Using Voicings for Waltz Accompaniment

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in Composition

Previously we talked about voicing chords from roots, 3rds and 7ths. Of course this assumes you are making up the chords and no accompaniment has been provided for your fake music or melody.

Once you’ve decided on the voicing you want to use chord change to change you also going to have to decide on the rhythmic pattern that you will be using with the song. This is the style or type of feel you are going to give the song.

Styles or Genre

In this simple discussion we’ll assume that music style or music genre is essentially the same thing. We’ll discuss it as rock, ballad, waltz, swing, blues, R & B, tango, classical, etc.

Now you have and accompaniment style you’ll be considering when playing your song. To go into all these styles and variations is a whole other workshop, but as you study songs and see what others have done you can adapt the accompaniment to your rendition of a song.

I’ll admit I’m not the greatest at this, but it has become a new focus for me. Primarily, I realized that if I don’t explore variations and styles I get stuck in a standard pattern and don’t have enough depth to bring in variation or even keep up with a new song or style.

In this post I’m only looking at a simple waltz accompaniment that you might try and expand to develop your skill.

Waltz Accompaniment

In the waltz 3/4 time signature we use a strong down beat on one and a lighter touch on beats two and three. An easy way to explore the waltz is to use the root note for the down beat and your cool voicing for the other beats. Check out this example for a ii – V7 – I in the key of F. Here we move from Gm7 to C7 to FM7.

The first accompaniment is a simple straight forward pattern and allows more melodic freedom. As well you see a voicing used built on 3rds and 7ths.

The second is a variation that has more driving force as the movement is to another voicing in the 3rd beat.

Listen to the two variations here:

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Now on your own try using only the first and third beats for you waltz accompaniment. And when that feels good try and off-beat to accent your melody, such as at the “and” of two.  I’ll touch on that in a future post. What are thoughts on this accompaniment concept?

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