Left hand chords: We exercise “Tonic” and “II-V-I” progressions

We will learn a very useful left hand grip. We can use this grip to play many different
kinds of expanded left hand chords when playing Jazz. In this lesson we will use the grip to play
tonic chords. We will make exercises and we will mix in
other grips as well and play different 2-5-1 progressions. Here we have the grip… It’s easy to recognize. Look, it’s actually a minor pentatonic scale
with the pinkie on the root. In this case we have the G minor pentatonic
scale. We name this pentatonic hand grip “GRIP
3”… In the former two lessons we also learned
about grip 1… and grip 2… both played in “a” inversions… and “b” inversions… When mastering grip 1… grip 2… and this new grip 3 we can play almost any expanded jazz chord. So we only have to master 3 main grips in
total to play almost anything. We will learn more about the use of the three
grips in this and in future lessons. We can for example play something like this… the annotations above my left hand shows the
grips in use… This lesson is mainly about grip 3, but I will make quick summaries about grip
1 and 2 when necessary. So you don’t have to visit the former lessons
about grip 1 and 2 just yet. The lessons about the left hand chords can
be seen in any order. But if you wanna exercise and learn more about
grip 1 and 2 I have gathered all the videos about the left
hand expanded chords in a single playlist. I will paste a link in the description below. To be able to switch between the different
grips in a freely manner like this, we need to exercise the grips carefully, and that’s what we are going to do in this
lesson… We can actually derive many useful chord qualities
from this grip 3. In this lesson we will look closer at the
tonic major chords. If we for example wanna play a G tonic chord we just go up with a major third interval… and we place our pinkie on the b-note… and we make the grip 3 from this b-note the B pentatonic notes and we got this expanded super tonic major
chord… We have all the tonic qualities: the major7… the 6… and 9… Nice sound right? We don’t have to play all the notes from
the grip we can thin out the sound. For example we can leave out the ring finger
and the index finger and we got this very well known quartal grip. It all depends on how thick or thin we want
the tonic sound… Now what if we, from this g-note go down with a minor third and place our pinkie
on the e-note. Well, then we also have a tonic major chord. The G 69 chord… Well we miss the major 7 step but still the chord sounds very tonic with
its 69 expansion… So, we can place the grip 3 at two different
locations to derive the tonic expanded chord. From the keynote we can either go up a major
third… Or we can go down with a minor third… In this lesson we will exercise these two
tonic chords… And we will mix in the grip 1 and grip 2 and we will make very useful and relevant
chord progressions. In this way we will improve our left hand
skills when playing expanded jazz chords. My name is Oliver Prehn by the way and this
is a NewJazz Lesson. At Patreon or PayPal you are very welcome
to donate a dollar or two. But important: don’t feel obligated to donate
anything. All NewJazz music and teaching is freely available,
money or no money. Just by watching my lessons and maybe give
me a like you give me all the support I need. Now we will make an exercise. First we will exercise grip 3 only. Later on we will mix in the grip 1 and 2. Let’s start by playing a D tonic chord. So we can either go down with a minor third or up with a major third from the d-note. In this case we will go down with a minor
third and place our left hand pinkie on the b-note… and we play the B pentatonic keys, right? Play D in the bass and we got the tonic D
69 chord… Now, if we move the bass down with a perfect
fifth to the G note without moving the left hand it happens that we also play a tonic chord. This time the G major7 69 chord… Look, the pinkie is located a major third
above the keynote “g”. Now we will proceed this descending fifth
sequence so the bass goes down with another fifth, or up with a fourth, that’s the same, and meanwhile we simply move our entire grip
3 down with a whole tone and here got the C tonic major chord, right? Then we once more move the bass down with
a fifth and this time we let the left stay put and
we got the F tonic chord… Next, we move the left hand down with a whole
step… we let the left stay… we move the left hand a whole step… and so on…… When we are going to deep we just move the
whole thing up with an octave… So the bass moves down with a fifth, or up
with a fourth, every time… and our left hand moves down with a whole
step every second time… Right now we play tonic major chords in a
sequence of descending fifths… Doing this simple exercise we actually play
the chords in every tonality… Try to say the chord names out loud: F sharp tonic B tonic E tonic In this way you will memorize and learn the different tonalities of the
tonic chord… C tonic F tonic B flat tonic I have made a PDF document with this exercise and all the other exercises we have made in this series of videos about the left hand
chords. I will paste a link in the description below. Ok, very soon we will use our grips to play
2-5-1 progressions and we will exercise minor 7 dominant 7 tonic suspended and altered chords. So that will be fun. Now we will mix in this grip 1a and this grip 2a We learned about those two grips at the two
former lessons. You don’t have to skip to the other lessons because I will make a quick summary. Grip 1a is a stack of thirds. A minor third in the middle surrounded by
two major thirds. If we move the index finger down a half step
