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Sept. 14, 2021

Locked Hands, Dominant Voicings

This JazzPianoSkills Podcast Episode explores traditional Locked Hands Dominant Voicings.

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Welcome to JazzPianoSkills; it's time to discover, learn, and play Jazz Piano!

Every JazzPianoSkills weekly podcast episode introduces aspiring jazz pianists to essential Jazz Piano Skills. Each Podcast episode explores a specific Jazz Piano Skill in depth. Today you will discover, learn, play traditional Locked Hands Dominant Voicings. In this Jazz Piano Lesson you will:

Traditional Locked Hands Dominant Voicings

How to harmonize the dominant sound using traditional Locked Hands Voicings

TraditionalLocked Hands Dominant Voicings from the Root through the 7th

For maximum musical growth, be sure to use the Jazz Piano Podcast Packets for this Jazz Piano Lesson. All three Podcast Packets are designed to help you gain insight and command of a specific Jazz Piano Skill. The Podcast Packets are invaluable educational tools to have at your fingertips while studying and practicing traditionalLocked Hands Dominant Voicings.

Open Podcast Packets
(detailed graphics of the jazz piano skill)

Lead Sheets
(beautifully notated music lead sheets)

Play Alongs
(ensemble assistance and practice tips)

Educational Support
Community Forum

Episode Outline
Discover, Learn, Play
Invite to Join JazzPianoSkills
Exploration of Jazz Piano Skills
Closing Comments

Visit JazzPianoSkills for more educational resources that include a sequential curriculum with comprehensive Jazz Piano Courses, private and group online Jazz Piano Classes, a private jazz piano community hosting a variety of Jazz Piano Forums, an interactive Jazz Fake Book, plus unlimited professional educational jazz piano support.

If you wish to support JazzPianoSkills with a donation you can do so easily through the JazzPianoSkills Paypal Account.

Thank you for being a JazzPianoSkills listener. It is my pleasure to help you discover, learn, and play jazz piano!

Warm Regards,
Dr. Bob Lawrence
President, The Dallas School of Music



Dr. Bob Lawrence  0:33  
Welcome to jazz piano skills. I'm Dr. Bob Lawrence. It's time to discover, learn and play jazz piano. Today we are going to continue our journey exploring the traditional locked hands approach. Today though however, we're going to discover the dominant sound. We are going to learn how to harmonize dominant scales and arpeggios using traditional locked hands. And we are going to play traditional locked hands for the dominant sound from the root through the seventh of the sound using scale motion, and from the root through the 13th of the sound using arpeggio motion. So as I always like to say regardless of where you are in your jazz journey, a beginner and intermediate player, an advanced player or even if you are a seasoned and experienced professional, you are going to find this jazz panel skills podcast lesson, exploring the traditional locked hand voicings for the dominant sound to be very beneficial. If you are new to jazz piano skills if you are a new jazz piano skills podcast listener, I want to take just a minute right here and right now to personally invite you to become a jazz piano skills member. Visit jazz piano skills comm to learn more about the abundance of jazz educational resources, materials and services that are available for you to use to help you become a more accomplished jazz pianist. For example, you have as a jazz piano skills member access to all the educational podcast packets, the illustrations, the lead sheets, the play alongs that I develop and that are available for every single weekly podcast episode. Also, as a jazz piano skills member you have access to the sequential jazz piano curriculum which is a loaded correct curriculum with comprehensive courses using a self paced format educational talks, interactive media video demonstrations play alongs and a whole lot more. Also, as a jazz panel skills member you will have a reserved seat to the online weekly master classes which are in essence, a one hour online lesson with me each and every week. And also as a jazz piano skills member you have access to the private jazz piano skills community, which hosts a variety of engaging forums, podcast specific forums, course specific forums, and of course, General jazz piano forums as well. Last but certainly not least, as a jazz piano skills member you have unlimited, unlimited, private, personal and professional educational support whenever and as often as you need it. So take a second if you're not a member, take a second and visit jazz panel to learn more about all the educational opportunities and how to easily activate your membership. If you have any questions, please reach out let me know I'm always happy to spend some time with you and help you in any way that I can. I also want to remind everyone to check out the jazz panel skills blog. Whether you are a jazz piano skills member or not, you can enjoy reading some additional insights regarding the jazz piano Skill of the Week, you will find the blog link in the menu bar running across the top of the page at jazz piano skills Or you can just simply scroll to the bottom of the page and you'll see an entire blog section. I take some time at the end of each week to jot down my final thoughts about the jazz piano skill explored in the weekly podcast episode. And hopefully provide you with some words of encouragement and inspiration as well. So be sure to check out my blog and let me know what you think. I welcome your feedback. It is always very, very much appreciated. Okay, let's discover learning play jazz piano let's discover learn and play traditional dominant locked hands voicings. Wow, here we go. So to begin, just in case, you haven't had an opportunity to listen to last week's jazz panel skills podcast episode, where I presented an overview a description of what the jazz world is referring to when discussing locked hands. I thought I would take a second do a quick recap. If you did listen to last week's episode, you will recall that I presented an outline of the locked hands approach the lock hands style that I lifted from Wikipedia, which I don't normally do or rely on. But in this case, Wikipedia is actually spot on the locked hand style according to Wikipedia as a technique

