Jamie Holroyd Guitar

Jamie Holroyd Guitar

McCoy Tyner Chords Etude

McCoy Tyner Chords Etude

When it comes to quartal voicings, the pianist that instantly comes to everyone’s mind is the great McCoy Tyner. More often than not, McCoy Tyner chords are a mix of different quartal chords that we looked in yesterday’s 4th voicings lesson. This style of mixing outside quartal inversions was shown to me by Jiannis Pavlidis.

I have used the same rhythms every two bars and varied the quartal inversions throughout the piece so you can see some of the different possibilities when combing the different 4th voicings.

McCoy is quite fond of adding passing chords that are slightly diatonically outside the key of the piece. Listen to live recordings of McCoy playing modal tunes with John Coltrane and note how some of McCoy’s voicings push Coltrane harmonically.


Things to Notice in this Etude


  • Use of root position inversion quartal shapes in every except 7
  • Mix of root position and first inversion shapes in bar 2
  • ‘Outside’ quartal voicings in bars 4, 6, 7, and 8


As with the other etudes in the series, pick out some of your favorite concepts and start to work them over tunes you know and apply them to different keys.


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