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  1. #1

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    ?!?
    Last edited by md54; 12-24-2020 at 12:11 PM.

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    Probably big-band horn section arrangers. For them it was a practical system, not some theoretical ivory tower stuff.

    Voicing (music) - Wikipedia

  4. #3

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    There's a Jimmy Bruno video where he's asked to explain Drop 2 chords. His response, "What the hell is a Drop 2 chord? I never even heard of that."

  5. #4

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    It drops the second note from the top.

    So for a 1357 major 7 chord, a drop 2 voicing is 5137.

    There's nothing magical about them other than that they are playable.

  6. #5

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    The term confuses me too, but it makes sense if you look at it as a horn arranger. Say they are playing seventh chords in close voicing. Number the voices starting from the top. Drop 2 simply means to drop the second voice from the top by one octave. When they are playing a root position chord, the second voice is obviously the 5th of the chord. If the chord is the first inversion, the second voice is the 7th.

    Part of what makes the concept confusing is that the voices are counted from top to bottom while the chord tones are counted from root to top. I think it’s easier to visualize drop voicings on a piano keyboard than on a fretboard.

  7. #6

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    It’s top-down because the big-band arrangers were concerned with keeping a melody on top. Makes sense for them.

    On the guitar most chords have to be ‘drop’ voicings anyway just to be playable, so it doesn’t seem that obvious a terminology for the guitar. I learned all the ‘drop’ chords years before I even heard the term.

  8. #7

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    I think it comes from the practice of arranging horn sections on the fly. there’s wasn’t always a chart; sax sections got good at harmonising melodies in block chords; it’s just a skill they had. (This is back in the 40s when they had gigs.)

    It makes sense if the 2nd sax put their line down an octave etc. on sax it’s the same fingerings even.

    On guitar it’s bloody confusing.

  9. #8

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    It seems like unnecessary categorization for guitar comping.

    I just don't see what difference it makes whether you know the chord or you know both the chord and its drop-n category.

    Some have posted to the effect that it may be helpful for learning chords or constructing chords without consulting a chord book but I don't see that either.

    If I'm a newbie trying to figure out how to voice a chord, say a Gmaj7, I can simply pick a spot and find ways to play those notes.

    It doesn't help me to first figure out a close voicing and then drop 2s and 3s. Oh, and then move each note up the arpeggio on the same string, I guess.

    In fact, it seems like a convoluted way to find chords. Say I play Gmaj7 xx5432. That's the most obvious close voicing for Gmaj7 on the guitar. Now I drop 2. I now have x554x2. That's not a great way to play it, but you can move the F# and derive x5547x. If I need an F# on top of a Gmaj7 I would rarely use it. xx543x would be more likely. In solo guitar, the low D would have be considered. With a bassist, it has to be considered carefully and, probably, omitting it will often be the best way.

    How do I discover 3x443x using this approach? Looks like drop 1 in a spread voicing.

    Even the player I mentioned who said I don't play drop-2, in fact, sometimes does play drop 2. So, he's really making the decision for each chord he needs based on the sound, I suspect.

    For arranging horns, I guess I can see it. You can decide you want a certain thickness of sound that you associate with drop-n. But, in reality, everybody arranging horns that I know (including the little bit I've done) plays the horn voicings on piano and adjusts them until they sound good. Nowadays you even get playback from Sibelius in horn sounds.
    Last edited by rpjazzguitar; 12-24-2020 at 01:58 AM.

  10. #9

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    From what I’ve read, I believe one reason to drop one voice down an octave is to create a bigger sound in the overall arrangement.