Dr. Bob Lawrence  5:34  
of chord voicing for the piano popularized by jazz pianist George sharing, it is a way to implement the block chord method of harmony on a keyboard instrument. The locked hands technique requires the pianist to play the melody using both hands in unison right, and octave, an octave apart. The right hand plays a four note chord inversion, which the melody note is the highest note in the voicing. And the other three notes of the chord are voiced as close as closely as possible. Below the melody note, which is the definition of a block chord. Now the left hand doubles the melody note, one octave lower. So to achieve this result, the pianos hands must be placed close together on the keyboard, and both hands move simultaneously in the same direction. And again, to the observer to someone watching the pianos play lock hands, the pianos hands appear to be locked together. The technique this locked hands approach or technique had been employed by numerous jazz pianos prior to sharing, such as Phil Moore, Duke Ellington, Count Basie, and red garland sharing said he first was exposed to the approach through Milt Buckner, the pianos for Lionel Hampton, and the musician considered to be the originator of the technique. This harmonic approach this harmonic technique was also used in the horn arrangements of Glenn Miller's Big Band, and is a staple of modern Big Band arranging. Again, kudos to Wikipedia for an excellent, succinct summary of the locked hands approached us by practically every jazz pianist on planet Earth. The bottom line is this any aspiring jazz pianist should spend time studying and practicing this iconic jazz piano sound. And that is why I am dedicated an entire series to walking you through the construction of these essential jazz piano voicings so you can begin to successfully study practice and use them in your own plane. So let's get after it. Let's discover learn and play locked hands. dominant voicings. So the agenda for today the educational agenda for today is as follows. Number one, I am going to present seven locked hands voicings, one for each note of the dominant scale the MixoLydian mode. Number two, I am going to present 10 exercises, just as I did last week, 10 exercises that focus on compact scale and arpeggio motion to minimize linear movement. And number three, I am going to present one exercise that spans the entire dominant scale, from the root to the seventh of the sound, and one exercise that plays the entire arpeggio dominant arpeggio spanning from the root to the 13th of the sound. All in all, I will be presenting the total of 12 exercises today. Number four, I will be constructing all of the voicings all the voicings that you hear today, we'll be using the traditional locked hands approach. And number five, I will be playing all demonstrations today all exercises using a temple of 120. As always, I highly recommend using slower tempos, believe it or not. 120 is kind of a snappy tempo when you're trying to learn a jazz panel skill so I highly recommend beginning at slower tempos 60 7080 whenever you begin to physically explore a new jazz piano skill, this jazz piano skill locked hands for the dominant sound It's a big time skill. Just as last week the locked hands for the minor sound was was an is a big time skill. Locked hand voicings will forever change how you think about scales and the harmonization of melody lines. It will forever change how you play scales, arpeggios, and melodies. And it will dramatically change your jazz piano sound. So if you are a jazz piano skills member, I want you to take just a few minutes right now to download and print

