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Transcribing jazz voicings

Tim Wood

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I was wondering if anyone could give advice with transcribing complex jazz voicings- I love the way Chick Corea voices his chords on an all time favourite of mine- But Beautiful.



I'm not really bothered about learning his melodic lines, but more his chords in the introduction.


They are just the kind of chords that I want to play, but transcribing them is so hard. I assume he uses lots of upper structures.


Many Thanks for any help given!!

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Lot's to grab there and wonder "how'd he come up with that?!"


Like the opening chord. To see where he might have came up with it play.



RH- Bb Db F# A (or sorta F#/C w/out that melody tone) TO


LH- G D F#



He's doin' something like the melody Up to that A and then hittin' the G Followed by Spelling that F# triad voiced open with the F# on top = C# A# F#

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Thanks so much! It sounds incredible when I play it,


How would you label that chord?!! On the lead sheet in the first bar, it's a Gmaj7, but haven't got a clue how Chick came up with that.


Do you have any advice on how you came to know the voicing for the chord. I'm not too bad at finding the top and bottom note, but it's the notes in between. I suppose having a lead sheet will help though he may use a few different substitute chords.


I know Chick's voicings aren't a great place to start, but I'm obsessed with them kind of voicings! They just seem so elusive and hard to transcribe.

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I imagine he might think of it simply as Gdim resolving almost immediately to Gmaj9. This is one of the common devices he (and many others) use to add some spice in a similar situation often when the melody note is the Major 7th or the 9th (e.g the first note after the pickup in these standards - 'People'(9th), in 'Misty'(Maj7th), 'Tenderly'(Maj7th) and 'But Beautiful' (9th).


I have done one of my tutorials that tries to catch just a hint of the spirit of Chick's version of 'But Beautiful' on his solo piano "Standards' CD which is similar in many ways to the 1st chorus of this youtube video. Even though I didn't use this device on my version, you might get something from watching this Tim - it is in the same key.



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Yeah, that was nice Doug.


Tim, Chick played some nice things there, but I think his voicings are not that far from a standard rendition.


I did a quick take of just the head, not realizing Doug had posted his version already. So I guess I'll go ahead and put this up too, since I just did it in the same key. :)



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Thanks Roger.

SK, do you think then I would be able to follow Chick's intro from the lead sheet which indicates the basic harmonies?

Yes, overall, I'd think so. I listened to the Chick version once through - he did a few different things, like a Bb sus (instead of E7) going down chromatically to the A sus (which may be an A7+11 on a lead sheet).


And he veered away from the tune for a moment right before the last A section. Trying to transcribe all that may be more trouble than its worth. I've never been a big fan of transcribing, but there are plenty of traditional things he does in there that are worth knowing.

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