  11. #10
    I learned "Chord grabs" when I started guitar. My introduction to arrangement type chords came much later and they provided me with a broader way of exhaustively cataloging all possible combinations of 4 part chords where no voices are doubled.
    I didn't need them to play and many of them were unknown to the the jazz community I had at the time, but once I realized the sonic potential of different combinations, it was exciting to know there was so much variety and there was actually a system by which they could be organized.
    Not necessary for most guitarists apparently, but when a guitarist is looking for new sounds, the drop system is like a little room in the library where somebody has covered possibilities I would've missed by counting on randomly stumbling on them.
    Drop 2 is a very small corner of a expansively large chord lexicon. As a chord melody player, knowledge of other more unusual voice arrangements allows me to get melodic facility with familiar voice leading harmony.

  12. #11

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    Musicians create variety through the reordering of and the spacing of the same note content (inversions and voicings).

    The drop voicing language is one established codification of this content.
    Don't like the name, suggest a better one.
    1357 // 1375 // 1573 // 1537 // 1735 // 1753 //
    I don't worry much about these names but I have learned a lot
    exploring these variants and their inversions on guitar and beyond.

  13. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by bako
    Musicians create variety through the reordering of and the spacing of the same note content (inversions and voicings).

    The drop voicing language is one established codification of this content.
    Don't like the name, suggest a better one.
    1357 // 1375 // 1573 // 1537 // 1735 // 1753 //
    I don't worry much about these names but I have learned a lot
    exploring these variants and their inversions on guitar and beyond.
    For me, calling them by the four digit number works. Tells me everything I need to know in fewer characters.

    If you decide to organize chords this way to learn them, you're going to spend a good deal of time looking at things that are awkward to play or don't sound great. And, when you're done, you won't have considered spread voicings, families of chords (e.g. major sounds that use 6's 9s and #11s), commonplace sequences, or tunes.

  14. #13

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    The confusion is in the using of the number 2. I didn’t know horn arrangement counts the top down voice as 1. That kinda explains it however it’s not clever. Soprano Alto Tenor Bass. =drop Alto =drop2
    At least you can visualise/hear this.

  15. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar
    For me, calling them by the four digit number works. Tells me everything I need to know in fewer characters.

    If you decide to organize chords this way to learn them, you're going to spend a good deal of time looking at things that are awkward to play or don't sound great. And, when you're done, you won't have considered spread voicings, families of chords (e.g. major sounds that use 6's 9s and #11s), commonplace sequences, or tunes.
    5 is raised to the 6 or 13 when you raise it
    3 becomes 9 when you lower it

    Chords derived from the same family of drop groupings, and their inversions, combine very neatly and voice lead very efficiently in almost canon like flow. The drop system is merely one part of an exhaustive system that does include triads over bass notes, spread clusters, chords built on 4ths, etc.
    This system can take any 4 note combination possible and voice lead them into a usable system of melodic harmony. It's merely a matter of how deep you want to go into exploring intervallic permutations. Most guitarists don't consider it worth their time to think about these possibilities, but they can be systemized and the drop system offers a consistent way in which a chord grouping can be used with inversions and smoothly voice led.
    There are complete lexicons for exploring chords and harmony this way, and pianists find them more friendly, but they can be found on guitar too.

  16. #15

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    If you decide to organize chords this way to learn them, you're going to spend a good deal of time looking at things that are awkward to play or don't sound great.
    True, but some things awkward at first become playable through exposure.
    Voicings that don't sound great unto themselves might work well in transition.

    And, when you're done, you won't have considered spread voicings, families of chords (e.g. major sounds that use 6's 9s and #11s), commonplace sequences, or tunes.
    Drop voicings can include all of which you speak. It is an organization system,
    not a magical panacea to heal every musical ailment.
    The choice to actively engage with tunes is available to anyone.
    Finding a good balance of activity to make progress towards our goals
    is an evolving challenge for many musicians.

  17. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by md54
    The confusion is in the using of the number 2. I didn’t know horn arrangement counts the top down voice as 1. That kinda explains it however it’s not clever. Soprano Alto Tenor Bass. =drop Alto =drop2
    At least you can visualise/hear this.
    When you harmonise a melody the melody is typically the top voice. Also explains why there is no drop 1. (And why sopranos can’t sing harmonies.)

