Cocktail Piano Chords: A Richer Sound

As our investigation of cocktail piano chords continues, let’s take a look at a jazz piano chord voicing that you may already be familiar with, the 1-5-3-7 voicing. We can see what this chord voicing looks like here on the piano keyboard

Notice how this chord voicing accommodates that first melody note of Erroll Garner’s Misty in the key of C. Played just as you see it there, it is obvious that this voicing works well just as it is. That spacing within the voicing is certainly conducive to a nice open sound. Also, as in that example, you’ll notice upon playing it that, while played in the lower register of the piano keyboard, this voicing really has some substance.

We can made this voicing sound even a bit more substantial if we simply add a couple of scale tones to it. Specifically, we are referring to the 5 and the 6 of the C major scale. Now, again, it is not necessary to add these scale tones but, by doing so, we gain a little added richness. When it comes to cocktail piano chords, we are always open to more richness in some places and less in others.

Here is the voicing that results when we add that 6 and 7 from the C Major scale:


Technically, what we are playing here is a Cmaj7 (add6) chord and it sounds quite rich. By adding that 6 and 7 to the voicing, we are forming what is known as a cluster at the top of the voicing. It’s interesting to note that all those notes being played with the right hand (the E, G, A, and B) comprise 2nd intervals and 3rd intervals. This contrasts quite a bit with the interval of a fifth between the C and G.

An appreciation of this contrast of intervals is certainly conducive to your coming up with some pretty interesting chord voicings of your own, especially if you are to implement the techniques and strategies you’ll be exposed to when getting involved with Pro Piano Chord Bytes. You see, it’s one thing to learn how to play some really tasteful voicings just by copying what you learn from other resources but it’s quite another when you can be the creator.

You are highly encouraged to transpose this chord voicing to other keys, as it is voicing that you will certainly want to keep handy in that “piano playing toolbox” of yours.

Again, we are playing the Root, 5th, 3rd, 5th, 6th, and 7th of the major scale, respectively. Yes, we are doubling that Root. Although it’s certainly not necessary to do so, adding it simply makes that voicing sound a whole lot more full. As a cocktail piano player, we are always looking for ways to create more textures!