skills that we're trying to gain a command of and to master. So if you think that harmonized dominant scales are over your head, welcome. Welcome to the club. Right. And in fact, to be 100% truthful with you. We are all part of that club. Right? I know not have I know not one professional jazz pianist friend of mine. If I asked them if they had a mastery of harmonized scales and arpeggios using contemporary chord or 40 voicings I'm not. I don't think one of them would be bold enough to say, Oh, yes, I completely have that. That master. The point being is our development as jazz pianist is an ongoing process, maturing as a jazz pianist is a lifelong process. It's not like putting together a model airplane that once you have it put together, you're done. Right? Thank goodness. And this What's this? What's made makes jet study and jazz. so incredibly delightful and so incredibly fun, is that it's a lifelong pursuit. So with that being said, let's, let's jump in. Let's dig in. Here we go. So as last week, again, all my two handed voicings are five note structures. I played two in the left, two notes in the left, always and three notes in the right. Okay. And again, other pianists might have a different approach, you know, some might play three in the left to the right, some might play three in the left three in the right, fine, right, the way I approach it, and what makes sense to me, both conceptually and physically, as I have this structure, this system of five notes to the left three in the right, so our very first voicing, I'm going to be playing E and A and my left hand. Okay, in in my right hand, the notes D, G, and C. And there's my first c dominant voicing with C up on top as the melody. Now, what's interesting is, if you study the voicings I presented last week, that is exactly that is precisely the same voicing that I used for the major sound. And as we move through the dominant voicings, the minor the half diminished diminished, you're going to see that one of the incredible values of these voicing structures is that they can be repurposed, right? That's a big one. I guess that's a big word today, right repurposing data, using it in different contexts. And this is a great example of that, right? That, you're going to start seeing that these same shapes can be utilized to represent major sounds dominant sounds, minor, half diminished and diminished sounds. So I use this one for my dominant again, E, A, D, G, C. Now, if you want, what a more stronger dominant sound, you could actually play E and B flat in the left hand. That's a very common voicing. And I actually use that voicing from time to time, however, why I'm presenting to you that he DTC is because the EB flat dgcx is not one of our primary voicing sounds that I teach. Right. And so one of the things that I'm demonstrating through this series of harmonizing scales, and arpeggios is that the primary voicings that you learn through my courses or through the podcast series, those voicings, those primary voicings are the same shapes and sounds to play all of your scales, all of your major dominant minor have diminished and diminished scales harmonized. Okay, so that is why I'm choosing this voice in first, E, A, D, G, C, for C dominant. The second voicing is going to be G, C and my left hand and then my right hand F, B flat, D. So D is My Melody note as kind of a suspension sound, right? So now if I put those two voicings side by side, I get this. Nice. So what I want to do is I want to practice that pairing that grouping that to that two chord voicing grouping with My Melody being the root, and then My Melody being the second of the scale. So I'm going to bring the ensemble and we're going to play C dominant seven. And I'm going to practice moving from C as My Melody to D as My Melody harmonized, back and fourth, and then I'm going to start changing it up rhythmically to create some nice melodic motifs. So here we go. Let's check it out. And then we can talk about it. Pretty nice, right, no doubt. So I like to use these pairings. As I did last week, these two note pairings. As I'm practicing and getting the shapes and sounds under my fingers. Right, it's efficient, much more efficient than trying to play seven keep track trying to keep track of seven voicings immediately. We're working our way up to that. So then the next grouping, I'm going to start with the third the next pair, right, so now I'm going to create voicings that utilize the third as the melody, and then the fourth or the 11th as the melody. So my voicing for the third as the melody, I'm going to start in my left hand with a and d, and my right hand, G, C, and E, sounds like this. It's a very familiar shape. If you study the voicings that I presented last week, with the major harmonized major scale, the second voicing with F in the melody, all we're going to do is raise that top note that e up to F. So my left hand remains the same A and D. My right hand now is G, C, and F. So those two voicing side by side, he has the melody on top and F as the melody on top sound like this. Nice, right. So I want to bring the ensemble back in. And we're going to take the exact same approach, I'm just going to practice moving back and forth from those two voicings first, then I'm going to start adding some rhythmic variation to create some melodic motifs. So here we go. Let's bring the ensemble and let's check it out. Pretty cool, right? Pretty amazing. So now let's move on let's harmonize the fifth of the scale, the G the note G on top as melody and then now in also the six, the note eight on top as the melody. So in my left hand, I'm