Sunday, April 13, 2008

Chord #51 - F#min7b5(9)


Today's chord is a five-part close voicing. These types of voicings are typical on the piano but are generally challenging on the guitar because they would require wide stretches. I used an open string to make the voicing playable on the guitar.

For the musical example, I played a 3/4 comping part that arppegiates the chord using double stops. This would be playable either using hybrid picking (pick and fingers) or a totally fingerstyle approach.


rss feed
Subscribe via Email


Anonymous said...

Need your help on terminology.

Close voicing is typically described as all chord tones within an octave. Obviously your voicing for the ninth spans more than an octave yet is still a close voicing.

Is there a definition (or explanation) of close voicing that applies to all chords both regular (like sevenths) and extended (like ninths)?

Az Samad said...


Thank you for the question!

To me, this particular voicing is a close voicing because all the notes are voiced in thirds (root, b3, b5, b7, T9). (T is for Tension). You can also call it a tertial voicing (all voiced in thirds).

I could have voiced it as (root, b5, b7, T9, b3) and I would view this one as an open voicing because it's a Drop-2 voicing with an added tension.

If I voiced it all within the octave, I would probably label it as a cluster voicing for example (root, 2, b3, b5, b7)

This is how I would label the voicing types. Hope this helps!

Best wishes,

Anonymous said...

Hi again and thanks. I had to find this page again by going through my history list. I'm writing a simple glossary but extended chords have bugged me for a while.

Would [b3, b5, b7, T9, root] be a close position inversion? If there is a close position inversion starting at b3, this is the only possibility I see. I realize my question is arcane and that their may not be an answer. If it really is in close position then for a drop 2, do you drop the tension T9 or do you ignore tensions and drop the b7?

Az Samad said...

Hi again Anonymous,

You're welcome. Yes, [b3,b5,b7, T9, root] would be a close position inversion.

To me, Drop-2 or Drop-3 voicings are inherently four-note voicings. When we have a tension, it takes place of a chord tone:

For example:

T9,Tb9,T#9 replaces root
T#9,T11, replaces the third
T11, T#11,T13,Tb13 replaces the fifth

When we create a five note voicing, the convention is to double the top note of the chord an octave lower. If the note is a tension, we can also choose to put the original chord tone the tension replaced in that lower octave.

Sometimes, depending on the tension, this might create a minor ninth interval of which it's not preferred in a conventional tonal context. Still, it depends on the piece and where the voicing is used. Everything is dependent on context and stylistic considerations.

A good book to check out for voicing types is Modern Jazz Voicings by Ted Pease and Ken Pullig by Berklee Press.

Hope this helps!

Best wishes,

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your time and thanks for the references. I'll try to check them out!