This JazzPianoSkills Podcast Episode explores traditional Locked Hands Half Diminished Voicings.
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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 Half Diminished Voicings. In this Jazz Piano Lesson you will:
Traditional Locked Hands Half Diminished Voicings
How to harmonize the half diminished sound using traditional Locked Hands Voicings
Traditional Locked Hands Half Diminished Voicings from the Root through the 7th
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Dr. Bob Lawrence
President, The Dallas School of Music
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 our exploration of locked hands, you're going to discover traditional locked hands approach for the half diminished sound. And you're going to learn how to harmonize half the many scales and arpeggios using traditional locked hands. And you're going to play traditional lock hands for the half diminished sound from the root through the seventh of the sound using scale motion, and from the root through the 13th of this half the many 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 and advanced player or even if you consider yourself a seasoned and experienced professional, you will find this jazz panel skills podcast lesson, exploring the traditional locked hands voicings, for the half diminish sound to be very beneficial. As always, I want to take a couple minutes here at the beginning of this podcast episode to personally invite all new listeners to the jazz panel skills podcast all you new listeners I want to invite you to become a jazz piano skills member. Simply 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 when studying and practicing jazz piano. For example, as a jazz piano skills member, you have access to all of the educational podcast packets, the illustrations, the lead sheets, the play alongs that I develop and I produce for every weekly podcast episode. These are invaluable educational tools that coincide with each podcast episode. As a jazz panel skills member you also have access to the sequential jazz piano curriculum. Now, this is a curriculum that is loaded with comprehensive courses using a self-paced format educational talks, interactive media video demonstrations, play alongs and all 12 keys and more so be sure to check it out. You also have as a jazz panel skills member having reserved seat each and every week to the online weekly masterclass that I host which in essence these masterclasses are our one hour online lesson with me each and every week. And again, you have a reserved seat. As a jazz panel skills member you also have access to the private jazz piano skills community. And this is a community that hosts a variety of engaging forums, podcast-specific forums, and core-specific forums and of course, General jazz piano forums as well. So you can enjoy the community as much as you'd like. And last but certainly not least, as a jazz panel skills member, you have unlimited, private, personal, and professional educational support with me, whenever and as often as you need it. Again, I want to encourage you to visit jazz piano skills comm to learn more about all of the educational opportunities and how to easily activate your membership. If you have any questions at all, please let me know reach out. I'm always happy to spend time with you and help you in any way that I can. I also want to remind everyone, whether you're a jazz piano skills member or not to check out the jazz piano skills blog. Each and every week I write down some additional insights and thoughts regarding the jazz panel Skill of the Week. And you can find this blog, the blog link in the menu bar that runs across the top of the page at jazz piano skills podcast.com or you can simply scroll to the bottom of that page once you're there and you will see an entire blog section. Again 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 and hopefully in addition to that, provided I do have some words of encouragement and inspiration as well. So be sure to check out my blog. Let me know what you think. And as always, Your feedback is very much welcomed and appreciated. Okay, let's discover learning play jazz piano let's discover learning play traditional lock hands voicings, for the half diminished sound. So the last three weeks we have explored locked hands for the minor sound locked hands for the dominant sound locked hands for the major sound. And in each one of those podcast episodes, I took time to kind of give you an outline or a definition presentation an overview of what the jazz world is referring to when discussing locked hands. And instead of doing that this week, because you can, I've already done it three times.
So instead of doing that this week, what I thought we would do it would be fun, is I want to play a little recording of Milt Buckner locking, playing locked hands. And this is actually from Milt Buckner, his 1968 album called locked hands. The tune we're going to listen to is the old Big Band classic called jersey bounce. Right, recorded by Benny Goodman, Glenn Miller, you name it, right? It's a big band hit. And this is Milt Buckner playing that tune using locked hands. So the melody of the tune is played in octaves split between the right hand and the left hand. And that octave, the inside of that octave is filled in with Cortana. It's a very, it's a very thick, it's very dense. It's a very lush sound, as you're about to hear. So Milt Buckner is considered to be the originator of this technique of the locked hands. And in fact, George shearing who is often mentioned, as the primary example of lock hands playing, George sharing himself points to Milt Buckner as the originator of the sound so I thought we'd take just a few minutes right now and listen to Milt Buckner perform jersey bounce using locked hands so we can get that sound in our head in our ears, right. And this is what we've been working so hard on the past three weeks with the minor locked hands, the dominant locked hands in the major locked hands, and again today with the half diminished, locked hands, so let's just kind of listen where we're heading. And what our goal is here with study in lock hands. So here's Milt Buckner performing. Jersey bounce. Here we go.