Dr. Bob Lawrence  10:33  
your podcast packets, the illustrations and the lead sheets, you have access to the podcast packets, and you should absolutely be using them during your listening to this podcast episode. And certainly you should be using them while sitting at the piano and practicing as well. Alright, so you have access to these podcast packets. So take a second right now to download them, access them, download them to have them at your fingertips. If you're listening to this podcast on any of the popular podcast directories such as Apple or Google or Amazon, Spotify, I Heart Radio Pandora on and on and on. Then be sure to go to jazz panel skills to download your podcast packets and you will find the download links in the show notes. And one final but extremely important note that I am including in every podcast episode from here on out that if you're thinking that this specific jazz panel skill today, the traditional dominant lock hand voicings if you are thinking that this skill is in some way or in all the way over your head, then I would say to you okay, big deal. So what continue to listen, continue to grow your jazz piano skills intellectually, by listening to this podcast episode. I've said this a million times the fact that the truth is simply this. All skills are over our heads when they are first introduced to us. And that is precisely why the first step to learning any jazz piano skill is to begin with just listening. Our musical growth begins upstairs mentally, intellectually, before it can come out downstairs physically in your hands. So listen, listen to this podcast. Listen now to discover and learn. The play will come in time, I guarantee it. Okay, let's begin with our very first voicing locked hand voicing for the dominant sound. So in your left hand, I want you to play see the Notes See below middle C and then your right hand, I want you to play E, G, B flat, C, middle C with your little finger. Right. So basically in your right hand you have a C dominant seven in first inversion. And you have the C doubled in your left hand right one octave apart. The C is the melody note. Pretty straightforward dominance voicing. Now if the next note of the scale, the dominant scale, the note D is My Melody. I'm going to keep the guts of the voicing the same. And all I'm going to do is move my thumb up to D my left hand my little finger up to D in my right hand. That's it. So now these two voicings side by side sound like this. See my melody C is My Melody. Now B is my nice nice, lush, thick, dense voicings. So what I want to do is I want to bring the ensemble in and I want to practice these two shapes side by side to get familiar with them. Okay, and then once I get familiar with them and comfortable with them physically, I can begin to have some fun with them rhythmically and come up with some rhythmic vocabulary, some melodic motifs using these two shapes, these two sounds, so let's bring the ensemble in. Let's check it out and then we'll talk about it. Here we go.

Dr. Bob Lawrence  15:40  
Very nice, wow, classic lock hands voicings classic lock hand sound. Now today I'm using C dominant. For all of my examples last week I use C minor. Today I'm using C dominant. Typically I would go to say maybe f dominant because I would be setting up a 251 progression which we are going to eventually be doing as well, using locked hands. But I say I'm sticking with the same chord family. Because I want you to see how incredibly similar these structures these voicings are from C minor to C dominant and the next week also C major, right. Again, kind of illuminating the fact that these voicings do not enjoy autonomy, right. So when you're practicing your minor lock hand voicings, you're actually believer not practicing shapes that are very similar to the dominant voicings and to the major voicings. So I'm intentionally sticking with the same chord family. From an educational perspective, I think you're going to find it to be very beneficial, sticking, learning getting familiar with the shapes and sounds staying within the same chord family. Okay, so now let's go to our next two note grouping from the scale. So we're gonna go to the third into the fourth. So that's going to be the note E and the note F, we're going to treat e as our melody, we're going to treat the note f as our melody. So in my left hand, I'm going to play the note E with my thumb and my right hand, I'm going to play the note G, B flat, D, and E. Now you could play G, B flat, C and E, right, but I'm substituting that route with the ninth because I just like that sound. Plus, you're gonna see here in a second it minimize the, the movement when I go to the fourth. So that block voicing sounds like this. And again, I have E, G, B flat, D. Now to go to the fourth as the melody the note F. Again, the guts of the chord stay the same. And all I do is I move my thumb up the F in my left hand and my little finger in my right hand up the F. That's it. So now those two voicings side by side, third is the melody. Now before Right, so the guts of the voicing the black hand stays the same as the melody melody note that's changing, just as it did for the root, and for the second for the C and the D. So now let's bring the ensemble back in. And let's hear these two shapes these two sounds side by side. And again, once I get familiar with those shapes physically, I can start to add some rhythmic vocabulary to try to discover some melodic motifs, right. So let's bring the ensemble and let's check it out. See what we think. Here we go.

