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Exploring Alternate Chord Voicings

Q: Do you have any thoughts on how I can explore some alternate chord voicings? I’m having a hard time going beyond the typical root position chord shapes.

A: Yes! I recently posted a Youtube video in which I work through a Steve Swallow tune (“Falling Grace”) in real time and demonstrate a great exercise for discovering new voicings. This is, in a way, a voice leading exercise with regard to the lowest note of your chord.

The idea is to start with whatever chord shape you like but then always move your root note to the nearest available chord tone of the next chord. You then have to build a voicing for that new chord off of your new root.

This is a nice way to get yourself out of your own box with regard to voicings and shapes.

Check out the video below, and follow along with this chart.

Have fun!