mdecks logo

Subscribe to mDecks

Receive News on special offers new products, books and methods. Subscribers automatically enter our giveaways!

Upper Structure Quartals • UST Jazz Piano Chord Voicings Collection

A Complete Practice Method for the Jazz Piano Player

Jazz Piano Voicings using Upper Structures

For a jazz piano player, chord voicings is an essential skill, not only for comping (accompanying or laying the chord progression for other players to improvise in) but also to use those voicings as an improvisational aid. All piano players get many melodic ideas or lines from their voicings. There are many ways of practicing and developing a Jazz voicing language.

Quartals voicings have become a standard in modern jazz. Their ambiguity in sound allows the jazz player to travel through unexpected paths, sometimes deceiving, sometimes surprising the listener with their unresolved quality. Although quartals are often used in improvisation and comping, it is not surprising that there is no standard chord notation for them due to its lack of harmonic direction (or function) and consequentially rarely used by composers as a source in their compositions.


Vol. 1 • All possible Upper Structure Quartals over IIm7 and V7

upper structure quartals vol. 1
buynow(WAS $24.95)

(Exercises for each and every key in all inversions) 196 pages.

upper structure voicings demo page

What's inside this collection?
View a demo page (click to view)


Also available at and Barnes & Noble




pdfdownload"Darn That Dream". Piano solo score

Practicing with the books in this collection
Each exercise targets a specific upper structure triad or a progression using USTs and is introduced by a graph of the UST (or pair of USTs in the case of a IIm-V7 progression) with all its properties (Tensions, Chord Tones, suggested mental picture and other info).

A log is included, which permit the students organize their practice routine in blocks of 2 weeks. The student should write the starting day for that block and keep track of their practice on that topic every day. At the end of the block the student should write comments, end date and rate the UST voicing for later use and review.

Scope of the books in this collection It is crucial to understand that although quartal harmony is of great significance in modern jazz, quartal structures will not be considered as a harmonic source in this book but only as upper structures superimposed on top of tonal/standard harmonic progressions (harmony based on 3rds).

Decoding the Circle of Vths
All possible triads were found and studied using the Decoding the Circle of Fifths Chart/System. You can find out more about this system following this link: Decoding the Circle of Fifths.