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Next we'll use these new triad-over-root voicings on a chord progression in a pop/rock style:

Q) Q)
TRACK 36 TRACK 37
piano only piano plus
rhythm section

(i
tl
-A
m. -A-
C/A
l
-d.
--vt-:
EmjC
_l
FjD

- AmjF

...
c
==t:

itJ ' -!-" ' -e·


... --'- --- -e-

The slash chord symbols are shown, to illustrate the triad-over-root voicings used. Harmonically, the first
four measures can be analyzed as follows:

Measure 1 The upper C major triad has been built from the 3rd of the overall A minor 7th chord.
Measure 2 The upper E minor triad has been built from the 3rd of the overall C major 7th chord.
Measure 3 The upper F major triad has been built from the 3rd of the overall D minor 7th chord.
Measure 4 The upper A minor triad has been built from the 3rd of the overall F major 7th chord.

As you're more likely to see the chord symbols written as "Am7, Cmaj7, Dm7, Fmaj7" in practice, it's
good to know which "upper triads" to use in response to these chord symbols. You've already heard this
technique at work on many famous pop/rock recordings!

Alternating Triad Chord Voicings


Whereas triad-over-root voicings use a single upper triad over the root in the bass, "alternating triads"
alternate between two upper triads over the root in the bass. This gives more motion and movement to the
sound, and can be useful in pop/rock and blues/rock styles. Our first alternating triad example moves
between the I and IV triads on a major chord (C and F major triads, over a C major chord):

Q) Q)
TRACK 38 TRACK 39
Swing eighths piano only piano plus
rhythm section
c

On Track 39, an electric organ part has been added to the bass and drums on the left channel.

This particular alternating triad technique-moving between the I and IV triads over a major chord-is
sometimes referred to as backcycling, and is a staple of piano rock, blues, and gospel styles. In the first
two measures, the right hand is playing the C major triad on beats 1 and 3 (the "strong" beats), alternating
with the F major triad on beats 2 and 4 (the "weak" beats). These triads are then split into eighth-note pairs
during measures 3 and 4, with the upper notes of each triad played on the downbeats (1, 2, 3, and 4), and
the lowest note of each triad played by the thumb on all the upbeats (the "&s" in between). We'll see a
similar right-hand technique used in eighth-note ballad styles later on. Meanwhile the left hand is playing
the root-5th/root-6th pattern we heard earlier on Tracks 16117. This all combines to create a classic bues/
rock piano comping groove, which you can use on many different songs!

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