Shearing Style Bock Chords for the
Whether or not the current melody note is a chord tone is largely irrelevant
when deciding which notes to include inside the RH octave.
In general, one or two notes inside the pinky and thumb octave spread
is enough to state the current chord quality.
So which notes to put in?
If you want a relatively vanilla sound, choose notes from the lower
end of the chord (root, third, fifth, 7th).
If you want a "crunchier" more "modern" sound, include some of
the upper extensions (9th, 11th. 13th).
If you are including two notes inside your octave, there is no reason
why one of them can't be a lower structure tone and the other an upper
If a chord contains a "characteristic" chord tone (ie. b5, #9, etc)
it's often a good idea to throw that in (especially if it's not being
covered by the LH).
Also it's extremely cool to have one of those interior tones be a common
tone in the next chord, ex:
C9 -> F13 ->
D (9) -> D (13)
Bb (b7) -> A (3) -> Bb (R)
E (3) -> F (R) -> F (5)
D (9) -> D (13) -> D (3)
The choice of interior notes is also very often a function of ergonomics,
ie. which chord tones fall most easily under the fingers.
This requires a bit of trial and error initially, and is tough to execute
in an improvisation. Although a treatment of the head with a pre-arranged
block chord melody line is an interesting way to go every once in a
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