Wow now if that doesn't motivate you to study and to practice locked hands, I don't know what will right? It's a great sound and I mentioned in the previous podcast that it's a technique that is used by just about every single jazz pianist on planet Earth. And if you noticed Milt Buckner not only played the melody, you're the head of Jersey bounce using locked hands. He's soloed his entire solo was played using locked hands. Very impressive. So hopefully, I take in a few minutes in listening to Milt Buckner, the originator of the locked hand's technique, the locked hand style, hopefully, that has now inspired you to dig in a little deeper and study these lock hand voicings for minor dominant major today half diminished, and next week diminished. So the agenda for today the educational agenda for today is as follows. Number one, I am going to present seven, walk hands voicings, one for each note of the half diminished scale, the Locrian mode. Number two, I am going to present 10 exercises that focus on compact scale and arpeggio motion to minimize linear movement. And you are very familiar with these exercises because they're the exact same 10 exercises that we used when studying the minor locked hands, the dominant locked hands, and the major locked hands. Number three, I am going to present one exercise that spans the entire scale the Locrian mode from the root to the seventh of the sound, and one exercise that plays the entire scale the Locrian mode as an arpeggio spanning from the root to the 13th of the sound. All in all, I will be presenting a total of 12 exercises today. Number four, I will be constructing all the voicings today. Have course using the traditional lock hands approach. And finally number five I will be playing all demonstrations today all exercises using the Temple of 120. And as always, I highly recommend using slower tempos. I say this every week, slower tempos 60 7080 whenever you begin to physically explore any new jazz piano skill. This jazz piano skills lesson today, as were the last three podcast episode lessons dealing with harmonizing the minor dominant major sounds using scales and arpeggios motion, locked hands. Today's lesson is Biggie it's a huge lesson. It's dealing with the half diminished sound which is quite often neglected. It will forever change how you think about scales and arpeggios have too many scales and arpeggios and it will forever change how you play them. It will dramatically change your jazz piano sound. If you are a jazz piano skills member take a few minutes right now to download and print the jazz panel skills podcast packets, the illustrations and the lead sheets. As a member, you have access to all of the podcast packets and you should add Absolutely without question. Be using them when listening to this podcast episode this podcast lesson 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, Google, Amazon, Spotify, I Heart Radio Pandora, on and on and on, then be sure to go to jazz piano skills podcast.com. To download the podcast packets, you will find the active links the download links in the show notes. And one final but extremely important note that I include in every podcast episode, this is huge. If you're thinking that the traditional locked hands, the half diminished voicings that we are about to discover learning play is in some way. Or even if you think it is all the way over your head, then I say So what? Big deal, who cares, right? Listen, continue to listen, continue to grow your jazz piano skills intellectually, by listening to this podcast episode lesson. The fact is this awesome jazz piano skills are over our heads when first introduced. And that is precisely why the most important step, the very first step that we need to take to improve our jazz piano plane is to listen, listen to the presentation of skills that are over our head. And doing so we improve our musicianship is just that simple, all musical growth. All musical growth begins upstairs mentally, conceptually, before it can come out downstairs physically in your hands. So as I always say, Listen to this podcast, listen now, to discover and learn, the play will come in time, I guarantee it, it always does. Okay, so I've already mentioned that I'm going to use the Locrian mode, we're going to use the C Locrian mode. So everything's going to be based on C half diminished today. So that scale or that mode is C, D flat, E flat, F, G
flat, a flat, B flat. So I'm going to harmonize that scale that mode each note the seven notes of that scale or that mode using locked hands. each note is being treated as the melody note. So we start with note C, we play the note C using an octave right little finger and the right hand see thumb in the left hand see an octave lower, I'm going to fill in the rest of that half the many sound in the right hand with the notes E flat, G flat, B flat. So to play that together sounds like this. See half the many seven and first inversion. With the top note the melody note C being doubled one octave below with the left hand. Again, it sounds like this. Nice classic lock hands. Now, the next note of the mode, the scale is the note D flat. So to harmonize that using locked hands, I'm going to keep everything the same except the melody note. We're going to move the C in my left hand I'm going to move it up to D flat in the little finger right hand see I'm going to move up the D flat B inside of the locked hand voicing remains the same the E flat, the G flat and the B flat. So it sounds like this. So those two notes side by side sound like. So I'm going to start off with this T note pair this two-note grouping. And I'm going to explore both of those shapes. I'm going to get comfortable with them first just going back and forth from one shape to the next shape from one sound to the next sound right? Then I'm going to begin exploring various rhythmic ideas with those two locked hands. And in doing so, hopefully, discover some nice melodic motifs. So let's bring the ensemble in. Let's drop this to note grouping this to these two lock hands. Let's drop them into a musical context into a musical setting. See how they sound and see what we come up with. All right, so here we go. Let's check it out.
