Shape Shifter - 3D Guitar Method
Shape Shifter – 3D
Guitar Method
By
Mark B. Sostrin
Shape Shifter – 3D Guitar Method, Version 3.10 (Revised February 2017)
Copyright © May 2015 by Mark B. Sostrin
Contents
Forward ......................................................................................................................................................... 4
Elements of Music......................................................................................................................................... 7
The Guitar Fret Board and Standard Tuning ............................................................................................... 10
Chromatic and Major Scales ....................................................................................................................... 12
Intervals and Frets between Tones............................................................................................................. 18
The Major Scales ......................................................................................................................................... 20
Get Your Fingers Working – Chromatic Scale ............................................................................................. 22
Get Your Fingers Working – Major Scale .................................................................................................... 26
Get Your Fingers Working – Major Chord Triads ........................................................................................ 27
The Major Harmonic Environment ............................................................................................................. 28
Key Designations, Scale Tones and the Harmonic Environment ................................................................ 31
Visualizing Patterns on the Guitar Fret Board ............................................................................................ 34
Constructing Chords.................................................................................................................................... 38
Chord Inversions ......................................................................................................................................... 42
Partial Chords .............................................................................................................................................. 43
Chords Shapes ............................................................................................................................................. 44
Bar Chords ................................................................................................................................................... 51
Chord Extensions and Alterations............................................................................................................... 55
Commonly Used Chord Extensions ............................................................................................................. 58
Scale Shapes ................................................................................................................................................ 62
Repeating and Overlapping Major Scale Shapes and Patterns................................................................... 65
Derived Scale Shapes .................................................................................................................................. 69
The Minor Harmonic Environment ............................................................................................................. 73
Using The Major Scales And Modes............................................................................................................ 76
Modal Harmony .......................................................................................................................................... 79
A Quick Recap ............................................................................................................................................. 81
Rhythm ........................................................................................................................................................ 82
Chord Function and Tendency .................................................................................................................... 88
Modulation ................................................................................................................................................. 92
Chord Substitution ...................................................................................................................................... 94
Chord Quality Interchange .......................................................................................................................... 97
Non-Harmonic Melody Tones ................................................................................................................... 101
Approach Chords ...................................................................................................................................... 102
2
Passing and Connector Chords ................................................................................................................. 103
Using Diminished and Augmented Chords ............................................................................................... 104
Chord Progressions ................................................................................................................................... 106
Improvisation ............................................................................................................................................ 110
Improvisation Over Non-Diatonic Chords ................................................................................................. 117
The Nashville Numbering System ............................................................................................................. 118
Basic Music Composition – Harmonizing the Melody .............................................................................. 119
Cadences ................................................................................................................................................... 122
Song Structures and Formulas for Song Writing ....................................................................................... 123
3
Forward
This book is written for the aspiring guitarist who has not yet found a teacher. It
has been consistently proven that a good guitar teacher will get you to your
destination sooner and with much less wear and tear. So my advice is, first find a
friend, together find a teacher, learn the guitar together and practice and play
together. Until that time comes to pass, this book is my gift to you. I will share
with you what I have learned the hard way. I hope that it saves you time as well
as wear and tear. This book includes a great deal of information, both specifically
for the guitar and also for playing music in general, including music theory,
composition, and songwriting. It is therefore rather complete, so learn what is
most useful to you at a given time and then come back to the book as things
change.
With enough effort on your part, you will begin mastering the instrument.
Mastery should be your goal and nothing less. You must put the time in with your
instrument in order to be successful. There is no substitute for playing each day,
not even a wealth of knowledge and understanding. Playing with another person
will help you immensely. Two heads are better than one. So support each other,
be a kind and patient friend, and help each other to understand and apply the
concepts that you are learning. You will not only learn your instrument, you will
also have a friend to play music with. What a deal, and much more fun.
It is very important to play along with recordings of your favorite songs, various
styles of music, rhythm and jam tracks, etc. Play using either a metronome or
rhythm track that you can set at various tempos. Play slowly at first, do
everything slowly and correctly, and then build up your speed. A simple looper
(available online and in music stores) is a great tool to use, as is Band in a Box
(available online from PGMusic, a very nice Canadian company).
The Shape Shifter - 3D Guitar Method focuses on understanding rather than on
memorization. Understanding how and why things work will help you to be more
creative and give you the skills necessary to further experiment on your own.
