Is there a way out of voicing confusion?

Hi community,

I am completely lost now in all these voicing options available to piano playing. Is there any overall concept or map available somewhere to get a complete overview when to use which option of voicing?

A good start and a way out of my confusion I found at PianoGroove are these lessons in the intermediate jazz lessons

But I still think I am missing out something not having a complete overall overview of voicing options available.

Thank you for any hints.

The number of voicings is practically unlimited, so I guess you’re always learning new ones (slowly as you play more tunes). The 3 and 7 are the important ones and the other notes fill things up, so that gives you too much freedom perhaps. Limiting yourself helps, practice 137 chords, type A and B variations. That would be the basis; in Hayden’s videos you can see him spreading out most chords quite a bit. So for example 1 and 7 in the left hand, 3 in the right plus the melody note (depending on the chord).

Tunes will implicitly teach you some voicings, as you start thinking of combinations of chord and melody note. These have patterns in themselves (which I read little about really), like a So What being usable when you see a minor chord with a 5th in the melody (inversions give more options here).

For myself, I try to practice the basics (not go overboard with all the options) and spread my wings a little when following the arrangements. I actually started an Excel sheet where I mix chords and notes, e.g. Min7+5th=So What, or variations with upper structures. But there a lot and inversions make it possible to have more melody variants. For example a triad as upper structure has three inversions which each offer a possibility for the melody note.


Hi @Ruud,

Thank you very much for your reply and your insights of own experience. I see…voicings are a never ending story then…I like your idea on having an Excel sheet.
I am going to discover new voicings in more detail now and try not to worry about it too much.

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Hi @Prisca,

I might suggest that one way to choose chord voicings is whatever produces the least movement (fewest notes having to change from the previous chord). It does tend to make the changes easier to play. And it generally sounds nicer than a change with a lot of skips. Of course other factors (like the notes of the melody or bass line) might also have an impact. But minimal movement is a start!


Hi @david41

Thank you for your reply and your view on chord voicings. It does make sense.

An aditional note: another great explanation from my point of view in regards to my vocing confusion was published by @Jovino in the following live seminar

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