How writing arrangement voicings... for remembering

I am very curious how you write your arrangement of a song youd like on the leadsheet.

Do you write all left hand and right hand ,or do you have any tips
writing only for example “kenny barron Eb” “so what voicings”… or the scales related to the chords for improvising … or whatever … ??

thanks for your sharing

Hi Pierre.

Great question!

This first 4 lessons in this course are designed to help students harmonise jazz standards:

We work through the 3 main chord types - major, minor, and dominant, and we explore voicings that you can use under every possible melody note that you will come across on a jazz standard. I will be making a lesson on -7b5 chords as requested by one of our students.

The trick is to memorise the top note of all the voicings you learn (the melody note). Once you do that, you can easily find a voicing for any melody note you would come across.

Then the next step:

Check out this forum post which I think you’ll find useful:

This is more of a self-guided approach to learning jazz standards, and it might put you out of your comfort zone to begin with - which is always good for your development.

Pick a new tune and try to arrange it. It might take you weeks or even months, but each one you do will then become quicker.

That is my secret to arranging.

Hope this helps.

  • H

Sorry , I must not have been clear enough. My question was more about writing voicings that we find better .
I understand the goal is to be able to do it directly on sight , and that jazz is about just the moment :champagne::champagne:.:rocket:

But when you pick some great voicing for a song and when you need to refer it for lessons , have you any tips to write voicing without doing the all note by note process on a leadsheet ?

Hi Pierre,

I still don’t completely understand your question.

Are you asking…

how you can find voicings quickly when playing a tune?

You mention ‘writing’ - what do you mean by that?

If I find a voicing that I like, i follow this process:

  1. Work it out in terms of scale degrees - every note - the numerics of the voicing
  2. I take it around all 12 keys, chromatically, around the circle of 5ths, and then at random
  3. I try to find opportunities to use this voicing in jazz standards.

After following this process, and applying it to many tunes, I then I have the voicing ‘inside of me’ - I know how it is built, how it sounds in every key, and also I know how to apply it to jazz standards in many different settings.

If this doesn’t answer your question… please let me know and I will try again to explain further.

Ultimately, the more jazz standards you can play, the better you will become at voicings.

I think Pierre means that when you discover a voicing that sounds pleasing to you during practice and you want to write it down on paper to remember it, are there any shortcuts or do you have any tips to actually writing it down quickly and efficiently…for example writing “This is a Kenny Barron voicing in Eb” or do you just have to write the entire lead sheet out with all the 9th, 11th & 13ths etc shown so you can remember it exactly…

Apologies Pierre if I’ve misunderstood your question

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Okay, I’m understanding more now.

I have personally never written any voicings down on paper - except for the lesson notation and transcriptions that I make electronically for all our students!

Immediately, when I find a voicing that I like, I memorise the scale degrees from bottom to top, and also make a special consideration of the melody note - because that will then allow me to ‘slot’ the voicing in when I see that melody note/scale degree combination in a jazz standard

I personally feel, that by doing this, it bypasses the need to write it down.

Instead, the information being on a piece of paper, it is in my head and all I need to do is look at the piano.

This may not work for everyone, it was the way I was taught and I’ve found it to be very effective.

Memorising the scale degree formula has always been key for me.

If you do write it down, I’d recommend also writing down the scale degree of each note.

Thanks Julian … :smiley: it was exactly what i was trying to explain with my limited english :slight_smile:

I can hardly ,for the moment, imagine how to memorize so much different things for a song … and just changing one voicings sometimes ruin the all phrase or make it shine , eve, respecting the formulas … long journey in perspective … :rainbow::partly_sunny::sparkles::waning_crescent_moon::cloud_with_snow::sunny: :sweat_smile:

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Much of this comes with time Pierre. It is slow process.

When I now play a jazz standard, my hands instantly gravitate to suitable voicings - almost subconsciously. I see the melody note, and my hands just find the shapes I’m hearing in my head.

If I could attribute this to one thing, it would be playing lots of different standards. Each jazz standard is like focused study, giving you new challenges to voice chords, and find suitable harmonies. Then you will soon realise that the standard share MANY similarities, and what you learn in 1 standard can be applied to many others.

At first, I needed the guidance of my teachers, but after a while, I discovered that listening to recordings of the songs is the best source of inspiration.

The more jazz standards you learn, the broader your harmonic knowledge will become.