The 2-5-1 progression is a great place to practice voice leading the 2 note shell voicings. Since the 2-5-1 progression is so commonly used, learning this strategy will make playing standard jazz repertoire very simple to do. Learn about the 2-5-1 Progression here. In this video I’m going to show you my favorite easy jazz piano voicings for the 2-5-1 progression.
(I have attached a handy 2-5-1 sheet that lists the progressions in different orders so that you are not tempted to read the voicings.)
Jazz Piano Voicing #1
Starting with the 3rd on the bottom and the 7th on top
Have a look at the way the voices move in this progression. These movements will be exactly the same in every key, since the function of the chords stays the same in every major key.
When we move from Dmi7 to G7, you’ll notice the top note moves down by a half step. When moving from G7 to Cma7, the bottom note moves down by a half step. When moving from Cma7 to C6, the top note moves down by a whole step.
Practice these voicings in all 12 keys!
Jazz Piano Voicing #2
Starting With the 7th on the Bottom
Since we have inverted the voicing, we also invert the “rules” of voice leading. When moving from Dmi7 to G7, the bottom note moves down by a half step. When moving from G7 to Cma7, the top note moves down by a half step. When moving from Cma7 to C6, the bottom note moves down by a whole step.
Jazz Piano Voicing #3
Applying two note shell voices to a song.
Some people see this as the “scary part”, so I am going to show you how to approach voicing chords in a song in a very simple way. It is what I call the “paint by numbers” approach to jazz voicings.
How to practice these
Step 1: Identify and mark all the 2-5-1’s and/or 2-5’s
Step 2: Practice the voicings on the marked 2-5-1’s and 2-5’s using whatever voice leading seems simplest.
Step 3: Voice the rest of the chords, trying to get them to move smoothly to the 2-5-1’s.
2-5-1 Cheat Sheets