Better chord chart / leadsheet playing through knowledge about voice leading

By implementing a few rules about voice leading your chord chart playing improves dramatically!


When playing chord charts it´s easy to forget all about rules for voice leading from classic arranging theory. By remembering and implementing a few of these rules and tips, you can change your chord chart / leadsheet playing into being way more organic and smooth.


1. Avoid parallel motions in octaves between melody and bassline. It sounds pale/flat.

2. As a main rule: Try to let the bassnotes move in opposite direction from the melody.

3. Shift between chords by moving as little as possible from one note to the next. It´s easier to play, and sounds smoother. For instance you can try making the bassline linear moving in seconds, and you can alternate between close and open voicings of a chord to make chords shift better by moving only short distances in the "between-voices" (alto and tenor in a choir).

4. As a main rule avoid doubling the 3rd, especially in melody+bass. (Moving in opposite directions you can make some exceptions)

5. Some notes "want" to move a specific way. The 7th of a dominant chord "wants" to move on to the 3rd in the tonic chord. The leading note "wants" to move on to the key note.


I think of chord chart / leadsheet playing as kind of a "keyword-way" to play well-sounding arrangements, not something completely unrelated to classic written music. Knowing principal theory about classic arranging is a great advantage to play chord charts and leadsheets well!


PART OF THE REASON FOR WRITING THIS BLOG IS TO LEARN MORE ABOUT MUSICAL EXPRESSIONS AND SUCH IN ENGLISH - FEEL FREE TO LEAVE COMMENTS CORRECTING ANY MISTAKES - I’M HAPPY TO LEARN:-)


#chordchart #leadsheet #organist #pianist





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