Video Review: “Contrapuntal Triad Pairs Part 2: Open-Voiced Triads”

By Mike Bryant

This is Part Two of a two-part series on using triad pairs contrapuntally consisting of:

  • Volume One: focuses on contrapuntally playing using triads with closed voicings.
    (Reviewed separately).
  • Volume Two: focuses on using triads with wider, open voicings.

In Part Two, Steve Herberman demonstrates how to use open-voiced triad pairs to develop multiple simultaneous moving lines. Counterpoint involves playing two or more independent melodies simultaneously to create a piece of music that works as a whole.

He offers a wealth of ideas for contrapuntal playing with triads in this 93-minute video.

Steve states that open voiced triads can be used in either fingerstyle or hybrid (picking and fingerstyle). These open triad voicings involve wider stretches than closed-voicings and are ideal for playing with a bass player or for solo guitar.

Steve opens by demonstrating the use of C and B-flat triads over an E7 static chord.
C and B-flat7 the fourth and fifth chords of the F Melodic Minor harmonised scale.
This concept shows that by raising the melodic minor scale a half-step up from the chord you want to solo over you can employ the triad pairs you wish to improvise with.

Steve warns that open-voiced triads are more of a challenge and will require patience and time to integrate into your playing. However, when

He demonstrates a simple three-chord progression of C / B-flat / A using closed and then open triads. The superior richness in tone makes it obvious why the persistent effort to learn these open triad voicings is worth it.


  1. Short and long 2-5-1 examples (17 examples in the key of A Major.)
  2. Open-voiced triad pairs examples (eight pages of examples in different keys.)

Steve covers a range of topics, including:

  • Fingering options;
  • Developing good basslines alongside the voicings;
  • Use of chromaticism in the lines;
  • Inner-line voice movement ideas. 

While open-voiced triads are more sonorous, they present more of a challenge than the more familiar closed-voice triads. However, the richness of sound of they provide will be attractive to many and will be particularly useful in a solo or duet context.

Contrapuntal Triad Pairs - Open-Voiced Triads Part II
June 21, 2019

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