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Comping Using 4 note "Drop-2" Chords

Chris PetersonChris Peterson Santa Monica, CANew
edited May 2007 in Gypsy Rhythm Posts: 50
I have been going through the comping section (by far the most fun section!) and I have been thinking about your section on chord scales. You write that Django often used 3 and 4 note voicings on the upper strings. The three note voicings seem to be Drop 2 voicings where you omit the third note while the full 4 note voicings are just standard Drop 2 voicings.

Is there a reason to prefer the 3 note or 4 note over the other? What context would you play either one? If there is no real preference of one over the other, I think I'll just play the 4 note drop 2s that Berklee drilled into me while I start to work on the 3 note voicings.

I don't know how common the "Drop" terminology is, so here is a brief explanation.

A Cmaj6 in a "closed position" would be (top to bottom)

A
G
E
C

A "drop two" voicing is where you take the second highest note and drop it down an octave making:

A
E
C
G

Drop 3 would be:
A
G
C
E

Drop 2 and 4 would be

A
E
G
C

I can answer any questions on Drop voicings if I haven't been clear.

Thanks,
Chris
Work on the <A HREF="http://www.petersonmusic.com/wiki">Gypsy Jazz Fake Book</A>.No finale experience necessary.

Comments

  • MichaelHorowitzMichaelHorowitz SeattleAdministrator
    Posts: 5,827
    Hi Chris,

    Good question!

    The use of the 3 and 4 note voicings is all about context. Unfortunately the transcriptions in Vol.1 don't really have any examples of three note voicings in use other then m.91-92 of Out of Nowhere. The transcriptions for the vol.2, and vol.3 have more three note voicing stuff. Especially in the Blues and Nuages transcriptions. Also, these voicings are used extensively in the Unaccompanied Django book.

    One thing I've learned from doing these books is that Django's was a master of making very sophisticated music out something that is very simple. The less notes you use in a chord, the more ways that chord can function. So when you're using triads, they're physically simple, but can be musically very sophisticated.

    But in general, I'd say the 4 note voicings are used more for comping then 3 note voicings. So if you only play rhythm, knowledge of the three note voicings won't be as useful. However, the three note voicings are the basis for endless variations of sweep picking tricks (like example 3.2 in Gypsy Picking), Django's solo pieces, and some comping ideas

    A lot of it just about efficiency....if you're doing some fast comping stuff where your moving chords every beat, or even faster, you'll need to use the efficient voicings, be they 3 or 4. Often it's a mix of both.

    'm
  • Chris PetersonChris Peterson Santa Monica, CANew
    Posts: 50
    As for efficiency, I would say that I am personally far more efficient on the 4 note voicings than on 3, mainly because I have studied them so much.

    I must say that I am happy that something from my past musical experiences will help me with Gypsy Jazz. I had to relearn how to pick, move away from my flat four big band roots and learn to play with my thumb. Finally there is something that I can transfer over easily!

    As for those 3 note voicings used in the Unaccompanied Django book, looks like I'll have to pick that book up as well....

    Chris
    Work on the <A HREF="http://www.petersonmusic.com/wiki">Gypsy Jazz Fake Book</A>.No finale experience necessary.
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