Below is a chart I made of the standard Evans A and B forms (which I have only seen in method books using major key harmony) and my own possibilities for voicings for half-diminished and tritone substitution chords. Are my voicings OK? Are there other standard fingerings I should use?

Note: in the minor key chart I used the flat sign for the 5th and 6th chord tones, but not for the 3rd and 7th where they are assumed to be minor intervals.


Major Keys --------------------------------------------


ii m9   3 5 7 9     7 9 3 5
 V 9    7 9 3 6     3 6 7 9
 I Δ9   3 5 6 2     6 2 3 5

Minor Keys --------------------------------------------


ii m7♭5 3 ♭5 7 1    7 1 3 ♭5
 V 7♭9  7 ♭9 3 ♭6   3 ♭6 7 ♭9
 i m9   3 5 7 9     7 9 3 5

Tritone substitution for V7 ---------------------------


♭II 7♭5 3 ♭5 7 1    7 1 3 ♭5

2 Answers 2


You seem to favour voicings based on stacked thirds. The book:

Frank Mantooth Jazz Piano Voicings

says to avoid stacked thirds in favour of voicings based on descending fourths.

This descending fourths structure is exactly the chord shape used by Bill Evans in his performance of 'So What' with Miles Davis.

I've had a printed copy of the book on my piano music stand for years. The chord spellings are brilliant and systematic and they sound proper. Third-based voicings can sound twee.

Two of its chapters are devoted to diminished chord spellings and tritone substitution respectively.

  • 2
    I don't favor those voicings. It's just that the Evans voicings seem to be a staple of jazz so I want to study them. My question is if there are Evans voicings for minor and the tritone substitute. But I appreciate the resource about harmony in fourths. Sep 12, 2018 at 18:09
  • The idea of Evans voicings is generally to bring out the dissonances peculiar to jazz chords more - and in particular there are usually some 2nds moved inside a 4th instead of being put outside as a 9th. (I'm not usually a jazz musician and never learned the details, but got the general idea.) Sep 20, 2018 at 19:22

From Jerry Coker's Jazz Keyboard:

Section 2, the rootless II-V-I

First to establish Coker's major forms with other "standard" voicings...

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Coker's minor forms are...

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For some reason Coker doesn't show any tritone substitutions in section 2 of the booklet. He shows an example in the previous section about rootless voicings for a 12 bar blues where a G7 in bar 4 is substituted with a Db7. He uses an enharmonic spelling to maintain the same spelling for the 3 and 7 between the G7 and Db7 which I find hard to read in staff notation (the 9th of Db7 is spelled D# rather than Eb!) Regardless, the substitutions are basically the same voicings as the V7 in II-V-I of section 2...

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...rather than ♭II 7♭5 it seems that ♭II 7♯5♯9 would be Coker's tritone substitution in minor.

  • Feels silly answering my own question, but these are the "standard" rootless voicings I am interested in. Coker covers II-V-I in major and minor, and he has a section specifically about these voicings for 12 bar blues. I wish I had found this book sooner. Oct 24, 2019 at 22:06

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