Practicing extensions & inversions without boring yourself to death

Today I wanted to share another approach to practicing such seemingly technical and tiresome stuff as chord inversions and extended intervals. I keep trying to make all my routine musical and as close to real life situation as I can. It may be useful to spend 5 hours throwing all inversions of all 7th chords in all keys in all modes around the circle of 5ths, but sometimes you just want your exercises to be a bit more musical. You know what I mean? So I did that.

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This is, in fact, a combination workout. Left hand plays all the inversions of a block chord, right hand plays diatonic interval or extension of choice (in this case major 7th) in two octaves. I’m still going around the good ol’ cycle of 4ths, but it sounds already like a piece and has much less of that endless ii — V — I feeling in it.

The beauty of it is that the moment you start getting bored, you can pick a different interval, just like that:

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…and Bob’s your uncle — now you’ve got completely different flavour as 9ths blend with inversions in the left hand.

But the cycle of 4ths motion is still there, so it’s just a question of time before you will have had enough of it, right? 😄 That’s where modal progressions come in! And don’t forget that you can also alternate intervals in the right hand. Here I took C Dorian progression that sounded particularly nice to me: i — bIII — v — ii and applied the same technique while playing it. It sounds definitely like a piece, and in no way like a dull exercise.

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Obviously, then there’s Real Book and all the good stuff. You got it—

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