In today’s free piano lesson we’re going to learn how to play the minor 7 (flat 5) chords in a fun and interesting way.
After teaching piano lessons for over 15 years now I’ve noticed an overwhelming trend in regards to this chord.
Many people who are learning piano either…
a) Don’t know how to play this chord at all. (And they also don’t understand the theory behind it.)
b) They do know how to play a basic version but they don’t know any cool chord voicings to play when the voicing comes up in a chord chart.
So, in today’s lesson we’re going to tackle both problems!
Let’s get started learning now.
First watch the video then scroll down for the notation and a bunch of extra tips.
(click to expand)
6 Tips To Help You Learn These Minor 7 (b5) Chords
Where Should I Play This Chord?
1. This chord could be used anywhere but it’s used most commonly as the ii chord inside a minor ii V i chord progression.
(If you want to learn some dominant chords that will sound great after these minor 7 flat 5 chord you can check out this lesson on dominant jazz piano chords.)
Build It and They Will Come
2. Working this chord out in basic root position in any key can be done with a simple 3 step process.
- First, start with a minor triad.
- Then find the minor 7th of that triad (Tip: go down a whole step from the root to find the minor 7th)
- Finally, just flat the fifth.
Bottom Note Suggestions
3. If I’m playing this chord as a comp chord voicing just in my left hand I tend to either play the seventh of the chord as my bottom note or the 3rd of the chord as my lowest note. (like in measure 2 above)
Register Leads To Richness
4. I make the decision which inversion to use based off where it sits on the piano. This is the same decision I use constantly whenever I’m voicing any jazz piano chord.
I play chords where they sit best on the piano and where they have the most richness. (this is usually around the center of the piano).
Two Handed Chords Rock
5. In measure 3 I open up the chord up and turn it into a two handed piano chord. I use this voicing quite a bit when I’m comping in a rhythm section.
Get The Modern Sound
6. The 4th minor 7 (b5) chord is probably my favorite and it’s definitely the most modern sounding since there is no 3rd.
This chord is actually featured and used in both a Chick Corea Lick and a Herbie Hancock lick inside my latest DVD The Jazz Masters Method.
For more info you can check it out here The Jazz Masters Method
In order to get started learning this chord choose 1 voicing and start practicing it in all 12 keys.
Also, and this is very important, make sure you apply it to a tune you like!
If you need some help choosing a good song you can take a look at this article on recommended jazz songs to learn.
Do you like these chords? Which one is your favorite in this lesson? Did you find this lesson useful?
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