How Do You Drop and Raise A Note?



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.

You might be interested in what I call the Hear and Play Theory Book. It's like a huge music resource for your bookshelf that you can refer to often. You'll need a pencil to fill in the answers. Visit, 300 page Piano By Ear Home Study Course

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