photo by Ethan Hein
This first example uses root-based lines for the left hand and 3rd-based lines for the right hand. The permutation we will use is as follows:(Up 1, Down 2, Out 2, In 1)
The above example should not sound too crazy. This isn't too far removed from what you hear with a bass/horn duo. The main difference is that the horn is usually playing 8th notes. The voice-leading and resolutions are the same.
The next example is the same as the first except up-side-down. The left hand plays the 3rd-based lines while the right hand plays the root-based lines. We will use the same permutation as before:(Up 1, Down 2, Out 2, In 1)
If you are like me, this permutation sounds really interesting. There are moments that remind me more of classical harmony than jazz, especially when you slow it down. Also, it's still more challenging for me to practice than previous examples. My brain just insists on having the roots on bottom.
This last example is the first 16 bars of the chord progression to Autumn Leaves. I got the idea to use this one because of a story I heard Phil Woods tell. Someone asked him how he started learning to improvise, and he said he sat down at the piano -if I correctly recall- and played the 3rd of each chord. Then he tried to put one more note before each chord-change. This continued until he could play 8th-note lines throughout the whole progression.
The first 8 measures use the bass notes on bottom, while the last 8 measures use the 3rd. There is a musical joke from the baroque at the very end. If it makes you laugh you are a certified music nerd!