So, you want to play a little jazz piano, do you? To get started, all you need to do is learn this chord configuration. Three notes. Sounds simple? Well, it is.
First, and way before we get into the theory, I want you to get your fingers used to playing the “tritone and a fourth” chord. Let’s start with your right hand. Put your thumb on an E. The next note in the chord, the middle note, is up a tritone. That’s the note between a fourth and a fifth (the devil’s interval). Put your index finger on Bb. The top note of the chord is up one fourth from the middle note. That would be an Eb.
Got it? Now, just move the whole chord down one half-step. That would be Eb-A-D. Do the same thing in the other direction, up to F-B-E. Practice moving chromatically between these three chords. Already sounds a little jazzy, doesn’t it? Now, let’s play a little jazzy blues number in the key of C. You can also jam your way through a few choruses using the blues scale in your right hand, while fingering these tritone chords with your left hand. Jam away.
A little theory: There are two different chords based on the tritone configuration. If you build the tritone configuration on the third above your root, you’re playing a sharp nine chord. (Ex. C+9 is C-E-Bb-D#) NOTE: Eb and D# are enharmonic. We call it D# because it’s the ninth. When you build the tritone configuration on the seventh, you’ll be forming a 13th chord. (Ex. G13 is G-F-A-D) D is the 13th. –If you liked this article you might also like ‘How Chords Work’ or subscribe to our newsletter. Click here.