Drop 2 and drop 3 voicings are essential chord voicings in jazz music that provide harmonic depth and richness to the music. The term “drop” refers to the process of dropping the second or third highest voice of a chord down an octave, resulting in a more compact and dense chord voicing.
The choice between drop 2 and drop 3 voicings is largely dependent on the musical context and the desired harmonic effect. Drop 2 voicings are characterized by a more open and spread sound, as the second highest voice is dropped down an octave. This results in a more spacious and resonant chord sound, making drop 2 voicings ideal for use in slow tempos or ballads.
On the other hand, drop 3 voicings result in a more compact and dense chord sound, as the third highest voice is dropped down an octave. This makes drop 3 voicings more suitable for use in up-tempo or fast-paced pieces, as they provide a more pronounced and punchy sound.
In general, drop 2 voicings are more commonly used in jazz music, as they provide a more versatile and flexible harmonic foundation for the music. However, drop 3 voicings can also be used to great effect, especially in fast-paced or rhythmically driving pieces where a more pronounced and punchy chord sound is desired.
It is important to note that the choice between drop 2 and drop 3 voicings is not an absolute one, and musicians may choose to use a combination of both in a given piece of music. For example, a musician may choose to use drop 2 voicings in slow sections and drop 3 voicings in fast sections, in order to provide a contrast in harmonic texture and sound.
In conclusion, the choice between drop 2 and drop 3 voicings in jazz music is largely dependent on the musical context and the desired harmonic effect. Both voicings provide unique harmonic characteristics that can be used to enhance the music and add depth and richness to the sound. As with all aspects of jazz music, the choice between drop 2 and drop 3 voicings is ultimately a matter of personal preference and artistic expression.
Source: “Jazz Theory and Practice” by Richard Lawn and Bob Porter.