going to start with B flat and E, the seventh and the third. Then my right hand I'm going to have a D and G or force right. So it sounds like this. Very nice dominant sound. Now that's going to move to the next voicing which is going to have our six or our a our 13th up on top as the melody so my left hand is going to have the note D and G. My right hand is going to have C F and a. Nice now if I put both of those voicings side by side, it's going Sound like this? Very cool. What a great sound right? So I want to bring the ensemble back in, I want to drop this into a musical setting into a musical context. And again, I'm going to start off by just practicing the two shapes side by side. Once I'm comfortable with both of those shapes, moving back and forth, I can begin to add rhythmic variation to try to create some melodic motifs. So let's do just that. Let's bring the ensemble let's see what this sounds like. Here we go check it out. I cannot stress enough to you how important it is to spend time with these pairings, the two melody note pairings, you know, each one of these demonstrations, these exercises I'm doing today, right, I'm just doing one minute. For the sake of time for the pot for the lane keeping the length of the podcast as short as possible. But in reality, if I were practicing these voicings, and using these pairings, I would be going much longer than just one minute right? fact I could I could do all this, I could do this type of practicing all day. I love it. Right. So now let's move on, we're going to we only have one more note to harmonize, and that's the seventh the B flat, but we're gonna approach it from the six. So we're gonna pair up our six and our seventh. So we're gonna use the same voicing for the six for the A. So in the left hand, we're gonna have D and G in the right hand C, F and a, right. So there's our C dominant with a as the melody to go to the B flat as the melody is just as simple again, as just raising that a one half step, the B flat, everything else remains the same. My left hand I had D and G. Now on my right hand, I have C, F, and B flat. So when I put those two shapes and sounds, side by side sounds like this. Very nice. Wow, you can do a lot with that. I can tell you that right now that's a great sound. So let's bring the ensemble in. Let's drop these two voicings these two shapes and sounds into a musical context into a musical setting. Let's practice each voicing first to get them under our fingers. And then let's begin to change it change add rhythmic variation to create some melodic ideas, some melodic motifs. So here we go. Let's check it out. Pretty darn cool. We have now harmonized each note of the C dominant scale. So it sounds Like this. Very cool. But before we do that, right, I just played this scale so you can hear it harmonized. But before we get to that, we need to now instead of two note groupings, we need to do three note groupings. So now we're going to start back over. And we're going to start with C, D and E, the first three notes of the C dominant scale, we're going to take our voicings and we're going to practice moving from each one of those shapes. Now, the reason again, why we're doing three notes is because now we have incorporated into our hands, we have the ability to incorporate arpeggio motion, we can go right from our C to our E arpeggio motion, we can use scale motion, C to D, or so we have nice scale motion. We also have nice arpeggio motion, wise scale motion arpeggio motion, so important, because those are the only two types of motion that we have. Every melodic line can be dissected as either moving in scale motion, or utilizing arpeggio motion. So this is vitally important that number one, you understand that number two, that you develop exercises that incorporate those two types of motions. So that is exactly why we we are now creating a three note grouping. Our two note grouping is scale motion only. Now with the three note grouping, we have arpeggio motion. So let's bring our ensemble back in. And let's see what I can come up with practicing these three shapes. Right first, just getting used to moving from one shape to the next shape to the next shape, first initially, then trying to change things up rhythmically to create some melodic ideas using what scale motion and arpeggio motion. So let's bring the ensemble in. Let's check it out. Here we go. I love it. Pretty amazing, right? three notes, the first three notes of a scale, the C dominant scale harmonized, what a great sound, and what great melodies that we can come up with using just three notes. So now we're going to take the same exact approach, but this time, we're going to have our entry point being the third. And the three notes that we're going to use are going to be the third, the E, the F, and the G. So we have our third, fourth, and our fifth. And once again, we have the scale motion going from A to G. And we also have arpeggio motion going directly from E directly to G. Very nice. So we're going to bring the ensemble back and we're going to take these three notes, harmonize the third, the fourth and the fifth. And we're going to practice those three shapes going back and forth. First to get them under our hands and in our ears. Then I'm going to change it, we're going to add some rhythmic variation to create some melodic ideas. So let's bring down a supplement. Let's check it out and see what we think. Here we go. As my dad would say not too shabby, really cool. So now we know the approach right we we've we've gone from the root to the second to the third, we've created a three note grouping and then