Question: (from Sarah)
How do you drop and raise a note?
Answer: (great question!)
Chords can be voiced - that is, they can be arranged on a keyboard in many different ways. Two general types of voicings are open voicings, in which the notes re spread apart with fairly large distances between them, and close voicings, in which the notes are situated in close proximity.
Example of "open":
CG/EBE = Cmaj7
Example of "close":
CG/BCEG = Cmaj7
Good keyboard arrangements make use of both types. They can be used for variety, or even for special effects; it can be quite dramatic when the chords suddenly "spread out" beneath a tune, especially if the melody is rising and the effect becomes one of opposite motions... the top going higher, the bottom going lower, and the middle filling out!
BC/ EG = Cmaj7
AC/ FC = F
GCD/ GD = Gsus
FAC/ GCE = Fmaj7
One method that big band arrangers use to change from a close - to an open - voicing is the "drop" technique. Here's how it works. Start with a closely-voiced chord.
B/CEGB = Cmaj7
Now, take one of the pitches on top - say, the one right below the melody - and drop it down an octave.
Use the same process with another pitch!
If you practice this method of dropping notes (or raising notes) from one octave to another, your voicings will take on new sounds... and you will become a more versatile player.
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