In classical harmony. V7-I has the 7th leading to the 3rd of the next chord and the 3rd leading to the 1. In certain jazz harmony the third stays on the 3rd and becomes a 7 of the next chord. In Imaj7-iii the 1 goes goes down a semitone to the 5th of the next chord. The Jazz the 3rd of Imaj7 does not become the 7th of the next but the 1. I was told that it could be enough to play Jazz accompaniments with 3-7 in RH and bass note in LH as a beginner exercise in jazz piano. This doesn't work when playing But beautiful. It begins with Gmaj7-Bm7(b5)-E7(b9)-Am9. How should I solve this problem?

  • did you try to write it for 5 voices? this would be quite easy! but I'm not sure: do you ask for a solution of only 2 voices in the r.h. or max. 4 voices? – Albrecht Hügli Oct 21 at 12:33
  • What? Bits of it almost make sense but ... what? Could you please rewrite the whole question from scratch or something. – piiperi Reinstate Monica Oct 21 at 14:11

Based strictly off of the definition of shell voicings (3rd and 7th):

(B F♯) (B F) (B F) (C G)

(the second one is for Dm6)


do you need a solution with only the 3rd and the 7th?

With 5 voices it would be quite easy:


  1. F#,F,F,E
  2. D,D,D,C
  3. B,B,B,B
  4. B,A,G#,G

  1. G,B,E,A

(l.h.: bass = root tones)

but I'm not sure about what you're asking ...


Looking for more information about "Shell voicing"

I've found out that this is concerning only the 2 voices of 7th and 3rd above the root tone in the bass:

So you may play the e.g. the fifth fall cadence E-A-D-G-C- ...(bass = root tones) and then the 3rd and 7th chromatically descending and interchanging their function (position): G#-G-F#-F-E and D-C#-C-B-Bb (as tritone dropping downstep in halftones.

  • So the shell voicings really only work if we have only 2-5-1 progressions like we have in Autumn Leaves? So in But beautiful shell voicing are bad? I cannot play it with bass+ 2 notes in RH? – Hank Oct 25 at 9:02
  • I didn't know that shell voicing is concerning the third and the seventh above the bass. music.stackexchange.com/questions/91181/… – Albrecht Hügli Nov 4 at 14:08

...In certain jazz harmony the third stays on the 3rd and becomes a 7 of the next chord...

That voice leading happens on descending fifth progressions. Part of the progression given in the question is descending fifths - ...Bm7b5-E7b9-Am9 - so that part should be straight forward to apply well known voicings.

One way to play shells is root and seventh or root and third with the other chord tones coming from an improvised line in the other piano hand or another player. In descending fifth progressions the two shell types just alternate.

That leaves the question of how to handle the GM7 Bm7b5 change. If you follow the alternating shell types, it seems to work like the Mark Levine examples here: https://music.stackexchange.com/a/91188/23919.

Two examples alternating the shell types, yellow highlights the descending fifth part of the progression:

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