another three note grouping from the third to the fourth to the fifth. So now we're going to go from the fifth with the G on top, the six to the seven. So we have our scale motion. be fun. And we have nice arpeggio motion from G to B flat. Nice. So again, the exact same approach, right? Let me just say this to why we use the exact same approach, you've heard me say this a million times as well, we have to always have a systematic and a formulaic way in which to approach practicing, right to keep things consistent. To keep things the same. In fact, the more that they stay the same, the better chances you have had creating change. Let that sink in, right, the more consistent you are keeping things the same when you are practicing, the better your chances of creating change when playing and improvising. Just let that sink in. So here we go. We're going to bring the ensemble back in and we're going to utilize our fifth or six and our seventh as a three note grouping. We're going to play those voicings so shapes and sounds get them under our hands, we're going to change things up rhythmically to try to create some melodic motifs. Here we go. Let's check it out. Very nice. Now we're going to just continue marching onward through the sound. So now we're going to use our seventh as our melody note, moving to our route, and then moving to our ninth. So we're going to have our B flat up on top, then to our C route, and then toward ninth on top our D. So we're getting into the upper extensions. So our sub scale motion and then from our seventh to our nine arpeggio. So again, keeping things the same, the same approach. So we're gonna bring our ensemble and we're going to drop this into a musical setting musical context. I want to practice moving, and scale motion from the seventh to the ninth and back down to get these shapes and sounds under my hands. And then I'm going to bring start adding some rhythmic variation using scale and arpeggio motion to create some melodic ideas, some melodic motifs. So here's the ensemble. Let's check it out and see what we think. Here we go. I absolutely love it. Anytime we start getting into the upper extensions, right? Absolutely love it the nine, the 11, the 13. So we're going to continue doing just that. Now we're going to start with our ninth as our entry point our D, then move to the third, and then the 11th with a note F, scale motion from our ninth to our 11th. back, and then also arpeggio motion from our nine to our loving. Very nice. So again, the exact same approach, we're going to utilize that three note grouping as our melody, our ninth, our third, our lovan. We're going to practice those shapes those sounds, get them under our hands first, then we're going to utilize scale and arpeggio motion to create some rhythmic ideas rhythmic variation to lead us to melodic invention, melodic motifs, melodic ideas, no definitive rhythmic ideas, no melodic ideas. I'm gonna say that again, no definitive rhythmic ideas. Absolutely no melodic idea. So let's do just that. Let's take these three voicings these three shapes and sounds. Let's drop them into a musical context into a musical setting. Let's see what we can do with them rhythmically using scale and arpeggio motion to discover some melodic motifs, some melodic ideas. So here we go. Let's bring the ensemble and let's check it out. Wow, what a great sound right? The night, the 11th only thing missing 13th. So let's bring that in right now. So now we are going to start with our 11th as our entry point, f is on top. So we're gonna move from R to R g, or fifth to our 13th chart. So we have nice scale motion moving from the 11th to the 13th. And then we also have course arpeggio motion moving from the 11th to the 13th. Very cool. So once again, you know the routine right? We're going to place these three shapes these three sounds, these voicings into a musical context musical setting, we're going to get the shapes and sounds under our hands first. Then we're going to start experimenting with some definitive rhythmic ideas. In order to discover some melodic motifs, that's a very cool process. So let's bring the ensemble and let's check it out. Let's see what we can discover, learn and play. See what I did there? It's pretty cool, right? Just brought the little tagline in there, right, man. Let's see what we can discover learning play. Here we go. Let's check it out. Okay, the first thing I want to do is apologize for my, my humor. I thought it was funny. I'm often told by my wife that I'm not funny. She goes, Why do you laugh at your own jokes, because they're not funny. And I guess maybe the reason I laugh at my own jokes is because no one else does. So there has to be at least someone. So anyway, I apologize for that. But I actually thought this govern learn play. incorporating the tagline in there was a nice little touch. And it was kind of funny. So okay, so we have now harmonized the entire dominant scale. And we've done so from the root to the seventh thinking in scale motion, right. And we've now done so moving through the entire sound also incorporating arpeggio motion. So the last two exercises that I want to present is just simply doing that just playing the scale harmonized, and the arpeggio harmonized, not so much from a creative perspective, right, just like what we have just completed, was taking these two note pairs, these three note pairs, and utilizing them, number one to get the shapes and sounds of voicings on our hands. But then number two to create, to improvise, using those three note those two note and three note groupings. The last two exercises where most