Rootless voicings

(23 posts)
  1. Neither
    Member

    I've got a question to you all :
    How do you elaborate your rootless voicings in a tonal context (All the things you are, or Night and Day for examples) for each kind of chords ?

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  2. Hey Neither,

    I saw this and thought of your question. Check out the section on the left labeled "Rootless voicings"

    http://users.zoominternet.net/~joe.bianco/251-tutor/major-rootless/drop2-4321.html?inv=1&dct=7b5&iit=IIm7

    Magical rainbow ponies
  3. Gesture
    Member

    I found that when you voice-lead through tunes like that you will find rootless voicings because you might be on an area on the fretboard where you can't play a root in the bass. If you do this on each stringset you'll come up with cool stuff.
    I suppose you're saying to omit the root all together...
    I wouldn't be worried by leaving out the root ALL the time myself I guess. As long as there's a melody happening I would be fine with it.

  4. Neither
    Member

    Thanks for your answers.
    My question wasn't clear. I wanted to ask you how you choose your notes and their arrangement for your 3 and 4 notes stock voicings, for a IMAJ7, for a II-7, a III-7, a IV...etc. and IIm7b5, I- or IV-...etc. Do you have any rules ?
    By rootless voicings, I mean a way of playing that emulate a piano comping rootless voicings with a bass player. It means most of the time playing a note on the bottom of the voicing that is not the root, but sometime, for voice leading or for fingering difficulties, it's best to have the root on the bottom. And the root can be on the top (or the inner voices).

  5. jazzbum
    Member

    Here is a simple way to begin exploring rootless voicings, that might be a good start. Maybe you've done it already but try this:

    Play a stock voicing you know, and move the root up a whole step so you have a 9th, that could be a good way to access some new sounds.

    The other thing I'd recommend is to comp through tunes playing only the 3rds and 7ths of each chord. Stick to the middle 2 strings at first (d and g), then add notes on top. That way you have pared the material down enough so you can be aware of the voice leading as well as the function of each note in the chord.

    Hopefully that helps, or isn't too simplistic, for me simpler has always been better.

  6. Neither
    Member

    Yes,
    the voicings with the 3rd & 7th on the bottom are the voicings that are the most evident when you begin with this kind of things. But first, how do you chose the notes above this guide-tones for a VI-7, for a III-7, a II-7 etc ? And with this you've got too few voicings to make interesting voice leading on any tonal standard. Second, I wanted to ask you about the other voicings (with note(s) between the 3rd & 7th, or below, or with the 3rd and no 7th, or with the 7th and no 3rd, or without any of this 2 notes...). I think of a youtube video where Kurt speaks of the way he plays voicings. He plays Body & Soul and give an exemple of his stock voicings on an Eb-7 chord. I have to say I know the way Mick Goodrick, or Ben Monder explored the possible 4 note voicings on a given scale, and Brett Willmott's book too.

    Lets take an exemple. The first chord of ATTYA, F-7 (VI-7).
    So first, you've got the 3rd on the bottom, then the 7th, then the root, then the 5th.
    From the lowest note to the highest :
    b3, b7, R, 5
    It's just a F-7, Drop2 (D2), 1rst inversion. It's a 7th chord.
    Then I can replace the 5th with the 11th :
    b3, b7, R, 4
    It's a Bb7sus4, (D2), last inversion. It's a 4-part 4th (4P4) chord.
    Then I can replace the root with the 9th :
    b3, b7, 9, 5
    It's an AbMaj7, (D2), Root position. 7th chord
    Then I can replace the root with the 9th and the 5th with the 11th :
    b3, b7, 9, 4
    It's an AbMaj7sus2=AbMaj9no3=Ebadd4=Eb/Ab, (D2), 1rst inversion (for Ab...) . TBI
    In close position (4 way close voicing (4WC)), you've got this interesting one : b3, 4, b7, 9.

    And you've got the other inversions of each of this voicings, and some close positions, when possible. Then Drop 3 etc.

    How do you relate to this chords, how do you find them on the neck (for ex., do you think AbMaj7 for an F-9 or do you think "a Maj7 chord a b3 above F", or do you see on the neck b3, b7, 9, 5 and the other inversions - 5, 9, b3, b7 ; b7, b3, 5, 9 ; and the more dissonant for the b9 interval 9, 5, b7, b3 - or anything else ?) when you are working a standard ?
    And how do you consider an inversion is valuable ?