variant nice. You know, if you're unfamiliar with the half diminished sound, you won't be by the end of this podcast lesson. And not only will you not be unfamiliar with it any longer, you will actually begin to fall in love with the half diminished sound, it is a great sound. And I'm always baffled why so many jazz students tend to neglect or want to ignore it. It's a great sound, and it's a sound that's laced through all of jazz literature. So the second to note grouping, we're going to start with the third, which is the E flat of the scale of the mode. So again, we're going to place that E flat, that melody note we're gonna play it as an octave between our two hands. So I have E flat and my little finger in my right hand, and I have E flat and my thumb and my left hand an octave apart. The inside of the locked hand is going to consist of the notes G flat, B flat, and D flat. So it sounds like this. It's beautiful. Now, you could play G flat, B flat, C, E flat. But as I mentioned in the previous podcast episodes, I personally like to substitute that route with the ninth. So I take that C out and I play the D flat. And the other reason I do that is because now when I move to the fourth of the scale of the mode, the note F, everything inside the locked hands stays the same. The melody note is the only change. So my E flat in the left hand, my E flat in the right hand, move up to the note f beautiful sound. So those two locked hands side by side with E flatten F, serving as the melody sound like this again, nice. So let's bring the ensemble and let's drop these two locked hand shapes. With e flatten f serving as our melody. Let's drop it into a musical context into a musical setting and see what we think. And again, we're going to get used to both shapes first, then begin adding some rhythmic vocabulary to discover some nice melodic motifs. So let's check it out. See what we think then we'll talk about it here we go.
Love it. Absolutely love it. What a great sound. Okay, so now the next to note grouping, we're going to utilize the fifth And the sixth degree of the scale of the mode. So we're going to utilize the note a flat, and I'm sorry, G flat and a flat, G flat is our fifth round double that melody and octaves between both hands, G flat and my little finger in the right hand, G, flatten my thumb in the left hand, I'm going to fill in the walk hands, I'm going to fill in with the right hand with the note B flat, D flat, E flat, B flat, D flat, and E flat. So now when I play that together, it sounds like this. Classic lock hands. And again, to move to the six or to the A flat, serving as the melody, the note a flat, everything is going to stay the same within the within the locked hands except for the change of the melody note. So my G flat, the left hand, my G flat and right hand move up to the note a flat. So I have a flat, B flat, D flat, E flat, and a flat. So those two sounds those two locked hand shapes side by side sound like this. Again, the only change is the melody note itself, the inside notes of the lock hands remain the same. So once again, let's bring the ensemble and let's drop these two locked hands together into a musical context. Again, I'm going to just get used to the shapes first moving back and forth, then begin to add some rhythmic vocabulary to discover some nice melodic motifs. So here we go. Let's check it out and see what we think.