people actually want to begin is where what I'm saying is where you should actually end that, once you feel that you have the shapes, these harmonized the notes of the dominant scale harmonize, then you can just practice them as a technique exercise where you just gonna play up and down the scale and up and down, the arpeggio harmonized. So I just want to demonstrate how I do that. So let's start with the scale first. So we're going to bring the ensemble in, I'm going to play the C dominant scale. Right ascending and descending. I'm gonna play it first, you'll see that the duration of the notes I have each note is is like a whole note and then and then I cut it down to like half note. Then I cut it down to like quarter note. So you'll see how you'll hear how I how I'm doing this. So let's bring the ensemble and let's check it out. Here we go. See, does that make sense why I say now that practicing the scale in its entirety harmonize should be one of the last things that you start doing after you have a command of this, the shapes and sounds. And you get that command of the shapes and sounds by minimizing the groupings, right to note and three note groupings. Even within the two and three note groupings, you still have what scale and arpeggio motion. So, learn, study and learn the shapes first using those two and three note groupings, before you start practicing the entire scale as an exercise, if you will, ascending and descending to just gain a better muscle memory, better muscle memory command of the voicing. And likewise, do the same thing then with the arpeggio, right, so we have scale motion, we also have arpeggio motion. So another way I like to practice then is taking these shapes the sounds, these voicings and then practicing the dominant sound as an arpeggio. So I'm going to go right from the root to 13th. And back. That makes sense. So I practice it in scale motion from the root to the seventh, and then I practice it arpeggio motion from the root to the 13th, ascending and descending. So let's bring the ensemble back in and check out how I practice the arpeggio. And again, I'm going to utilize the same approach. I'll start by by using a whole note interpretation of each voicing. Then I'll cut it down into half notes. Now cut it down to quarter notes. Okay, so here we go check it out. As always, as always, we have unpacked a ton of information today within a very short period of time less than an hour harmonized dominant scales, as are the harmonized major scales that we covered last week. harmonized dominant scales without doubt, is an essential jazz piano skill that will require much thought, intense study and of course, relentless practice. But I want to remind you here is the cool thing. All of the voicings being used to harmonize the dominant scales are voicings that you already know and have under your fingers if you have listened to in practice, the primary dominant voicings and the primary major half diminished, minor, minor, half diminished and diminished voicings. And again, be sure to listen to the podcast series that I did to introduce you to these amazing shapes and sounds. Starting with the November 10 2020 episode, dealing with the primary major voicings and also as I mentioned earlier, log in the jazz piano skills if you are a jazz piano skills member log into jazz piano skills and study courses 21 through 26 Check out the video demonstrations right for all 12 major dominant minor half diminished and diminished contemporary voicings. I also want to encourage you to map out these voicings on paper paper practice. Use the podcast packets, the illustrations and the lead sheets to guide you download and print them out the illustrations and the lead sheets. The illustrations include a paper practice template that you can use for mapping out the harmonization of all 12 dominant scales. And most of all, I stress this again last week as well be patient. This is big time. This is a big time jazz panel skill that will take time to digest both mentally and physically. So be patient structure your physical practice after the plane demonstrations that I just modeled for you in this podcast episode, and if you do so, you will begin to see immediately you will begin to see feel and hear your progress. Well, I hope you have found this jazz piano skills podcasts lesson exploring the harmonization of dominance scales to be insightful and of course beneficial don't forget if you are a jazz panel skills member I will see you online Thursday evening at the jazz panel skills masterclass 8pm Central time to discuss this podcast episode. This lesson exploring the harmonization of the dominant scale in greater detail, and to answer any question that you may have about the study of jazz in general. And again, as a jazz panel skills member Be sure to use the educational podcast packets, the illustrations the lead sheets to play along for this podcast lesson and use the jazz piano skills courses to maximize your musical growth. Likewise, make sure you are an active participant in the jazz piano skills community. Get involved and contribute to the various forums and most importantly, make some new jazz piano friends always, always a great thing to do. You can reach me by phone 972-380-8050 extension 211 by email Dr. Lawrence at jazz piano skills calm that's Dr. Lawrence at jazz piano skills calm or by speakpipe found throughout the jazz piano skills website. Well, there is my cue. That's it for now. And until next week, enjoy the harmonization of dominant scales. Enjoy the journey and most of them. Have fun as you discover, learn and play jazz piano.