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Voice leading

Ids Schiere

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I came across the term voice leading a while ago in Syn’s tips for a lesson. Now, since I don’t think there’s a specific lesson and I’m still not entirely sure how to use it, can anyone give me a full overview with applications on voice leading?
 
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Ids Schiere

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So I was writing a song today and it has a chords going C-Am-Dm-G for the chorus.

Now I've always played a D minor with my index finger on the high E string, middle finger on the G string and ring finger on the D string. However in this particular chord progression due to voice leading considerations I realized that the fingering makes more sense if you do the D minor with the index finger on the high E, ring finger on the G string and pinky in the B string because you play the Am with index finger on the B string, ring finger on the G string and middle finger on the D string. It basically means you can keep the ring finger on the G string stuck.

Just figured I'd share this.
 

Brian Haner Sr.

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Nov 11, 2019
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So I was writing a song today and it has a chords going C-Am-Dm-G for the chorus.

Now I've always played a D minor with my index finger on the high E string, middle finger on the G string and ring finger on the D string. However in this particular chord progression due to voice leading considerations I realized that the fingering makes more sense if you do the D minor with the index finger on the high E, ring finger on the G string and pinky in the B string because you play the Am with index finger on the B string, ring finger on the G string and middle finger on the D string. It basically means you can keep the ring finger on the G string stuck.

Just figured I'd share this.
And that is indeed voice leading. The idea of using common notes to go from one chord to another (in this case, an A on the G string - which is in both chords) - as opposed to playing a Dm bar chord on the 5th fret and then a baby Am on the 1st & 2nd frets (plus open strings). Or worse, a Dm bar chord on the 10th fret and then a baby Am. The latter two have abrupt jumps and will sound disjointed, while the first example is smooth and stays in the same range.
Another trick (that you have obviously figured out) is to change fingering so those common notes don't stop between chords.
Nicely done!
 

Autumn

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    I first learned about it on a music staff, so it helps to have that visualization. In college, they'd give us chords and we'd rearrange them with voice leading on a staff

    Thank you so much for this visual representation, it made voice leading finally make sense to me! I’m curious to know, how do you decide how to voice lead on chords that have 4 or 5 notes in them?

    I’ve noticed that with some of those chords (9ths, 11ths, #13s) a note is dropped when played on the guitar because there isn’t enough space to play them all. Not quite a voice leading question I don’t think, but how do you decide what note(s) to drop?
     
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    Calvin Phillips

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    And that is indeed voice leading. The idea of using common notes to go from one chord to another (in this case, an A on the G string - which is in both chords) - as opposed to playing a Dm bar chord on the 5th fret and then a baby Am on the 1st & 2nd frets (plus open strings). Or worse, a Dm bar chord on the 10th fret and then a baby Am. The latter two have abrupt jumps and will sound disjointed, while the first example is smooth and stays in the same range.
    Another trick (that you have obviously figured out) is to change fingering so those common notes don't stop between chords.
    Nicely done!
    I love the idea of this. I imagine once you get you get caged shapes down for every chord voice leading becomes easier.
     
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    Ids Schiere

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    I love the idea of this. I imagine once you get you get caged shapes down for every chord voice leading becomes easier.
    Yes, CAGED does Definetely help for this but playing around with inversions and different fingerings is necessary as well sometimes(doing C A-shape first to Am Em-shape is a lot easier than C A-shape to Am Em-shape)
     
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