2)Half-step movement—If no common tones are available, try to move in half-steps. In Fig. 1.2, the middle voice of the F chord, "A" moves up a half-step to "Bb" in the Bb chord.
3)Whole-step movement—If no common tones or half-steps are available, try to move in whole-steps. In Fig. 1.2, the top voice of the F chord, "C" moves up a whole-step to "D" in the Bb chord.
4)Minor third movement—If common tones, half-steps or whole steps are unavailable, you are forced to use minor third movement. This is the least desirable movement in voice leading, because it is less smooth than the others. In Fig. 1.2, the middle voice moves from a "Bb" in the Bb chord to a "G" in the C chord.
The next time you are figuring out which voicings to play on a certain progression, keep the rules of voice leading in mind. When we use this concept, each voice has it's own smooth line happening as the chords change. After getting used to this idea, you will begin to hear little melodies in your chord playing. You may even start to play these melodies as part of your comping.
Figs. 2.1 through 2.4 illustrate the fingerings for minor triads. Follow the above procedure for getting these minor voicings under your fingers. The minor progressions also use voice leading. Can you identify the common tone, half-step and whole step movements?
The following progressions are in Bb minor:
Here are some random observations concerning major and minor triads:
a) What would happen if you played the voicings as arpeggios and used them in your improvised solos?
b) You can do these exercises for the three remaining sets of strings.
c) You can create seventh chords by having a friend play random bass notes underneath the triads. Make a note of any cool sounds you come up with.
d)Try using these fingerings to voice lead other progressions. Mix major and minor together.
Rip up a piece of paper into 12 little pieces.
Write one of the 12 keys on each piece.
Rip 12 additional little pieces.
Write the words "major" and "minor" on six pieces each.
Mix up the pieces with the keys, place them, face down on one side of your desk.
Place the pieces with the chord types, face down on the other side.
Turn over one piece from each pile.
Play that chord, through each inversion, up and down the neck. Start at the lowest point on the neck, work up as high as you can, then come back down again.
Do it until it's second nature.
Hopefully, you've got a lot to think about now. Don't try to tackle everything here at once. Do a little, put it down, let it sink in, and come back for some more. The next time you're playing a tune, try to incorporate some of these ideas into your playing. I think you'll find that using these little voicings lets everything breathe more.
OK, repeat after me: "Triads are my friends. I love triads."