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Four Way Close, Locked Hands And Drop


Two Voicings
Close Position

In a previous lesson (http://www.thejazzpianosite.com/jazz-piano-lessons/jazz-chord-voicings/open-


voicings/) we determined that to play in ‘close harmony’ (AKA close position) means to play all the
notes of the chord within the range of a single octave. While to play in ‘open harmony’ (AKA open
position) means to play all the same notes but over a span larger than an octave. And I stated that
playing in open position creates a richer, more balanced and more ‘open’ sound. There is,
nevertheless, a place for close position voicings in Jazz – and these are called Four Way Close,
Locked Hands and Drop Two Voicings.

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Four Way Close Runs

Harmonically, the strongest possible sounding chord progression is a V7-I Perfect Cadence (e.g. G7
to C). And a common Chord Substitution (http://www.thejazzpianosite.com/jazz-piano-lessons/jazz-
chords/chord-substitution/) for the V7 chord is a diminished chord one semitone above the root
(A♭o7 = Rootless G7♭9).

If you superimpose A♭o7 over a C6 and play all the notes in the form of a scale you get the C Bebop
Scale:

C D E F G A♭A B = C Major Scale + A♭o7 = C Bebop Scale

We can do something interesting with this. If we alternate between the two chords, changing
inversions, we can create a little run of chords where the top note moves up in steps. This creates a
repeating V7-I sequence which sounds really smooth and really strong. You can do the same with
Cm6, C7 and Cm7 chords (though not CMaj7).

A♭o7 = A♭ B D F
C6 = C E G A
Cm6 = C E♭ G A
C7 = C E G B♭
Cm7 = C E♭ G B♭

This is called Four Way Close – playing a 4 note chord in close harmony.

This is a great technique to employ when playing a song where the melody moves in steps, such as:

Blue Bossa
There will never be another you
Fly me to the Moon

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Experienced teacher and professional touring musician. jordanmorita.com

Locked Hands and Drop 2 Voicings

This technique can be modi ed in a couple of ways to get two other widely used techniques.

If you use your Left Hand to double the top melody note an octave lower this gives you a
technique called Locked Hands.
If you omit the second highest note in your Right Hand and play it with your Left Hand an
octave lower this gives you a technique called Drop 2. It’s worth mentioning a few of
points about Drop 2 Voicings:
Always drop the second highest note – regardless of what degree it is. This will
change with the inversion of the chord
Root position – second highest note = 5th
2nd inversion – second highest note = root
Drop 2 – literally means you ‘drop the second highest note’. There are also ‘Drop 3’
or ‘Drop 4’ or ‘Drop 2 & 3’ voicings – which follow the same logic, but Drop 2 is the
most widely used.

As an example, take the song Fly me to the Moon

Original Melody FWC Chord FWC Notes Lckd Hands Drop 2

Am7 C Am7 EGAC C-EGAC A-EGC

B Fo7 (E7) DFA♭B B-DFA♭B A♭-DFB

A Am7 CEGA A-CEGA G-CEA

G B♭o7 (A7) B♭D♭EG G-B♭D♭EG E-B♭D♭G

Dm7 F Dm7 ACDF F-ACDF D-ACF

G B♭o7 B♭D♭EG G-B♭D♭EG E-B♭D♭G

A Dm7 CDFA A-CDFA F-CDA

C Dm7 DFAC C-DFAC A-DFC

G7 B G7 DFGB B-DFGB G-DFB


Original Melody FWC Chord FWC Notes Lckd Hands Drop 2 
A E♭o7 (D7) CE♭G♭A A-CE♭G♭A G♭-CE♭A

G G7 BDFG G-BDFG F-BDG

F A♭o7 (G7) A♭BDF F-A♭BDF D-A♭BF

CMaj7 E C6 GACE E-GACE C-GAE

And note that the Drop 2 voicing can be applied to any song that has a run of chords to make it
sound richer and more balanced.

Have a Listen to

Any and Every George Shearing solo

Jazz Piano Chord Voicings - Four Way Close, Locked Hands & Drop 2

>> NEXT LESSON >> (/jazz-piano-lessons/jazz-chord-voicings/advanced-locked-hands)

 

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