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Jazz Piano Lessons: Guide Tones

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What does our left
hand do while we are busily
blowing away on our solo?
Some people are actually able and
adept enough that they can solo
with two hands at the same time.
But most of us are keeping
some kinda harmony down there.
We're making little counter
melodies down there.
And we are kinda punctuating,
and enriching what we're
doing with our right hand.
Often what we're doing with our
right hand sounds really weird.
There's that.
You know but
I'm actually hearing that over.
You know it sounds like.
and if I'm not playing this bit of harmony
down here or you don't know the song
you're not getting that I'm
That I'm laying in something
against these two notes.
So we're gonna start integrating
our left hand into our playing now.
And when we finish with these lessons
we're gonna start to talk about comping
behind a soloist, what chords
you can use to get started playing
some stuff behind a soloist.
For now we're gonna deal with
the most elemental aspect
of comping with our left hand.
And that's what's called the guide tones,
which generally are just the third and
the seventh.
Those two tones are the only things you
need to tell you the basic
quality of the chord.
You don't really need, the fifth is gonna
be the same in almost all of these chords,
minor seven flat five being an exception.
But, to get the essential quality of
a chord, let the bass player have
the root and
you can just play the third and seventh.
It works equally well on a minor chord,
here's G minor.
So let's talk a little bit
about what the philosophy is with these.
We're gonna start the process of
comping with our left hand for
our solos just by finding these
guys on our F seven blues.
Here's F,
first two notes will be E flat and A.
That's a nice register forum down there.
It's gonna be below your right hand,
likely in there nice and rich in there.
Moving down a half step,
you get the B flat seven guide tones.
D and A flat.
And again part of what we like about this
is that there really is no resolution
stronger than a half step resolution.
There's something about a half
step that compels it to resolve.
To me that's just a more satisfying sound.
Then on the G minor seven
on our F seven blues,
there's a seven, there's the minor third.
Move the seven down a half step.
And you've got the guide tones for
a C seven, which are E and B flat.
there is our four chords on the blues
with their guide tones.
There is a PDF download with
just a quick whole tone
thing that you can read if you want to.
On what these guide tones are on our F
seven blues, or our F blues, rather.
So in the next lesson we're gonna do some
exercises to start integrating this.
Your left hand is gonna be something
that for the most part it deserves
a little bit of autopilot status,
more so than your right hand.
You want this stuff to fall under your
fingers so that you've got something that
you can rely on that doesn't take as much
brain space as what you're blowing on.
At this stage of the game we're gonna
get into more sophisticated stuff in
the intermediate and advanced lessons.
So let's move on to the next lesson where
we're gonna do some exercises on these.