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How to Comp in Jazz in the Key of C

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


And here's another way to comp in jazz. So, as I said before, there really are a million variations. So, this is just one more that you can add to your collection of things. Let's try this one in the key of C. So, again, if you're in the key of C, the 1 would be C, the 2 would be D, and your 5 would be G. So, since we want to do that whole 2,5,1 thing again, actually specifically right now we're just going to do the 2 and the 5. Our D is going to be minor. So, we have a minor 2. And then we're going to go to the 5, which is going to be a dominant 7. So, you've got the minor 7 and the dominant 7. So, now we're going to find an interesting way to voice this. To really give a, kind of, jazzy feel to it. So, if I look at the D minor 7-chord, I've got my 1, minor 3, 5, and the 7, which is also flatted or minor.

To really add to the jazz sound of that, I'm going to skip up one more. So, I'm going past the D, past our 1, and one more note to the E. So, you can see the pattern here. It's all skips. All skipping right up. And this is actually called a D minor 9, because this is the 9th note in the scale. Since you'll be most likely playing with a bass player, when you do this voicing, you can just lose the D. Because the bass player's going to be letting everybody know what the group note is. So, that means in your left hand, now all we have is this upper part of that chord. So, the D was here, but we got rid of that. So, that should feel really comfortable in your hand. Just all skips, all white keys.

And now, just a simple way to get to a really nice-sounding G 7 chord, all I'm going to do is move my pointer finger, which is on C. I'm just going to move it over one to the B. And then we get this sound. And the actual technical name is a G 7. You may even say 13. Because, again this E, which is the 6 or the 13 in the chord is in there. Again, just giving it a little more of that jazzy sound. But we don't need to worry about that. As long as you've got your all-skips minor and just move that one note over, you're going to have your perfect 2-5, so minor 2 to the dominant 5 sound. So, practice that a couple of times; get that really comfortable in your fingers. And then we're going to add something really simple on top for the right hand. But it's very effective.

What we're going to do is we're going to have D octaves. So we're going to have low D, high D. When we're playing the D minor 7 chord, I'm going to add in the A, which would be the 5 of that chord. So, just the right hand, I would have root 5 root. Right there. And now, with the left hand combined in there, we've got this. So, that's again, a really full, big sound for that minor. And we're going to keep going to that 5-7. Just as simple in the right hand. All you're going to do is take your pointer finger, which is on A, and move that down a step. So, now we've got D, G, D. And we're going to make that little adjustment in the left hand.

Ready? Just move that finger down. And now that sound for our G 7 is going to be this. So, if you put them together, it's going to sound like this. So, once you've got that feeling really comfortable, then you can start to really mess around with the rhythms and create something a little bit more exciting. So, let's try it with some music. So, any kind of fun rhythmic combination. I'd say just mess around with it, do what feels good to you. And, that's how you can play another jazz comp.

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