27 votes
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What's an "add" chord?

The 'add' modifier is used if a note above the 7th is added to a triad, and if the lower tensions are not part of the chord. That's why there's a difference between a C9 and a C(add9) chord. The first ...
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24 votes
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Is there a specific term to denote playing a wide chord on a piano?

In general, chords with the notes closer together are called closed voicings, while chords with the notes farther apart are called open voicings. For simple triad chords like the ones you mentioned, a ...
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19 votes
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"Only open voicing below middle C!" Really?

There are acoustical reasons for not wanting close voicing in the lower register; in short, the upper harmonics muddy each other up and fog up the sound. But in my experience, C4 is a really high ...
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19 votes
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What does the chord notation X/Y ("slash chord") mean?

TL;DR For pianists, play the X chord with the right hand and the Y bass note with the left hand. For guitar/bass bands: guitarist plays the X chord and bassist plays the Y bass note. (With thanks to @...
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17 votes
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How do you voice extended chords?

Anything over a 7th must contain that 7th, be it major 7th or minor (b) seventh. It's been well established that the 5th (perfect) can be dispensed with, as its sound is contained in the root note. ...
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15 votes

Voicing in the Finale of Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 6 "Pathétique"

In the 19th century it was standard to have the first and second violins on opposite sides (i.e. the second violins would sit where the cellos now normally sit). This kind of voicing would give a sort ...
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15 votes

E7 chord at 5th fret missing a B note

In general, when you only have a limited amount of voices and you need to leave out a note in a chord, the Perfect 5th is the first to go. A Perfect 5th doesn't typically add a lot of color to a chord ...
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13 votes
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What's the difference in sound between the shell voicing of a minor 7th chord vs a half diminished 7th chord?

You cannot omit an altered fifth. In other words, you cannot omit the b5 from either a half-diminished chord or a diminished chord, or the #5 from an augmented chord. The omission of the 5th only ...
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13 votes

Voicing in the Finale of Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 6 "Pathétique"

I discuss this conundrum in my book 'Musical Illusions and Phantom Words' (Oxford University Press, 2019). Apparently Artur Nikisch tried to persuade Tchaikovsky to amend his scoring. There's no ...
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Chord voicings used by backup trios in Motown girl groups?

This vocal style comes from the American traditions of close harmony. As popular music (and the radio) came into being in the 20th century, it took influence from the styles of its times, just as any ...
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11 votes
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13 Chord Voicing Without Root, 3rd or 5th

You're still holding the C root at the bottom, so calling it a C chord of some sort is justified. You eventually also hold E (not F), B flat, D, and A at the fermata signs, so calling it a C13 chord (...
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10 votes
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Difference between Polychords and Extended chords

The polychords use a fraction for a symbol, like: , so as to distinguish from the slash chords. From what I have understood, the point of the polychords is to help the player read and play faster. It ...
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What should one keep in mind when writing the Neapolitan 6th chord in a chord progression?

Yes, you generally double the 3rd of the chord. It's the chord note that is easier to resolve. Let's take this example in C major, a simple I bii V I: You can see that both the neapolitan chord and V ...
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How to apply Barry Harris 6th diminished voicings and maintain chord functions?

Different voicings for different chords A different set of voicings, derived from the appropriate bebop scale, is used for each chord. Over the I chord, the voicings come from the major bebop scale ...
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Sus2 doesn't exist?

Sus is short for suspended. The 3rd of a chord - major or minor - isn't there any more. It has been replaced (usually temporarily) by either the 2nd or the 4th from the scale using the same root note....
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Is there a specific term to denote playing a wide chord on a piano?

if the notes are close together it is a Close Voicing. If they are spread apart as in your question it is said to be Open Voicing. More info can be found here. The note that is lowest determines the ...
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How do you voice extended chords?

Conventionally, the most often skipped notes in any remotely extended chord are the 5th and any degrees above the 7th that aren't included in the chord name. For example, V13 chords in classical music ...
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  • 11.9k
9 votes

"Only open voicing below middle C!" Really?

Closed vocings aren't bad, but you need to be aware of the register you are in no matter what you compose. In lower registers, having notes close together isn't always what you want. Specifically ...
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9 votes
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How to accompany with piano in latin music when given only chords?

Yes, you're right that in many genres of music pianists and guitarists have to spontaneously come up with parts based only on chord symbols (and hopefully also listening to other members of the band). ...
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9 votes
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Should the comping instrument ever double the bass player?

I agree with the answer and ideas provided by @Tim and would like to add a few of my own. The thing about group accompanying is unless the music is completely arranged you can’t predict what the other ...
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9 votes

Why do open voicings of chords sound less dissonant/more harmonious?

Well, they sound less dissonant for the reason that you said - that the frequencies of the harmonics in the group of notes sounding simultaneously clash less. This graph from https://sethares.engr....
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Do 11th chords change depending on genre?

From a jazz perspective, whenever a chord symbol contains an upper extension like 9, 11, or 13, the 3rd and 7th are implied. Moreover, in jazz, the chord C7 has many well-known voicings, including Bb-...
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9 votes

E7 chord at 5th fret missing a B note

It is common to omit a note from a chord, especially on a guitar, where 3-4 note voicings commonly sound the best, and also it's not always convenient to play all notes. In many cases perfect fifth is ...
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8 votes
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How to determine passing chords

You do it step by step, first inserting "midway" chords somewhere in between, and then if you want, even more intermediate chords between those. Step by step. If you want to go through all of the ...
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8 votes

How to apply Barry Harris 6th diminished voicings and maintain chord functions?

The chord pairs are used primarily to harmonize a melody that occurs on a single, static chord. The trick works really well when a melody walks up or down the bebop scale. There are two well-...
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8 votes

Jazz piano: chords and melody in right hand. How?

You don't seem to have done anything that jdjazz suggested in his answer three years ago. It was a very good answer. As Laurence Payne says, you need to study, or at least play through, lots of piano ...
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8 votes
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E7 chord at 5th fret missing a B note

It is common to omit the 5th in a seventh chord. In the case of E7, that means leaving out the B. E is the root G♯ is the third B is the fifth D is the seventh Omitting the fifth is also commonly ...
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7 votes

How do you voice extended chords?

Omit the 11th. Next one to go is usually the 5th. Then the 9th. C makes it a C chord. E makes it major. B makes it a maj7. A makes it a 13th. In practice, the 13th may well be the melody note. ...
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