    Then, for the F-7, you can have :
    b3, 5, b7, 4 and the inversions 4, b7, b3, 5 ; 5, b3, 4, b7 ; b7, 4, 5, b3.
    This is an Abadd9=Ab/Bb=C-7#5=C-7addb6no5 (a C-7 with the 5th replaced with the b6), (D2), TBNII.
    In close position you've got 4, 5, b7, b3 ; 5, b7, b3, 4 and b7, b3, 4, 5.

    you can play a simple F-add9 (no 7th in this voicing)
    you can play a simple F-7sus4 (no 3rd)
    you can play F-9no5 (that's a Spread Cluster), AbMaj9no5, C-7, C-7sus4...

    But do you use the b13 as a valuable extension ? the 13 ?
    On a III-7, do you use a b9, a b13, a 9, a 13 ?
    When you don't have one or the two guide-tone in your voicing, are there any combination you avoid, or some notes you avoid ?

  7. Nathan078
    Member

    This is a little bit more outside but its really cool. Ok so lets take the C major scale. Now think of C=1 D=2 E=3 F=4 G=5 A=6 B=7. Choose a random set of three or four numbers, lets do four for now. So I picked 5361, so we would have GEAC. Now voice these notes on the guitar. You could now use this group of notes for any chord in C, however, depending on how tonal you want it to sound, you could try and match it to a chord. Lets just call this the V chord in C. Now take these notes and your voicing and run it through the C major scale. So the next voicing when you move these notes up diatonically would be the vi chord, and then the next would be the vii chords, and so on.... Sort of an Allan Holdsworth style idea, but you could get so rootless voicings that are really personal this way. Good luck on your rootless adventures!

  8. Gesture
    Member

    It's fun and cool to mess with chords like you're doing above. For me it's pretty simple though.
    I just went trough all the voicings you wrote down and with an exception or 2 I know all those chords. I really just see them as sounds and shapes on the fretboard when I'm playing and most of the combinations that sound good I have memorized.

    When learning one or more new chords I also like to mess around with chord degrees and find the inversions on the fretboard for new sounds. Or maybe harmonize them through a scale and figure out what other permutations of the chord sound like (IE d2,d3, etc.)
    But when it comes down to a playing situation I just try to be interesting rhythmically and get a melody going in the top. If you got a nice thing going there most of the time it doesn't even matter what notes you play in the lower registers.

    Exercises like Kurts where you play a new chord each beat and writing chord etudes for tunes helped me greatly.

  9. Neither
    Member

    Thanks for your answers,
    So Nathan078, you rely to this voicings thinking of degrees on a scale (the degree depends of the lowest note you play in your voicing).
    And Gesture, you see the shapes on the neck (I suppose you see the root implied by your voicing on the neck) and thanks for your other advices.
    So If I understand the rules you suggest between the lines :
    Nathan078 : the voicing is diatonic to the scale (but what scale for this F-7, for exemple ?). The voicing you suggested is a C-7 Drop3 2nd inversion.
    Gesture : you try to get a melody going in the top but you don't mind of the notes you play in the lower registers.

    So, an exemple of the application of this 2 rules combined (the voicings are diatonic to the Ab scale on this VI-7 II-7 V7 IMaj7 IVMaj7, and I tried to make a melody on the top), on the first bars of ATTYA (1 voicing per measure) :

    TAB Low to high
    F-7 : X X 11 12 13 11
    Bb-7 : X X 10 12 11 13
    Eb7 : X X 10 10 9 9
    AbMaj7 : X X 11 10 8 11
    DbMaj7 : X X 8 12 9 8

    Is it ok for you or not and why ?

  10. Gesture
    Member

    Yes I see the shapes in relation to the root.

    That sounds really hip in itself. It might be a little too 'out' for comping..
    For example: the 4th in a major chord is technically an avoid note so note sure about the voicing you wrote down over the Abmaj7 chord.

    I came up with this:
    Fm:X X 10 13 11 11
    Bbm: X X 8 10 9 11
    Eb7: X X 10 9 8 9
    Abmaj7: X X 10 8 11 8
    Dbmaj7: X X 11 8 9 8
    and then
    G7: X X 9 8 6 6
    Cmaj7: X X 10 7 8 7

  11. patfarlow
    Member

    litterally play any notes you want
    bam rootless voicing

    not kidding

  12. Neither
    Member

    Yes, so you have other rules ! That's what I want to know. Why is it a little too out for comping ?
    And the b13 on a VI-7 (VI-7 has a function of tonic, it can be seen has a substitution of IMaj7, the b13 is the same note as your 4th on Abmaj7) ?
    And the 13 on a II-7 ?
    And the 4th on Eb7 (here it could be seen as a substitution : it sounds like Eb13sus4, a V7sus4) ?
    No one of your voicings contains this notes.