Dr. Bob Lawrence  20:01  
Pretty cool, right? Nice sounds really, really nice sounds. Now, the next two notes in the scale, the fifth in the six, right, the note G, and the note a. So, we're going to start with the note G and our left hand and our thumb, and our right hand, B flat, D, E, and G. So that lock hand voicing sounds like this. Now, again, I could have had B flat, C, E, G, and my right hand, but I'm substituting that route with the ninth because I like the sound. But also, when we go to the six, when we go to the A is the melody. All I have to do is move my thumb in my left hand up to a and my little finger that's on the G up to the a, what stays the same again, the guts of the voicing. So I get this, my G gets the voicing or staying the same, the melody note, G and A is the only change like from C to D. And just like from E to F. So now let's bring the ensemble back in. Let's listen to these two locked hand voicings, with the melody g in the melody a, these two shapes and these two sounds and see what we think, as we drop them into a musical context. And once again, to get used to this shapes first physically, then start to add some rhythmic vocabulary, some rhythmic variation to discover some melodic motifs. So here we go. Let's check it out and see what we think.

Dr. Bob Lawrence  23:00  
Nice. So now we have just one more note of the scale to harmonize using lock hands, and that's the seventh or the note B flat. But I'm going to pair that up with our sixth with our A. So we're going to start with our A, B flat, D. And then we're going to move up to B flat in my left hand. And then straight up c dominant seven C. Solo was to lock hands side by side. So I'm like this nice all the time a is My Melody. B flat is my naughty. And just as we did with the root and second, and the third and fourth and fifth and six. We're now going to do with the sixth and seventh. I'm going to get familiar with those shapes those sounds first and foremost. Then I'm going to begin to add some rhythmic vocabulary, some rhythmic variation to discover some melodic motifs, little improvisation. So bring the ensemble in was dropped these two locked hand voicings into a musical context into a musical setting and see what we think. Here we go.

Dr. Bob Lawrence  25:33  
So we have now literally harmonized the entire c dominant scale MixoLydian mode, we have now taken that entire scale. And we have harmonized that using a traditional locked hands approach. So it sounds like this.

Dr. Bob Lawrence  26:03  
Nice, very nice, we're gonna look at the scale motion arpeggio motion at the end at the end of the podcast. But I just wanted you to hear it real quick, right, because it sounds so good. So now we're going to start the process over again. But instead of thinking in two note groupings, we are going to think in three note groupings. And by adding the third note, we now have at our fingertips, the two types of musical motion that exists melodic motion that exists in music. And that's scale motion and arpeggio motion. So now we're going to group the root, the second and the third together. So now we get this. So I have scale motion, just like I demonstrated. up to third and back down. We also have our pitch on my motion from the root to third. Wow, just by adding that third note, I now have at my fingertips, both types of melodic motion, scale and arpeggio. So let's bring the ensemble back in, let's have a little fun with our C, D and E as our melody notes, and see what we can come up with with these three locked hand shapes, right? gonna apply some rhythmic variation, some rhythmic vocabulary, and then tried to discover some nice melodic motifs as well. So let's bring our sample back in. And let's see what we think. Check it out.

