obviously 'so what' chords don't have a b5, but go with me on this...  

here is the "b5 so what chord" (for want of a better name) on root d:

d, g, c, f, ab

its inversions being:

g, c, f, ab, d
c, f, ab, d, g
f, ab, d, g, c
ab, d, g, c, f

any of these can function as various chords from major or melodic minor scale harmony, eg.

bb7
dm7b5
fmm7
e7 alt

it's funny, i've been practising these for about a year, wondering if i was a bit crazy to try and learn all the inversions in all the keys, but they are starting to click now and they are definitely proving handy. i like the sense of space they give.

i also bought a cd recently and one of the tracks features similar chords during an intro and for comping.

i guess you pro's use these voicings all the time, but probably have another name for them.
There are 8 comments, leave a comment.
nice!

and you can still use any of the voicings you quoted above for:

-abmaj7(13,#11)/abmaj13(#11)

-fmm7(9/6)

-g7sus(b9)/g11(b9)

-amm7(11,b13)!!!
i've played these notes over and over several times now, and there was always an air of familiarity about it, but at first couldn't quite place it--finally it hit me: abmaj7-5/g  the 'ho-de-ho...ho-ho' chord played in the wizard of oz when the witches guards were marching around the castle. also used by steely dan in the song: 'things i miss the most' right at the start of the bridge. great stuff.
i'll have to check out that wizard of oz scene!

another thing about these chords, they fit with both major and melodic minor scales.

eg. in the above case, the voicings use notes common to eb major and f melodic minor scales.

i think bernard hermann may have used these chords or similar in some of his music (psycho, other hitchcock film scores).
i think of the notes you are using as a non-voicing and when hearing other people use it i would guess they are thinking of it that way.
   what is a non-voicing?  any voicing that you make up that does not fit into a conventional category of voicings.  making up your own non-voicings can be a great way of making an arrangement sound unique and original.  it is a technique i learned from dave frank.  
for example if i take and play the notes ab and e in the left hand
nnd of top of that g ab and f#  this might be considered a "non-voicing" because i defy  you to point out and example of a text book suggesting the practice of that voicing and you would be hard pressed to find a recording of a pianist playing that particular voicing as well.  so now if you practice that non voicing in all twelve keys and gain some dexterity with it you come up with some cool soundds that can really define a solo piano arrangement and make go a long way to making you an original solo pianist which is the name of the game when are truly trying to be a jazz pianist and not just a lounge pianist.  so i am saying i see a non- voincing in your so what flat five voicing... it is just that recogniaing it as a so what flat five chord helps organzise and practise it which is cool.  but it is still just a non=voicing which is cool because non-coicingc are cool.
interesting idea mike... however i dont know if that so what flat five voicing is actually what you call a non-voicing as you say...i remember being taught that exact voicing for m7b5 chords by a piano teacher over here.  its a pretty biting voicing though because of the minor ninth interval so i dont like it much (i don't think the teacher who taught me it actually plays it much either)..can't say i've really heard anyone play it actually
i was taught to play the major scale 1/2 note above the signature chord ie cminor7b5  play c then the c# major scale.
bmin7b5---b then cmaj scale you may start any where in c maj scale up and down
also used in 'diamond girl' by seals and croft.
i think "i got rhythm" spawned a lot of songs down line as well.
check out the so what and many other voicings techniques at www.coolschoolvideo.com  
it,s a great site you,ll be wondering how you never found it before now.enjoy and have a nice day
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