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Upper Structure Quartals Piano Voicings Vol. 1

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About the author:

Composer and pianist Ariel J. Ramos is a graduate of Berklee College of Music in Boston and has been performing, teaching piano, and working with independent filmmakers since 1997. He is a first place recipient of the Cluzeau-Mortet piano competition and was awarded the Berklee Writing and Composition Scholarhsip. Ariel Ramos is author of a wide array of books in the mDecks Series including UST Jazz Piano Voicings collection, Reconstructing a Bach Fugue, and Piano Technique Vol. 1. In addition, Mr. Ramos has composed soundtracks for countless films and TV series including Warner Bros’s Terminator: The Sarah Connors Chronicles and Pushing Daisies (TV series IDs for Latin America). Ariel’s studios and offices are now located in South Florida where he composes music for film, TV and chamber music, and arranges from small ensemble to full orchestra. Beyond his writing of books and his prolific composition Ariel also is a highly sought after pianist, performing jazz, latin and chamber music in South Florida. Finally, Mr. Ramos is a renowned piano, theory and composition educator.

Upper Structure Quartals Piano Voicings Vol. 1

Authored by Ariel J Ramos

For a jazz piano player, chord voicings is an essential skill, not only for comping (accompanying or laying the chord progression for other players to improvise in) but also to use those voicings as an improvisational aid. All piano players get many melodic ideas or lines from their voicings.

There are many ways of practicing and developing a Jazz voicing language. We all know how massive the amount of available combinations is, it seems almost infinite.

A standard approach in creating, learning and/or developing voicings is stacking simple voicings/structures on top of other simple ones. In this manner a richer and more complex sound is created. These structures/chords/voicings are usually called Upper Structures

Quartals as Structures Quartal voicings have become a standard in modern jazz. Their ambiguity in sound allows the jazz player to travel through unexpected paths, sometimes deceiving, sometimes surprising the listener with their unresolved quality. Although quartals are often used in improvisation and comping, it is not surprising that there is no standard chord notation for them due to its lack of harmonic direction (or function) and consequentially rarely used by composers as a source in their compositions.

Practicing with these books Every book in this collection uses the same practice method. Each exercise targets a specific upper structure triad, or a progression using USQs, and is introduced by a graph of the USQ (or pair of USQs in the case of a IIm-V7 progression) with all its properties (Tensions, Chord Tones, suggested mental picture and other info).

A log is included which permit the students to organize their practice routine in blocks of 2 weeks. The student should write the starting day for that block and keep track of their practice on that topic every day. At the end of the block the student should write comments, end date and rate the USQ voicing for later use and review.

Publication Date:
1470091275 / 9781470091279
Page Count:
Binding Type:
US Trade Paper
Trim Size:
8.5" x 11"
Black and White
Related Categories:
Music / Instruction & Study / Exercises

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