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How to Comp in Jazz in the Key of G

Learn how to comp in the key of G in this keyboard tutorial from Howcast.


Hi, this is Stephanie Sanders from Tomato's House of Rock. And I'm going to show you how to comp in jazz. So, first of all, comp is actually short for accompanying. So this is when somebody else is taking a solo and you're just there to back them up. You're really considered part of the rhythm section. So a big part of what you're playing is the rhythm and what kind of feel you're giving the person who's soloing because what you play can really help propel their solo.

So we're going to do this one in the key of G. So, there's always something in jazz. It's the most common pattern, it's called a 251. So, if you're in the key of G, you're 1 is the G, the 2 is an A and that's actually going to be a minor. And your 5 is the D, which we would play as a dominant 7th chord. So it would be a 2, 5, 1, very common pattern.

For us, right now, let's just stick with the 2 and the 5. So that's going to be the A-minor and the D, dominant 7. So for your left hand, for this voicing, what we're going to have is the root note, the A in the base and we're going to put the 7 up on top with your thumb. So just 2 notes, just the 1 and the 7. And then for our 5 chord, which is going to be our D, I'm going to have my 3, my thumb, on the third, which is going to be F-sharp. So, together, we have just that simple sound. And so here's going back and forth between those two.

So I would say practice that a couple of times, get it under your fingers. And now, we can look at the right hand. So, your right hand is going to try to fill in some of the notes that are missing from the left hand. So we're going to play. We're going to have thumb is going to be on C and your 3 is going to be on E, which is just the third and the 5 of the A-minor chord. So, there's just the right hand and here it is with hands together. So it actually becomes a nice, rich sound when it's all together like that.

So for our D-chord, we're actually going to keep it really simple in the left hand. All we're going to do is use our third finger on D. Root note. So going between the 2 now, we would have our 1 and 7 and just that, just the root.

I would say try that a couple of times, get that really comfortable in your fingers. And now, we can look at the right hand. So, our right hand is going to fill in some of the notes that we're missing in this open sound in our left hand. So, for the right hand, we're going to put a thumb on C and third finger is going to go on E. And they would actually be the 3 and the 5 chord tones of our A-minor chord, our A-minor 7. So to hear it all together, it sounds really nice and rich now when the hands are together. Just right hand alone, simple. Left hand alone, very open. Together, we get a nice sound.

So now, let's look at what we're going to need for our D-chord in the right hand. We're going to have our thumb stay right on that C and we're just going to reach the 3 up to the F sharp. So now, in our D-chord, that's going to serve us as the 7 and the 3. And we've got the root down in our left hand on D. So, all together, it would be; so, get that real dominant 7 sound.

Now, let's really slowly try to go between the two. So the nice thing about this voicing is neither hand really has to move that much. Once you've got that motion feeling really comfortable, then you can start opening it up to play with a rhythm a little bit. So then, maybe you have. On and on and on. Whatever feels good to you, whatever the rest of the band is playing. So, let's see what it sounds like with some music. And that should give a really nice pocket for whatever the soloist is playing on top.

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