Dorian Chords: McCoy Tyner Tutorial

dorian chordsAre you ready to discover some really amazing sounding dorian chords?

Excellent! You’ve come to the right spot to do just that…

In today’s quick video lesson you’ll be learning 5 incredible Cm dorian chord voicings.

Also, you should note that all of the chord voicings in this tutorial are inspired by McCoy Tyner.

So without any further introduction, let’s jump right in and get started learning.

Dorian Chords: Video Tutorial

Get started now and watch this 4 minute tutorial.

Important! Once you’ve completed watching this entire tutorial make sure that you continue reading. If you scroll down I’ve listed out for you some great tips so you can master these dorian chord voicings in half the time.

3 Must Know Tips For These 5 C Dorian Minor Chords

Now, real quick before we jump into your tips make sure that you know what key we are playing in for this tutorial.

In this tutorial we’re exploring the key of C dorian minor. Since these chords are all built off one scale it will help you truly master these shapes.

#1 How To Play The Dorian Chords In This Video

dorian chordsSo, a huge part of getting good at these dorian chords is the ability to recognize the most important notes of each chord.

Each chord type that Dan plays has a unique blend of chord tones and chord extensions.

Let’s take a closer look at how Dan Tabion uses some groovy chord extensions in these Cm dorian chords…

Take for example the first chord that Dan plays.

Cm7(11) – (C F Bb Eb G) – (Root, 11th, 7th, 3rd, 5th)

Most of this chord is just basic chord tones but the 11th is also inside this dorian chord. In this case the 11th is F.

Plus, we also have a 4th interval between the root and the 11th in your left hand. This gives it that quartal sounding super cool McCoy Tyner flavor.

Take a look now at these other 2 Cm7 chords.

Cm7(9,11,13) – (D G C F A) – (9th, 5th, Root, 11th, 13th)

Cm7(13,9,11) – (A D G C F) – (13th, 9th, 5th, Root, 11th)

Notice how with these chord voicings the added extensions actually become the shell for the rest of the chord tones.

Go ahead and give these chords a try…

Can you hear the subtle differences in color and texture when you add in chord extensions?

And also do you notice the difference in sound when the extensions are the shell of the chord rather than being played inside the bottom note and top of the chord?

dorian chordsPretty awesome sounding stuff huh?

And that’s why we talk about dive deep into this concept inside the Jazz Masters Method Improvisation DVD.

So, when you’re practicing these chord voicings just remember where you’re placing your extensions in relation to the other chord tones.

It really does make a difference in the sound.

Alright great you have a solid foundation for how to use the chord extensions with these voicings now let’s dive into your next tip.

By the way, if you want to learn how to successful use these quartal harmony chords in blues we have a whole chapter on that inside The Breakthrough Blues Method DVD.

#2 Do You See The Intervallic Relationships In These Chords?

Now this next tip might be the most important one so hone in for this one.

Ok so, when Dan was demonstrating these chord voicings did you happen to pick up how each voicing uses a unique blend of 3rds and 4ths?

Check out the first two chords:

Cm7(11) – (C F Bb Eb G)

Cm7(9,11,13) – (D G C F A)

dorian chordsPull out your microscope and really examine those intervals.

These 2 chord voicings are mostly in 4th intervals except for the intervallic relationship between the note on top and the note before.

That interval is a 3rd…

Please let me clarify if you’re a little unclear.

Cm7(11) – (C F Bb Eb G)

C – F is a 4th

F – Bb is a 4th

Bb – Eb is a 4th

Eb – G is a 3rd

Simple as that.

Look at the last 3 chords Dan plays.

Cm7(13,9) – (Eb A D G C)

Cm7(11) – (G C F Bb Eb)

Cm7(13,9,11) – (A D G C F)

dorian chordsNotice how all of the notes are in 4th intervals.

By identifying these intervallic relationships you’re also locking in the general shapes that you’re playing.

This is a great shortcut for you to grasp these chord voicings and build your jazz theory skills even faster.

This really important stuff, especially the more advanced your playing becomes…

#3 How To Recognize Important Cm Dorian Chord Shapes

Ok so now, we are going to examine these chords from a different angle. If we simplify them you’ll be able to see that they sound fancy.

But if we remove a few notes they’re mostly just basic minor triads with some extensions added in.

Let me break this down further for you.

Shift your attention to the 3rd chord Dan shows us.

If we were to remove the chord extensions and only just play root, 3rd and fifth you’ll notice they become just basic triads.

For example:

Cm7(13,9) – (Eb A D G C) – (3rd, 13th, 9th, 5th, Root)

Now becomes:
Cm – (Eb G C) – (3rd, 5th, Root)

You can clearly see that this is simply a Cm chord in 1st inversion.

dorian chordsGreat, let’s look at another one.

What about the 4th chord that Dan demonstrates?

Cm7(11) – (G C F Bb Eb) – (5th, Root, 11th, 7th, 3rd)

Again same procedure as before. Remove the 11th and the 7th. Just play the root, 3rd, and fifth.

You’re left with Cm – (G C Eb) – (5th, Root, 3rd)

This is just a Cm chord in 2nd inversion.

So, I hope this is helping you open your mind to all the possibilities out there you can use when organizing your chord voicings.

You have a ton of options for how you can voice your chords.

Mastering lots of different chord voicings is a great way to express yourself and build all kinds of cool sounds in your jazz arrangements and songs. It’s super fun when you can do this!

That’s what jazz piano is all about anyway right? Having fun.

Say Thanks To Our Guest Teacher Dan!

dorian chordsAlright, so I really enjoyed working alongside Dan Tabion and putting this dorian chords tutorial together for you.

If you enjoyed learning these chords please let Dan and I know by leaving a comment below. We’d love to hear from you!

Let’s see what’s coming up next for your jazz piano practice.

What’s Next In Store For Your Jazz Piano Practice?

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Until next time my friend, enjoy your practice.

If you have any questions or comments about this dorian chords lesson, any of the jazz modes, or the video tutorial above please leave your comments in the comments section below. I read every comment and would love to hear from you.

Thank you!

Steve Nixon