If you could only play two notes to suggest the harmony, which ones would you choose? How can you choose the right night to imply the right harmony without making it ambiguous?
Previously, we have talked about making harmonic accompaniment ambiguous by playing only octaves and fifths. What if we want to do the opposite.
Well, instead of the fifth, what other notes of the chord impact its quality? That would be the third (telling us if it is major of minor), the seventh (tell us what kind of seventh chord it is), and sixth (for extra color).
Some people have been known to call this “shell voicing” when you limit your harmonic voicings down to two notes: the root/bass and a tone that tells us the quality of the chord.
NOTE: if the chord was diminished, playing the flat fifth would be more of a priority, but not when it is a perfect fifth.
Try it out. When building a bass line, an accompaniment, or whatever, challenge yourself by only playing 2 notes.
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