That’s a big question! It’s pretty simple. Everybody has a level where they’re at and they have a certain repertory of voicing’s that they have for a particular chord. So if I say Abmaj7 – you have what you have of voicings.
So for every chord you have your palette of voicings and with chord melody you have a melody note and a chord symbol. So you can just figure out a voicing that has that note on top (the audience laughs!).
Kurt talks about the exact same subject in this YouTube video about 6:15 minutes in.
In the video Kurt plays though 12 different voicings for Abmaj7. It is of course apparent that the chord symbol of Abmaj7 does not mean that you exclusively use the notes of Abmaj7 (Ab-C-Eb-G), but rather any notes that gives you the sound of that particular chord. Here are the voicings for Abmaj7 as played in the video above.
This got me thinking about my palette of voicings. Okay, maybe for Abmaj7 I've got plenty of voicings to harmonies a melody, but for a chord like a minor7(b5) I've got only a few. So I sad down with Am7b5 and found nice sounding voicings that can be used with any melody note on top. Based on Locrian#2 - this is what I came up with:
This will definitely give me a lot of sound options on that particular type of chord. Now I just need to be able to do this for every type of chord :-D
Please let me know what in the comments below!