How to Construct “Drop 2” and “Drop 4” Voicings

The video below is a good primer on how to construct what is commonly referred to “drop 2” and “drop 4” voicings. The name basically derives from the notes of a chord in closed position, or in other words, all of the notes of the chord are stacked on top of each other.

This technique involves taking the 2nd note from the top, and the 4th note from the top and dropping them down an octave.   Keep in mind that this technique is one of many you should have in your arranging tool box.

This technique works for groups that have 5 voices (ideally), such as a small group consisting of tpt, alto, tenor, trombone, bari sax, or the five saxes in a big band.

Consider the following bullet points that refer to both important points included in this video lesson, and also points in general to consider.

  1. Roots in voicings are not necessarily needed because the bass covers the root of the chord.  Don’t waste that note unless you absolutely have to.
  2.  In dominant 7th chords the 3rd and 7th is needed to define the chord.  In Maj and 6/9 chords that are not necessarily needed to define the sound of the chord.
  3. Don’t solely rely on this technique,  intermix with quartal voicings for Maj and 6/9 chords
  4. Always consider construction of voicings with individual lines in mind.   Each musical line is more important than each individual vertical voicing.

Hope you enjoy this one!  More of these lessons coming soon from Fred Stickley Music!

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