Although focused on the guitar, the music theory and application contained
herein can be applied to any instrument. Essential elements of music theory and
composition have been included as they will help you to better understand the
4
music that you are playing and to create your own interesting compositions. You
will also find the knowledge gained invaluable in playing along with other
musicians and in songwriting.
Typically musicians reach a level and stay there for a while before the next
breakthrough. Eventually the breakthrough comes along and then a new level.
The Shape Shifter -3D Guitar Method is designed to quickly breakthrough each
new level and give you the understanding to accomplish your goals. So go with
the flow and use this method to your best advantage. Most importantly you will
thoroughly enjoy playing your guitar and hopefully not ever be bored as you
continue to learn and progress in your mastery of the instrument.
It is highly recommended that you also use YouTube as a valuable source of
learning. There are many great teachers who share their knowledge for free, and
these teachers know more, and are much better guitarists than I am. The
advantage of watching a YouTube video is that you can see and hear what is being
taught. This in my opinion is much better than just reading a book.
Hopefully you will not consider this as ‘just another guitar book’. I have very
thoughtfully decided on this book’s content, organized and ordered all of the
material, and have presented it in my own original fashion, all with the best of
intentions. As I am a very analytical person, I have done my best to be thorough.
Why, you might ask? I only wish that I had access to this information as I tried to
learn guitar and play music on my own without a teacher. I’m sure that I would
be much further along and could have saved a great deal of wear and tear. Alas,
such is life, ‘too soon old and too late smart’. So this book is my personal gift to
you. Although I don’t know you, I respect your efforts and want to help you if at
all possible. Isn’t that what life is all about, helping each other along the way.
And don’t forget about rhythm, rhythm rules so learn to keep good time. Tap
your feet, clap your hands, and also sing along with the various tones and chords
in order to develop good pitch. Good timing, an interesting rhythm, and singing
on key (on pitch) are paramount, particularly for playing with other people. After
you have learned some scales, try to develop good phrasing techniques for
playing leads. It is best to keep things simple at first. Use the chord tones as
starting and ending points for your phrases. Think about the next chord in the
progression, where you have been, and where you are intending to go next.
5
Learn to communicate your music through phrasing and in your own original
style. You are a unique individual, so no need to pattern yourself after someone
else.
I hope that you enjoy this book and succeed in your efforts to master the guitar.
You can use this book as a reference as you continue to learn from others. And
remember to share the wealth. Learning is a lifelong process, so enjoy the
journey, take your time, and don’t worry about it. Be sure to include others on
your way, play lots of music, write some original songs, and make other people
happy. Remember the music is all around us, it is part of being human and there
is no need to be a star or a commercial success. Just enjoy playing music and
make some good friends along the way.
6
Elements of Music
The fundamental elements of music are: Key, Time Signature, Tempo, Rhythm,
Melody, and Harmony. A musical composition or song is set in a given key. A key
is named for its primary tone and given a designation of either major or minor.
The primary or root tone of a key becomes the home or resting place where songs
often begin, keep returning to, and typically end.
Every key has a chromatic twelve-tone scale that is made up from the successive
tones of the scale for that key designation starting with the primary tone or root
note for that scale. There are twelve keys and each of these keys supports a
major and relative minor harmonic environment. It is very easy to move between
the major and relative minor harmonic environments within a given key
designation as they share the exact same tones and chords. The relative minor
harmonic environment is built off of the sixth tone of the major key. This holds
true for all keys. The only difference is the order and spacing between the tones.
The distance between any two tones is known as an interval.
Melodies in popular music generally utilize the tones of the shorter eight-note
major and minor scales, but they may use non-scale chromatic tones including
tones from an octave higher or lower. Although melodies are built from the scale
tones they almost always incorporate skips, jumps, and intervals which make
them unique. A scale is a sequence of notes played in succession without any
skips or jumps. A melody is constructed from the tones of a scale but a melody is
not a scale. It is the creative skips, jumps, and intervals between the scale tones
that make melodies and instrumental improvisation unique and interesting.
Playing the successive notes of a scale is not the same thing as improvising or
playing a lead. Play your leads with good phrasing and learn to communicate in a
unique and interesting fashion.
