Duncan Haynes

PIANO: Voicings & comping

• This is a collection of assorted resources - not a complete, step-by-step system!
• Free for personal use (if you share please attribute me).
• The key is to explore & internalise the ideas before applying them to your instrument.
• Any questions or comments welcome. Contact me by email or on Facebook.

I have many students ask me to show them some hip voicings, or in fact they tend to show me theirs! But generally they haven't taken the time to understand the sound as a whole, the make-up of the intervals, the different possible effects of tessitura, and more than likely cannot use this hip voicing in more than a couple of keys and on one certain chord type.

This means they are wasting a precious resource. And further, if it must be shoe-horned into the music, the rest of the music will suffer - it won't be a natural expression of the moment.

It is essential to start from the melody, the bass movement & guide tones, adding complexity piece by piece so that you hear every single note in a voicing, and thus move from one chord to another, not only hearing the melody of the upper line, but with effective interior voice-leading and control over the density, no matter what the style.


DROP-2 CYCLE   From Bert Ligon these are Drop-2 + bass, 5-note voicings, through a diatonic
     cycle:  Drop 2 Cycle

ROOTLESS VOICINGS   Standard 3-5-7-9 and 7-9-10-13 voicings applied to Stella by Starlight:    Rootless voicings

DOMINANT 7THS   From guide tones to 6-note chords in one page!    Dominant 7ths

HARMONISED BEBOP SCALES   4-way close voicings through major and dominant bebop
    scales: ;  Harmonised bebop scales

DROP-2 EXERCISE   Applying drop-2 chords to Polkadots and Moonbeams:
    Polkadots Drop-2

SO WHAT VOICINGS   A brief explanation of the classic voicing made famous by Bill Evans
     [example on Maiden Voyage]:  So What voicings

WALTER BISHOP JR   My transcription of this video where Walter Bishop Jr applies his voicing
    concepts to On Green Dolphin St:  Walter Bishop Jr

REHARMONISATION   Applying some reharmonisation principles to the melody of I Should
:  I Should Care reharmonisation


Will post some material here once I have it tidied up enough for public consumption ... soon!

Improve your practice

First principles

Working forwards

Working backwards

Architecture of tunes & solos

Voicings & comping

Also on the way is a book on my concept the


This approach visualises harmony as a journey through a landscape defined by the specific harmonic elements of the music.

Because we don't experience music vertically - in slices of time - but as horizontal through time, that is to say as a narrative in which temporal context gives meaning to what came before and what we expect to follow, it makes no sense to think of music as vertical when we perform it.

In this concept I will do away with vertical notions such as substitution considering instead the infinite possibilities of journeying through the same harmonic terrain.