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Home Blog Cheat Sheet for ii-V-I Left-Hand Piano Voicings

Cheat Sheet for ii-V-I Left-Hand Piano Voicings

One of the first things a jazz pianist should learn to do is navigate left-hand voicings.  Learning to voice chords is VERY important for pianists looking to sound like an authentic jazz musician.  Left-hand voicings are the first thing I usually touch on when my students are tackling a new tune.  If you know the left-hand voicings, then you can play the melody or an improvised solo with your right hand.  Also, you can use the left-hand voicings to make two-hand voicings using the “Expansion Technique.”  Keep reading.

Here is a pdf of ii-V-I Rootless LH Piano Voicings  in all 12 keys.  This should prove useful for teachers and students alike.  Knowing these voicings in the context of a ii-V-I progression is important for jazz pianists when they are soloing or playing the melody.

The “Expansion Technique”

These left-hand voicings can also be turned into two-hand comp voicing.  All you have to do is move the second from the bottom note up an octave in each voicing.  Play two notes in your left-hand and two notes in your right hand, and you will have some nice, stock chord voicings you can use right away to comp behind someone else’s solo.  I call this the “Expansion Technique” because it expands a closed left-hand voicing into an open two-hand comp voicing.

For example, the first two measures are left-hand voicings for a ii-V-I in C.  The second two measures use the “expansion technique” to create two-hand voicings.

 

ii-V-I Expansion Technique

This pdf  of stock left-hand voicings, when combined with the “expansion technique,” gives you the tools to be able to voice 75% of the chords you will encounter as a jazz pianist (at a functional level, that is.  You should be continually expanding your vocabulary of chords and voicings).  I give this to students who need a jump-start crash course in chord voicings.  Feel free to use the pdf and to share with others!

For further study, you can check out Left-Hand Voicings for St. Thomas and another basic handout for left-hand voicings.

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Camden Hugheshttp://camdenhughes.com/
Camden is a working jazz pianist, multi-instrumentalist, and music educator currently living near Boise, ID. He teaches music at the Idaho Arts Charter School, and is the jazz adjunct professor at Northwest Nazarene University. Check out his music at www.camdenhughesmusic.com.

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