The notes of a melody are generally played on the higher-pitched treble strings,
chords harmonizing the melody tend to be constructed in the middle, and bass
runs typically utilize the lower-pitched bass strings. This is a general guideline and
not a rule. All six strings and the entire guitar fretboard are at your disposal.
However, it is very important to orient yourself to the treble strings as there is a
natural tendency to view the guitar from the top down (bass to treble) rather
7
than from the bottom up (treble to bass). The melody is generally on the treble
strings and accompanying chords may be constructed there as well. Whether you
are playing rhythm guitar, generating bass lines, or playing a lead or solo will
dictate what string sets you will choose to use.
Music is a language used to tell a story with or without words. Like any good
story teller you must bring life to the story using punctuation, timing and
phrasing, color and dynamics, adding feeling and emotion just like in a spirited
conversation. Take the listener on a journey of changing scenes. Use your own
creativity and imagination to provide a varied landscape with adequate elements
of novelty and surprise, balancing moments of excitement with rest, using both
sound and silence. How you tell the story is very important so make it your own.
All great musical compositions incorporate variety and motion. To add variety
there may be temporary key changes or modulations, changes in tempo, rhythm,
melody and harmony, chord quality interchange, movement between the major,
minor, and modal harmonic environments, chord substitutions, chord extensions
and alterations. Motion is achieved by applying short fills and runs, and by using
approach chords, passing chords, and connector chords between the
fundamental chords in the harmonic environment.
It is important to recognize that music is an art form based on hearing. It is your
ear that must connect with your fingers and not just your brain. Reading a music
book even if you totally understand everything in it will not be enough. You must
spend time playing your instrument and use the techniques you learn while
playing along with recorded music and other people. If you want to get good at
playing your guitar then you must play your guitar. There is no substitute for it.
Like a painter you must first learn your colors and how to mix them. You will then
have a pallet of colors to paint from adding your own uniquely creative and
imaginative spark.
Every pleasing sequence of tones played melodically or harmonically can be
subsequently analyzed and understood using music theory and composition. But
what is most important is that the music be pleasing to the ear. Many great songs
were first created by musicians without any formal music training. It is the sound
that matters and not the analysis.
8
Ultimately everything is important, including posture, how you hold your guitar
and pick, efficient and ergonomic right and left hand movement, and relaxed
fingering. So it is best to check on a variety of sources for these particular aspects
of guitar playing. You will be playing your guitar over a lifetime and it is important
to develop good habits early on. Light strings and lower action on your guitar will
make for easier playing. Don’t press the strings any harder than necessary to
make a clear tone. Learn to play everything in both the open (using the open
strings) and closed (not using the open strings) positions. Experiment and
determine what works best for you based on the sound advice of several people.
For the greatest lifelong satisfaction on a multitude of levels, learn to read music.
Go slowly, take your time and develop good habits early on.
There are many words, and some very unique tables and charts in this book.
Although all of the words are hopefully worth reading, take everything in very
small chunks. Printing out some of the tables and charts that seem interesting to
you is probably a good way to start. Then if you need more information, you can
thoroughly read all of the associated text. Remember that it is the doing that
counts most, so don’t just read about it, do it. Don’t get bogged down trying to
absorb everything at once. You can begin playing your guitar immediately. Try to
master each section before moving on to the next.
9
The Guitar Fret Board and Standard Tuning
The guitar fret board layout is presented in Figure 1a. There are six strings. The
highest sounding (treble) string is referred to as the 1st String. The lowest
sounding (bass) string is referred to as the 6th String. The other strings are named
accordingly (Strings 2-5). The standard tuning for the guitar is as follows:
E – String 6 (fattest string with lowest pitch)
A – String 5
D – String 4
G – String 3
B – String 2
E – String 1 (thinnest string with highest pitch)
These are the names of the notes or tones that you will hear when the guitar is
properly tuned to pitch and the strings are played openly. The names of the
notes or tones for these open strings should be committed to memory.
It is very important that your guitar always be tuned to pitch before playing. Your
guitar also needs to stay in tune when it is played. Playing with the guitar out of
tune will not do particularly when playing with others. It is also necessary that
your instrument have good intonation. You must be able to hear the sometimes
subtle differences in the sounds that are produced. If you cannot hear the melody
clearly or cannot hear the differences between the various types of chords you are
playing, you will have a more difficult time learning and likely not enjoy playing as
much. So get as good a guitar as you can afford rather than a cheap guitar with
poor intonation, and also buy an electronic tuner. Even good guitars are
susceptible to changes due to temperature and humidity so remember to tune
often. Inexpensive backlit electronic tuners make tuning easy even in the dark.