Very nice. So so far, we've we have literally used locked hands to harmonize the root, the second, third, fourth, the fifth, and the sixth note of the half diminished sound of the Locrian mode. Only one note left, and that's the seventh the B flat and we're going to group that pair that up with the six so we're going to use our voicing for our six again our a flat, we're gonna have B flat D flat and E flat and between our octaves. And then we go to the seventh B flat and we fill it in with C, E flat and G flat. So have a straight up in the right hand is C half diminished seven C E flat, G flat, B flat, with the top note B flat the seventh doubled an octave lower in the left hand a sounds like this. So those two locked hands side by side, a flattest melody melody. So once again, let's bring the ensemble and drop these two lock hands voicings into a musical context. Use some rhythmic vocabulary to discover some melodic motifs and have a little fun keeping it simple but getting used to the shapes and these sounds. So here we go. Let's check it out and see what we think.
Wow, we have now taken the entire half the mini scale the half diminished mode Locrian mode. And we have harmonized that using a traditional locked hands approach that scale sounds like this
I just wanted you to hear that we're gonna do a scale exercise toward the end of the podcast. But I just wanted you to hear all of those notes of the mode, the seven notes harmonized using locked hands. Sounds gorgeous. Okay, so as we did with the previous podcast previous three podcast episodes exploring the minor locked hands, the dominant locked hands, and the major locked hands. We started off using two-note groupings. And now we want to move to three-note groupings. And the reason we do three note groupings is because now we have included the two types of melodic motion that exist in music scale motion, and arpeggio motion. So the first three notes is going to be the C, D flat, E flat, so we have scale motion, C, D flat, E flat, we also have arpeggio motion from C to E flat and back. So I put the lock hands I harmonized those three notes using lock hands.
Nice arpeggio. So now I want to use those three, that three-note grouping, to explore the locked hand voicings, and to do so using rhythmic variation to discover some melodic motifs. So this should be fun, we're gonna keep it simple, but have fun with these three-note groupings. So here we go. Let's check it out. Then we can talk about it. Here we go.
Pretty cool, right? A lot of fun. Such a great way to explore these shapes these sounds these traditional lock hands voicings, such a great way to snap the sound part into the little three-note groupings. And that's what we're going to do, we're snapping these little three-note groupings to sound apart in these three-note groupings from the root all the way through the 13th. So now we're going to use E flat, F and G flat our third up to our fifth. The three-note grouping sounds like this scale motion up and down and our pitch on motion backs. So let's bring the ensemble back in. Let's have some fun with these three notes a flat F and G flat, the third, fourth, and the fifth using traditional lock hands, but have some fun with adding some rhythmic variation to this discover some nice melodic motifs, some nice melodic ideas. So here we go. Let's check it out and see what we think.
What I tell you isn't the half the mini sound gorgeous, beautiful. So now our next three-note grouping is going to utilize the fifth, the sixth, and the seventh, and the sound. So G flat, a flat, B flat. Those three notes played using traditional locked hand sound like this.
Now arpeggio motion from the G flat to the B flat. Wonderful. So as we have been doing we're going to drop these three locked hand voicings into a musical setting into a musical context, explore them rhythmically to discover some nice melodic ideas, some nice melodic motifs, not gonna try to do anything fancy. And try to keep it simple and be as musical as possible. So bring the ensemble in. Let's check it out. Here we go.
Wow, love it. So we have done the route to the third, three-note groupings third, to the fifth three-note grouping, fifth to the seventh three-note grouping. Now we're going to go from the seventh to the ninth. So it's going to be B flat, C, and D flat. So our seventh root or nine and then arpeggio motion.
So just as we have been doing, we're going to continue with the same protocol right or drop these three lock hands voicings into a musical context. Have some fun with them rhythmically, and see what we come up with melodically Oh, nice. So here we go. Let's bring the ensemble and let's check it out and have a little fun
Very nice now we are moving into the upper extensions of the sound right we got the ninth, going to the third going to the 11th sold our next three-note grouping D flat, E flat, F all voiced using traditional lock hands right scale motion from the ninth to the third, fourth to the 11th I should say and back down then arpeggio motion from the ninth to the 11th sound let's bring the ensemble back in. Let's have some fun with these locked hand voicings including the ninth and the third and the 11th. Change up our rhythmic ideas explore some rhythmic vocabulary to discover some melodic ideas. Just as we've been doing, keep it simple. Keep it musical. So here we go. Let's bring the ensemble in. Let's check it out and have a little fun. Here we go.