we got the grip 2a… So we can easily walk from grip 1a… to grip 2a… If we put on the bass like this: F… to B-flat… we got the minor 7… to dominant 7 progression. Now we just need to attach the grip 3 like
this the E-flat tonic chord… So here we actually have what we call a 2-5-1
chord progression. We go from minor 7 step II… to dominant 7 step V to the tonic step I chord. We use our grip 1a… to grip 2a… to grip 3… The bass moves down with a fifth at every
chord change… All these chords are expanded. The minor 7 is expanded with the 7th… and the 9th step… the dominant seven is expanded with the 7th… the 9th… and the 13th step… The Tonic is expanded with the major 7th… 6th… and 9th step… From now on we just name these chords: minor 7… 7… and tonic… This 2-5-1 chord progression is probably the
most used progression when playing Jazz. So it’s a really good idea to exercise this
progression carefully. Well, let’s play the 2-5-1 progression once
more: F minor 7… B-flat 7 to E-flat tonic. Now we will make a link to a 2-5-1 progression
in another tonality. We can for example substitute this E-flat
major chord… to a minor 7 chord like this… and we play grip 1a once more. We call this progression a major… to minor…
chord substitution. A very common progression when playing Jazz… Now we are ready to play 2-5-1 once more. So we move the index finger to grip 2a the
A-flat 7 chord… and then we move to grip 3… the D-flat Tonic chord… Then we make a major to minor substitution and we play grip 1a… 2a… 3… 1a… 2a… and 3… and we move up an octave… grip 1a… 2a… 3… 1… 2… 3… and so on… So right now we exercise 3 very common chord
qualities… minor 7… 7… tonic major… minor 7… 7… tonic major… In this exercise we learn to play the different
chord qualities in different tonalities… and we practice the very common 2-5-1 progression… And we practice the major to minor chord substitution… So this exercise is VERY relevant and useful… It may be difficult in the start to perform
the exercise. Then just play the progression in one tonality
only… when you are ready move to the next tonality… Rehearse only these two tonalities… Now our fingers will learn the grip progression… When you are ready move to the next tonality… do not hurry take your time in the start this is not easy… But, at some point you will suddenly realize that your fingers start to move all by themselves. The progression becomes natural, and that’s
what we want to happen… grip 1… 2… 3… 1… 2… 3… Ok, let’s use the exact same grip progression
to play other types of chords. We will play the suspended chord instead of
the minor 7 chord… We do that just by elevating the bass-note
down with a perfect fifth and we got the sus 7 9 13 chord… Let’s play the exact same grip progression
as before: Now we will just play the elevated bass note
on grip 1… grip 1… 2… 3… 1… 2… 3… You see, it’s all about reusing the same
grips to play different chord qualities. In this case we play a different bass note
on the grip 1 and we got a completely different type of
chord progression… Now we play sus… to 7… to tonic… sus… 7… tonic… But still we play the exact same grip progression: 1a… 2a… to 3… 1… 2… 3… Ok, we can do more stuff with our 1-2-3 grip
progression. Now we will alter the bass on the grip 2a
with a tritone interval. So here we have the grip 1a minor 7 chord… Then we normally proceed to grip 2a while the bass moves down with a fifth. But now we will tritone substitute that bass
note… so we got this dominant 7 altered chord… And then we proceed to the tonic chord like
this… So we got a nice stepwise movement in the
bass from minor 7… to 7 altered… to tonic… So, now our exercise sounds like this… Again we got a completely different sound but we use the exact same grip progression… grip 1a… 2a… 3… 1… 2… 3… 1… 2… 3… Ok now we just need to exercise one last thing. Until now we have only played grip 1 and 2
in the “a” inversions. In the former two lessons we also learn to
play the “b”-inversions. Grip 1a is inverted to 1b by moving the two
lower notes up with an octave like this… Grip 2a is inverted in the same manner to
grip 2b like this… Now look, 1b goes smoothly to 2b moving the
pinkie down with a half step. Now we can, just as before, play for example
F minor 7… to B-flat 7… and then we can proceed to grip 3 like this… Now we substitute the major chord with a minor
chord… and we just keep on going… Remember I have written down all this on node
sheets. I will paste a link to the PDF in the description… let’s play the sus chord on the grip 1b… And let’s tritone substitute the bass on
the grip 2b… Ok, notice that we do not invert grip 3. We don’t have to because we can locate the
tonic major chord at two different places… Here we have the E-flat tonic and again the
E-flat tonic. Our grip 3 is the same: the minor pentatonic
scale… with the pinkie on the pentatonic root… So this is not two inversions it is the same grip structure just at different
places on the keys… Now let’s try to just fool around with the
grips… try to play small solo phrases in the right
hand… In other lessons from NewJazz we learn simple techniques to improvise with
the right hand. I will paste some relevant links in the description
below… and in the future we shall of course learn
a lot more about right hand improvisation techniques… Right now the idea is to connect the different
left hand grips in a kind of random way. We just fool around. When doing this we learn to be familiar with
the grips in a different way than when making the more strict exercises. This is fun work. Now we actually try to play Music and that’s what this is all about… Well, this is not easy, I admit… Try out some few chords in the start… and when you feel for it, add some more chords… Well that’s it for now. The best and warm regards from Oliver Prehn.

Daniel Yohans

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