Dr. Bob Lawrence  28:48  
Very cool. Wow. Wow, just a lot of possibilities ever. It's just three melodic notes using locked hand voicings. So we're going to continue this strategy right through the entire sound. So now we're going to use a three note grouping that consists of third, and then the fourth and the fifth. So we get this E is our melody, F, and then G. So again, I got scale motion, going from my, to my, to my G. And I also have arpeggio motion, going from my E, F to my G. So as always, we're gonna bring the ensemble back in, we're going to get comfortable with this three note grouping. Then I'm going to start manipulating it rhythmically, adding some rhythmic vocabulary and rhythmic very variation, to try to unveil to discover some melodic motifs. So let's bring the ensemble back in. Let's check it out and see what we think. Here we go.

Dr. Bob Lawrence  31:08  
Nice right, very nice. So let's continue to march through the sound. Now we're going to group together the fifth, the note G, the six, the note a, and the seventh, the note B flat. So our lock hand voicings with those three notes serving as our melody sound like this scale motion or arpeggio motion from my genome A B flat scale motion arpeggio motion.

Dr. Bob Lawrence  31:49  
So you know the routine by now right let's get familiar with the shapes. Let's start to add some rhythmic variation, some rhythmic vocabulary to help discover, unveil, illuminate some melodic ideas, motifs, right. So bring the ensemble back end. Let's drop these shapes the sounds into a musical context and see what we can discover learn and play. So here we go. Check it out.

Dr. Bob Lawrence  33:26  
Love it, absolutely love it. Just a real quick side note. The reason why we're being so methodical going through the sound using two note groupings, three note groupings. One huge reason there are several reasons but one huge reason is to help you become root independent, right, we have to be able to see a sound through the entirety of the sound from the root all the way through the 13th. And we have to have various entry points, we cannot always just begin on the note C. Right how often I when I start working with a student if they have scale experience or arpeggio experience, they always have scale in our Pedro experience from the root. As soon as we start moving entry points around the deck of cards collapse, because they only can see a sound starting from the root. So one of the huge reasons why we are so methodical and going through the sound with these lock hands, starting from the root starting from the third starting from the fifth starting from the seventh and so on, is to help you to become root independent. So with that in mind, our next three note grouping is going to utilize the note B flat seventh and see the route and then D functioning as the night. So we get this scale motion ascending descending arpeggio motion from the B flat from the seventh to the ninth.

Dr. Bob Lawrence  35:12  
Very nice. So okay, we're gonna bring the ensemble back and get familiar with these locked hand voicings from the seventh to the ninth. Utilizing scale motion, arpeggio motion ascending and descending, add some rhythmic vocabulary, some variation to help illuminate and discover some melodic motifs. Wow, very systematic, very formulaic, very effective, very efficient practicing. So let's bring the ensemble back in. Let's drop these shapes the sounds into a musical context and see what we can discover. Here we go check it out.

Dr. Bob Lawrence  37:01  
Okay, so now. So now we are clearly into the upper extensions of the sound, we're going to start with the note D as our melody, moving to the third E, and then the note F, which is the 11th. So our locked hands sound like this D

Dr. Bob Lawrence  37:25  
scale motion ascending and descending. Then arpeggio motion from the ninth to the 11th from the note D to the note. Beautiful. So bring the ensemble back in. Let's go through our routine. Going to get used to the shapes the sounds first, then add rhythmic variation, rhythmic vocabulary, to illuminate to discover some melodic motifs. Wow, I love it. So here we go. Let's check it out and see what we think.

Dr. Bob Lawrence  39:10  
Pretty darn cool, right? Well, I think that's cool. Check this out. We're gonna Now move from the 11th to the fifth to the 13th the sound. So we're gonna start with F our 11th as our melody to our fifth and go to our 13th our note a. So we have scammers. Singing in descending, we also have nice arpeggio motion from the 11th to the 13th. Great. All right, let's bring the ensemble in. Let's get used to these shapes and sounds physically and orally. And then let's Begin to manipulate the shapes and sounds using rhythmic variation rhythmic vocabulary to discover some melodic motifs and melodic ideas, right. So in essence what we're doing here is we're improvising harmonically. Pretty cool, right? We always think of improvising melodically but we're, we've been through this entire podcast, improvising, harmonically. So here we go. Let's check it out and see what we think.

