Rate This Lesson
Rate from 1 (poor) to 5 (best)
Send Feedback

Jazz Chord Voicings

Mike Oppenheim (931) · [archive]
Style: Theory/Reference · Level: Advanced · Tempo: 120
Pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18

The topic of learning jazz chords can be daunting at first. The sheer number of possible string combinations and inversions renders attempts to learn and memorize chords such as 7#11, 13, min/maj 7, 6/9 nearly impossible. That is why we are approaching chord voicings in a systematic manner, building upon simple, familiar shapes, and theoretical principles from which we develop more complex chords and chord voicings.

The first thing to note are the basic parameters in which we are working. For this lesson, we are only using four-note voicings on the middle four strings. We are considering everything with a C root, though this should obviously be transposed and applied to other keys. We have two categories of chords; major-type chords (those including a major 3rd) and minor-type chords (those including a minor 3rd). For major-type chords, the C7 chord is our reference point. For minor-type chords, Cm7 is our reference. Finally, we will derive our more complex chord shapes from all four inversions of these reference point (root position, 3rd in bass, 5th in bass, 7th in bass).

Here is an index so that you can use this as a quick reference:

1. Intro/Index

2. Reference Chords

3. Major Type Chords

4. Minor Type Chords

5. Major Type Upper Partials

6. Minor Type Upper Partials

7. Major Type Alterations

8. Minor Type Alterations

9. Augmented Type Chords

10. Augmented Type Chords

11. Summary of Upper Partials

12. Summary of Alterations

13-16: Inversions

17-18: Other Chord Families