    Makes sense from that perspective.

    Listen to 40s big band music and you’ll hear it. Saxes play harmonised melody by and large. Four Brothers is the classic showcase, but it’s all over old school big band section playing. As I say I don’t think they scored a lot of it.

  18. #17

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    It's a good way of voicing chords for a sax section. I used it a lot in a sax soli for a big band I play with and arrange for, and the bandleader went nuts over the chart. It usually results in the baritone sax doubling the alto melody, and he must have liked the reinforcement of the octave doubling of the melody.
    On guitar, it's meaningless, unless you're Johnny Smith..

  19. #18

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    The only time I think of the terms drop 2 or drop 3 is when I’m practicing. I found it useful to learn all the drop 2 and drop 3 voicings of each chord type on each applicable string set in a methodical way. And it’s useful to do exercises like “harmonize a major scale using drop 2 voicings.” But in everyday playing I’m just trying to grab a chord that’s in the vicinity of the melody and bass notes I want to play, and I’m not concerned with what the voicing is called.

  20. #19

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    Look at all the closed, normal voicings. Then take the second note from the top and drop it one octave! Drop 2 voicings! Or take the third note from the top and drop it one octave. Drop 3 voicings! How else would you name them instead?

    They became popular because of their sound and easy application, and especially on the guitar because they fit the instrument well.

    They are also the most common base for building chord scales and playing chord solos on the guitar, extremely useful! The following two pages might just be the most condensed study material I've ever come across, it takes months to learn to play and hear two pages!

    Drop 2 chords.  Really?-screenshot_20201224-111734-png
    Drop 2 chords.  Really?-screenshot_20201224-111800-png
    Last edited by Alter; 12-24-2020 at 05:20 AM.

  21. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alter
    Look at all the closed, normal voicings. Then take the second note from the top and drop it one octave! Drop 2 voicings! Or take the third note from the top and drop it one octave. Drop 3 voicings! How else would you name them instead?

    They became popular because of their sound and easy application, and especially on the guitar because they fit the instrument well.

    They are also the most common base for building chord scales and playing chord solos on the guitar, extremely useful! The following two pages might just be the most condensed study material I've ever come across, it takes months to learn to play and hear two pages!


    Drop 2 chords.  Really?-screenshot_20201224-111734-png
    Drop 2 chords.  Really?-screenshot_20201224-111800-png

    Because there’s no other terminology that counts down from the top In music that I know of. It’s upside down and it’s using numbers. Identical to the numbers we use to name the scale tones going up! So according to this system the drop 2nd = the drop 5th = nonsense.
    I have no problem with the concept and how useful it can be. It’s just using the number 2 is idiotically confusing for many. I come from a science background and no scientist would use this daft terminology.

  22. #21

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    All you had to do was google it, not sure why a scientist would be unable to do that when dealing with a musical term they do not understand.

  23. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by md54
    Because there’s no other terminology that counts down from the top In music that I know of.
    Numbering of the strings on a guitar?

  24. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by md54
    I come from a science background and no scientist would use this daft terminology.
    It's a question of a terminology that can exhaustively cover all 4 voice permutations. I also came from a science background and I also come from an engineering background where appreciation of the application (the SATB arrangement of voices) is the original application.
    As a scientist, I might say there are more elegant ways of listing permutations, but as an engineer there are definite (voice leading) applications that show its utility.
    You must know this one. What's the difference between a scientist and an engineer? A scientist spends his life measuring half the distance to the wall. An engineer says We've got what we need, let's use it and move on.

  25. #24

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    I come from a science background as well.

    Music is not science.

    Besides which as Jimmy blue note says; application is king. Musical physics is a rabbit hole best left to people who aren’t too concerned about actually learning to play any time soon.

  26. #25

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    And then a Technician comes along to make the thing work the way the Scientist and Engineer thought it would.
    (seriously, jimmy, could i resist that?)