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ii-V-I 4 Note Left Hand Piano Voicings

Piano Lesson: 4 Note ii-V-I Left Hand Voicings

The piano voicings shown in this video are ideal to use with your left hand while soloing or while playing a melody.  None of these voicings contain the root note which is why these are ideal to use when playing with a bass player.  In this video we discuss the 'A' version of these 4 note voicings.  As mentioned, there is an easy way to think of forming the chords.  Let's start with the ii chord first:

In the key of C major, the ii chord is D minor.  With this four note voicing, we are going to add some nice sounds to the D minor chord.  Each two chord will have the following chord tones:  minor 3rd, fifth, seventh, and ninth.  For D minor, these notes will be F-A-C-E respectively.  It is a good idea to try and identify and solidify each of these chord tones in your mind in all keys.  However, if you'd like an easy way to think of how you form the ii chord, think of it as building a root position major seventh chord off of the minor third of the ii chord.  In this case, you'll notice the voicing just looks like a regular F major 7th chord.

Next, to form the V chord, all you need to do is lower the seventh of the ii chord by a half step (so you'll move the C down a halfstep to a B).  Doing this gives you a G 7 chord with the 13.  The notes from the bottom to the top are:  F, A, B and E.  The chord tones of these notes are:  seventh, ninth, third, thirteenth.

Lastly, let's form the I chord.  This will be a C major 9 chord.  The notes of this chord from the bottom to the top are:  E, G, B and E.  The chord tones of these notes are:  3rd, fifth, seventh, and ninth.  You'll notice that the C major 9 chord looks like a root position minor seventh chord starting from the third (ie, it looks like a E minor 7 chord).  In other words, if you are looking to form a Major 9th chord, simply build a root position minor seventh chord from the major third.

This may all sound a bit confusing but the key is to do this while in front of a piano.  The piano is a highly visual instrument so once you start identifying these patterns it will make forming these voicings much easier.

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