Thursday, 1 November 2012

The 'Sound' One (S1) voicing used in progression

The Sound One (S1) in chord progressions, used exclusively to create that jazz piano (or guitar, or arpeggiated for horns) sound:

I once ran a showcase band at MacEwan, and was getting into some arrangements that called for this S1 sound. I was working with a very interesting go-to-kind of guy on guitar in the band. He didn't know how to voice a G7(#9#5) chord per say, but he knew how to voice dominant 13 chords. So I asked him on the spot to play a Db13 chord / G bass and low and behold we had the asked for G7(#9#5) chord voicing. He was surprised but realized that basically, he already had voicings for altered dominant chords which were virtually the same as V13 chords a tritone away. I was prompted to tell him this, because I had been working this 'Sound' thing and that was an action that came out of that study. So why do this and not stick exclusively to the 'normal' extension replacement of 7th chord tones (9 for 1, 13 for 5 etc.)? Answer: Because with the 'Sound' there is a built in system for adding color and urgency in a 7th chord in an incremental way.

This blog will deal with S1 in progression in a parallel motion with not much voice leading. Inversions and voice leading will be an open topic in future blogs on this 'Sound' Topic. The change in color from V13 to V7(#5#9) represents the most radical change in color and vertical tension change possible in a V7. Future blogs on this topic will deal with the graduations of vertical (chord) tension between these two essentials. Primarily these voicings are thought of as Left Hand Comping (rootless) chord voicings, but they can be played as in the right hand too as part of a comping framework and, they can even be a point of departure/arrival in improvised soloing.

Just using the S1 chord (Ma7[b5]) for convenience, these C major and related A minor progressions emerge and are used here as a set of examples. These examples are played in the right hand with the appropriate root in the left hand.

Sample 1) V13 —V7(#9—I

Chord symbol  G13————G7(#9#5)——  I

Function           V13————V7(#9#5)——  I

Sound/Root      FMa7(b5)/G—BMa7(b5)/G—I

S1/Root            FS1/G———  BS1/G——     I

Numeral           bVIIS1/I——   IIIS1/(1)——  I

Sample 2) V13 —bII13 — I

Chord symbol  G13———— Db13———    I

Function           V13———— bII13———    I

Sound/Root      FMa7(b5)/G—BMa7(b5)/Db—I

S1/Root            FS1/G———  BS1/Db——   I

Numeral           bVIIS1/I——   bVIIS1/(1)—   I

Sample 3) V7(#9#5) — bII13 —I

Chord symbol   G7(#9#5) —— Db13 ——— I

Function           V7(#5#9)——   bII13———  I

Sound/Root     BMa7(b5)/G—BMa7(b5)/Db—I

S1/Root            BS1/G———    BS1/Db——  I

Numeral           IIIS1/I———— bVIIS1/(1)—  I

Sample 4)  iimi11(b5) — V7(#5#9)— Imi6/9 (NB The Sound is used in all three of these voicings.

Chord symbol   Bmi11(b5)———E7(#9#5) —Ami6/9

Function           iimi11(b5)———V7(#9#5) —Imi6/9

Sound/Root     FMa7(b5)/B—G#Ma7(b5)/E—Cma7(b5)/A

S1/Root            FS1/B———    G#S1/E——  CS1/A

Numeral           bVS1/I———— IIIS1/(1)—  bIIIS1/I

Sample 5)    iimi11(b5) — bII13— Imi6/9 (NB The Sound is used in all three of these voicings.

Chord symbol   Bmi11(b5)———Bb13— — Ami6/9

Function            iimi11(b5)———bII13 ——  Imi6/9

Sound/Root     FMa7(b5)/B—AbMa7(b5)/Bb—Cma7(b5)/A

S1/Root            FS1/B———    AbS1/Bb——  CS1/A

Numeral           bVS1/I———— bVIIS1/(1)—  bIIIS1/I

I like to learn these in all keys keeping track of voice-leading line movement and inversion to inversion through these progressions.

I experimented with these progressions by sometimes reversing the V7(#5#9) with bII7(#5#9) it does make a difference. I hope you'll try it 


  1. Just a little edit there in the scored example, the 2nd chord SHOULD READ
    AbS1/Bb ...NOT... AbS1/E