For this guide we need to be able to:
- Play major, minor, diminished and augmented triads (C,Cm,Co,C+)
- Play the inversions (Root position, 1st, 2nd inversion) of the triads
Four note chords can be confusing to learn but luckily there is a very easy way to learn to play them by just using the regular triads (major, minor, diminished and augmented).
- Play the root of the chord with your left hand (in octaves if possible)
- (Over dominant 7th chords add a b7 to the root in your left hand)
- Play a specific triad in the right hand
- The triad depends on the quality (type) of chord in question
- When changing chords find the inversion of the triad that has the least amount of movement (avoid “jumping” between chords)
- Practice moving the triads both upwards and downwards (use your ears to stay in the right register)
- Practice the method over common chord pairs and progressions
Below is a table showing all the common four note chords (Cmaj7, Cmin7, C7, Cø7, Co7, CmMaj7, C7b9, C7alt, C7sus) and how they are voiced using this method. All examples are in C major and are to be transposed in the keys needed.
(Note: The only chord this method does not work well on is the 6/9 chord (C6/9 / Cm6/9). For now you can use the voicing for Cmaj7 and Cm7/CmMaj7 for those. Also the dominant chords (C7,C7b9,C7alt,C7sus) would sound better if a b7 (Bb) is added in the left hand along with the root. The C7#9 chord is not part of this method but can be played as an upper structure which is a similar but still different approach. LH: C-E-Bb RH: Eb major (1st inversion) triad. I have not added this to the table since it is a different approach.)
|Chord||Root||Triad Based On||Triad|
(c) 2019 Sibil Yanev