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Music - Jazz Piano II-V-I Voice Progressions in Each Key




Jazz Piano II-V-I Voicings Generator

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One of the first harmonic structures we learn when studying jazz is the ii-V-I progression. Jazz composers from the early days of jazz to present use this progression as the base of their compositions. It’s essential to know this concept both theoretically and practically in order to fully be
able to play jazz.

In the key of C Major the ii chord is Dmin7, the V chord G7 and the I chord Cmaj7. In other words, the ii chord is built on the 2nd scale degree, the V chord on the 5th scale degree and the I chord on the 1st scale degree. Notice that the one chord can be major or minor. The ii chord is most
often a minor chord and the V chord is always a dominant chord.


One reason the ii-V-I progression is so strong is that it can establish a new key very quickly. When analyzing jazz tunes we soon find out that they often contain several different key areas within a short amount of bars. The following chord progression is similar to the bridge of Cherokee. Note
that the tune changes keys five times during the 16 bars and it’s all done by the use of the ii-V-I progression.

If you plan a career as a jazz piano player it is essential that you know all the ii-V-I progressions in all the keys. You will most likely spend hours comping behind singers and saxophone players, and it is your responsibility to sound interesting and to support them. Keep in mind that sax
players at jam sessions often don’t stop after one chorus. It can take forever before they give somebody else a chance! (If the player or singer is great I don’t mind comping behind them).

There are some basic ii-V-I voicings that are essential to learn in order to create good basic piano skills. As a pianist we also use our voicing technique in our improvisation and the more secure we are, the more creative we can be in both comping and improvisation.

Practice hints:

1. Use the metronome. Keep track on the tempos and don’t proceed until you are secure in a certain tempo.
2. Practice the voicings in all the keys. Move up in 4ths, 5ths, chromatically etc. to be sure that you have the voicings secured.
3. Make sure you know each voicing. You should know where the 3rd is going and where the 7th is located. What alterations do you play on the V chord and where are they located?

Generally speaking, it’s always important to know what you are doing so analyze everything you play.