Very nice. Well, we're down to our last three-note grouping which is going to include the 11th the note F, going to the fifth G flat, going to 13th a flat voice using traditional lock hands again the fourth, fifth and we have nicer pitting and scale motion. We have nice arpeggio motion from the 11th to 13th. Again, really beautiful sound. I love these locked hands very lush. So let's bring the ensemble back in. Let's listen to these three locked hand voicings including the 11th, the fifth, and the 13th, and see what we can do with them rhythmically and melodically. Let's have some fun, keep it simple, right? Be musical. So here we go. Let's check it out and see what we think.
Now that we have explored the half diminished sound using the Locrian mode, we have explored it from the root to the seventh using two-note groupings. And we have explored it from the root to the 13th. Using using three note groupings, very methodical, right, very thorough, very effective, and very efficient a practice approach. To get the shapes the sounds, these traditional lock hands for the half diminished sound in our ears, and under our hands. Now we're at the point where we can actually play exercises that utilize the entire scale and utilize the entire arpeggio, the scale from the root to the seventh, and the arpeggio from the root to the 13th. So the first thing I want to do is I want to attack the scale. So I want to play the C half the mini scale the Locrian mode from the root to the seventh, using straight scale motion, when it goes straight up from the root to the seventh and back down using half notes. And then you're gonna hear me converted to quarter notes. So I'm just gonna test my skills of how quickly I can move through each of the locked hand voicings from the root to the seventh, ascending and descending, using scale motion. So let's bring the ensemble and let's check it out and see what we think. Here we go.
Pretty darn cool, right? Notice I'm putting the scale in the arpeggio at the end, right? But we didn't start with trying to play the scale in its entirety from the root to seventh using locked hands. We're not going to start with the arpeggio from the root to the 13th using locked hands. No, we're going to we're going to work in little fragments to note fragments and three-note fragments to get used to the shapes and sounds first, then begin practicing the shapes and sounds using scale motion and using arpeggio motion. So now I want to do just that. I want to play arpeggio motion from the root through the 13th of the sound. Right? So I'm going to go root, third 579 1113 ascending and descending, using traditional locked hand voicings for the half diminished. So let's bring the ensemble in. Let's see what this sounds like. Let's have a little fun. Here we go.
Very, very, very cool. It never fails. We all Unpack a ton of information in each and every podcast episode and do so within an hour. And today. Certainly no exception. Traditional half diminished lock hands voicings, without a doubt, is an essential jazz piano skill that will require much thought, intense study, and of course relentless practice. I want to encourage you to take time to do pay per practice. to map out these voicings on paper, use the podcast packets, the illustrations in the lead sheets that you have access to, to guide you. The illustrations include a paper practice template that you can use for mapping out the harmonization of all 12 half to many scales Locrian mode as you have heard me say over and over and over and over and over again. conceptual understanding determines your physical success, your physical development. So the time that you invest in studying and mapping out and doing paper practice for the traditional lock hands voicings is time very, very well spent, the return on your investment cannot be adequately expressed I just cannot. Most of all, I want you to be patient. This is a big-time jazz panel skill that will take time to digest both mentally and physically so structured 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 musical progress I guarantee you Well, I hope you have found this jazz panel skills podcast lesson exploring the traditional locked hand's voicings for the half diminish sound to be insightful and of course I hope you have found it to be very beneficial. Don't forget if you're a jazz piano skills member I will see you online Thursday evening at the jazz piano skills masterclass 8 pm Central time to discuss this podcast episode lesson exploring the traditional lock hands voicings, for the half diminished sound in greater detail, and to answer any questions 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 lead sheets to play alongs for this podcast episode and for all the podcast episodes and also be sure to 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, contribute to the various forums, and make some new jazz piano friends. As always, you can reach me by phone 972-380-8050 my office extension is 211 by email Dr. Lawrence Dr. Lawrence at jazz piano skills.com 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 traditional half diminished, locked hands voicings. Enjoy the journey, and most of all, have fun as you discover, learn, and play jazz piano
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