    So on a IMaj7 you avoid the 4th. And on a III-7 ? on the other degrees ?

    I noticed you implied E diminished on Eb7 and G alt, and 2X the 3rd on AbMaj7.

  13. Neither
    Member

    PatFarlow,
    Have I offended someone ?
    I just try to understand how other people play and how they understand what they play.
    "Play any note you want" is a little bit confusing when you try to work this kind of things.

  14. patfarlow
    Member

    im just trying to help by offering a different approach from the technical ones youve been reading.
    eventually you start to see that you can do anything you want and then reverse engineer it.

    for example you can read the mark levine book and learn that playing a II upper structure ( DF#A over C) is a common thing to do.

    then you can go out and just try playing any triad you like over a static C.

    that was my intention when saying play any note you want.

  15. Neither
    Member

    And for comping on a standard ?

  16. patfarlow
    Member

    music is subjective. what i like you may not like.

    you could sub a Em7 for a CMAJ7 or go more out there like lenny breau and play DGC for a C Substitution. Lenny would just take a shape and move it around relative to a single static root note to find chords he liked. thats one guitar centric way to view chords. it worked for him, try it out sometime.

    thats my point you can only memorize so many "tricks" then you have to just go for it and figure out how this whole music thing functions for you personally.

  17. Gesture
    Member

    I agree with patfarlow.

    When I came up with the chords I wasn't too bothered by which chord degrees go where. I was just experimenting with your chords, moved around some notes and came up with something new that sounded good to me.

    I liked the chords you suggested too. With too 'out' for comping I meant that the chords seem to imply something harmonically that strays from the actual chords. Although it is 'correct' and it might sound really hip in a solo context.
    Just my idea, i'm not a very advanced player and other people probably see it differently.

  18. Neither
    Member

    I agree with you. I'm ok with that.
    DGC sound on C is just a Csus2. it' not really a substitution. It's like if you play a C or a C6 or a C6/9, it's just a possible expression of a CMaj7. If you play CFA over D, then DbFB over G, then DGC over C, you really hear the tonal function of each chord of this II V I.
    In the progression I wrote on the beginning of ATTYA, I don't hear the changes and it was made intentionally. Won't you say its an imposition of a "modal thing" on a tonal music or that it sounds a little bit out ?
    Taking a shape and moving it on a static root. I made it for a lot of voicings. But what do you do with the sounds you like ? How do you use them when you've got to work a standard you never heard before, you only have the lead sheet and next week you have to comp in a quartet ?
    For an example, I like the sound of your quartal voicing a half step higher on C. That's my taste. I've got a subjective appreciation on a lot of other voicings. But imagine I have to play this standard next week and I'd like to use this discovering so I have to figure where I can play this quartal voicing on all the chords I have to express. So I have to discriminate the voicings I discover, to name them or see what chords they can figure, no ?
    Would you play your voicing (DGC over C) transposed on the first chord of ATTYA (GCF over F), on the second (CFBb over Bb) ?

  19. patfarlow
    Member

    ok firstly saying DGC is a substitution is a semantics concept that i dont really want to get into.

    secondly, i think your question is about using a the different shapes on all the things you are.
    my answer is try some other shapes like the C F# B & C E A shapes as well. you can play limitless new voicings with those 3 shapes only.

  20. jazznan
    Member

    chords are just individual melodies on different strings, keys...

  21. Nathan078
    Member

    Sorry to chime in late here, but with the approach I stated, it depends on what the bass player plays. I just said it was the V chord, it could be any chord in C. Or you could put a non-diatonic note under it. Kurt does this alot. Like for the GEAC I stated earlier, if you put Eb under it and though of it as an altered dominate G=#9 E=b9 A=b5 C=13 you could move it up the E melodic minor scale and find new voicings that way, though I would change the C to a B so it would be a #5 rather than a 13; it could fit in the melodic minor scale better as well. Hope this helps anyone.

  22. Nathan078
    Member

    Also, dont think of these groups as a chord, which they could be. Think of it as a cluster of notes.

  23. soundhead
    Member

    There's been some great stuff posted in this thread, thanks guys!


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