Dr. Bob Lawrence  41:38  
So we have now successfully taken a look at the C dominant scale the MixoLydian mode, we've harmonized that that sound using traditional locked hands. And we've moved basically in scale motion from the root to the seventh using two note groupings, and then from the root to the 13th using three note groupings. So now that you're comfortable and familiar with these lock hand voicings, for the C dominant scale for the MixoLydian mode, now, now it's time to actually practice these voicings as a scale and practice these voicings as an arpeggio, right to kind of test your ability to move from one shape to the next shape to the next shape, with ease with comfort, and with ease. So what I want to do right now is I want to play the entire scale MixoLydian mode c down on a scale from the root, the seventh ascending and descending, straight up, straight down, and I'm going to bring the ensemble in to do this, you're gonna hear me play first starting off, kind of using whole notes, and then you're gonna hear me shifting to quarter notes. Okay, so let's bring the ensemble on. Let's listen to the C dominant scale MixoLydian mode harmonized. using traditional locked hands, voicings, here we go check it out.

Dr. Bob Lawrence  44:22  
What a great way to test your ability to play these shapes in these sounds. These locked hands voicings, moving through the entire scale ascending and descending. Then once you feel you got a handle on the scale, then it's time to kind of ratchet it up another level and actually play these locked hand voicings through the entire sound as an arpeggio from the root all the way to the 13th, ascending and descending. So that's what I want to do right now and to bring the ensemble back in, and I'm going to just play the arpeggio from the root to 13 an ascending and descending using traditional locked hands voicings, okay, and I'm going to do the same exact thing I just did on the scale and start off with some nice whole notes. Moving through the entire sound from the root to the 13th and back, and then shift into quarter notes. Okay, so here we go. Let's bring out a sample and let's check it out and see what we think. Here we go.

Dr. Bob Lawrence  46:36  
Every week, I tried to keep each podcast episode within the hour. It's, it's hard to do because we cover so much ground in such a short period of time and today was simply no exception. The traditional dominant locked hands, voicings without doubt is an essential jazz piano skill that require from you. A lot of thought, intense study, and of course, relentless practicing. I want to encourage you to map out these voicings on paper what I call paper practice, right sketch them out and use the podcast packets, the illustrations in the lead sheets the guide to the illustrations included in your podcast packets. The illustrations include a paper practice template that will help you map out the harmonization of all 12 dominant scales, right so use them in as you've heard me say, over and over and over and over and over again. conceptual understanding determines your physical development so the time you invest in studying and mapping out the traditional locked hands voicings is time very well spent, the return on your best investment cannot be adequately expressed. Spend time studying and mapping out these voicings and most of all, most of all, be patient. This is a big time jazz piano skill that will will take time to digest both mentally and physically. So structure your physical practice after the plane demonstrations that I modeled for you today in this podcast episode and you will begin to see you will begin to feel you will begin to hear your progress. Well I hope I hope you have found this jazz panel skills podcast lesson exploring the traditional locked hands voicings for the dominant sound to be insightful and of course to be very beneficial. Don't forget if you are a jazz piano skills member I will see you online Thursday evening at the jazz piano skills masterclass 8pm Central time to discuss this podcast episode lesson exploring the traditional locked hand voicings for the dominant sound in greater detail and to answer any question that you may have about the study of jazz in general. Again, as a jazz panel skills member, be sure to use the educational podcast packets, the illustrations, the lead sheets, the play alongs for this podcast lesson and for all the podcast episodes. Be sure to use the podcast packets Be sure to use the jazz panel skills courses to maximize your musical growth. And likewise, make sure you are an active participant in the jazz piano skills community. Get involved, contribute to the various forums and most importantly make some new jazz piano friends. Always a great thing to do. You can reach me by phone 972-380-8050 extension 211 by email Dr. Lawrence Dr. Lawrence at Ask panel skills calm or by speakpipe found throughout the jazz piano skills website. Well there is by cue. That's it for now. And until next week, enjoy the traditional dominant locked hands voice and enjoy the journey. And most of all, have fun as you discover, learn and play jazz piano