10
Figure 1a.
11
Chromatic and Major Scales
Western (European/American) music uses the 12 tone chromatic scale. So there
is a maximum of twelve tones or notes in any given key. As you move up the
neck (towards the sound hole) along the fret board, each fret is a half step up
from the previous fret. Twelve frets complete an octave. This is just like playing
all of the white and black keys on a piano over the range of an octave.
In practice, the chromatic scale is generally not used in its entirety. A shortened
form called the major scale is used which contains only 8 tones. Actually there
are really only 7 unique tones. The 8th tone is the same as the first tone but an
octave above it. For example, the major scale in the key of C contains the tones C D E F G A B C. Notice that there are no sharps or flats in the major scale for the
key of C. For all other keys there are one or more sharps or flats in their
respective major scales.
In the major scale for any key, there are whole steps (2 frets) between all of the
scale tones except between scale tones 3 & 4, and 7 & 8, which are always
separated by a half step (1 fret). This fact should be committed to memory.
1 2 3v4 5 6 7v8
C D EF G A BC
You can play a complete chromatic scale on a single string of the guitar. As you
move up the neck (towards the sound hole) along the fret board, each fret is a
half step up from the previous fret. For example, the 6th string, when played open
is E, first fret F, second fret F#, third fret G, fourth fret G#, fifth fret A, sixth fret A#,
seventh fret B, eight fret C, ninth fret C#, tenth fret D, eleventh fret D#, and
twelfth fret E, an octave higher.
You can also play a complete major or minor scale on a single string using only the
tones from the major or minor scale. You can play a complete melody on a single
string using any of the tones from the chromatic, major and minor scales.
Although a single string may be used for a period of time within a composition we
typically use multiple strings when playing the guitar. In practice we end up
12
playing the guitar horizontally, vertically, and diagonally taking full advantage of
the multiple strings and the entire fret board.
The standard tuning of the guitar makes it very convenient to make music. Every
tone you need is very close at hand. And it is very easy to build chords and
arpeggios, use chord progressions, and play scales and modes, all the while
staying in the tonality of the key chosen with every note played sounding
absolutely correct with no bad sounding notes.
In reality there are no bad sounding notes that you can’t recover from as long as
you are quick with your wit. Yet at times certain notes may be best avoided.
When playing your guitar, be sure to relax and do not think in terms of good and
bad or right and wrong, just enjoy playing your guitar.
In order to achieve your goals you will need to get familiar with numbering and
naming the scale tones for any given key. You will also need to be able to find the
corresponding notes on the guitar fret board. Again just relax and take your time,
this book is designed to help you do that in a simple manner.
For example, if we number and name the tones for the C major scale we have
eight numbers (1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8) and eight letters (C,D,E,F,G,A,B,C). This example
shows the naming of the notes for the key of C major. We could have chosen
another key. The numbering scheme is identical regardless of the key chosen.
Everything is relative to the tone that we call the tonic or root tone. In the key of
C major this is the tone C. Therefore the C tone was given a number of 1 and all
of the subsequent scale tones were numbered accordingly relative to the starting
tone.
1 2 3v4 5 6 7v8
C D EF G A BC
Had we chosen to show the numbering for the key of F, the F tone would have
been given a number 1, and all of the other tones numbered accordingly. Since
only the key of C major contains no sharp or flat notes, for all other keys at least
one or more of the letters must also be designated with either a sharp ‘#’ or flat
‘b’.
13
For example, if we name the tones for the key of F major which contains 1 flat (Bb)
we have eight numbers (1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8) and eight letters (F,G,A,Bb,C,D,E,F).
1 2 3v4 5 6 7v8
F G A Bb C D E F
In this book most examples will be given for the key of C major. This makes it
easier to follow when all of the examples are for a single key. But it is very
important to understand that what is shown for the key of C major can be applied
to any other key.
You will need to think abstractly to understand the consistent relationships that
are presented in this book. Everything presented is relative to the key
designation chosen. If the key changes everything still holds true, but the
numbering and relationships between the tones, and all the relationships among
the scales, modes, chords and arpeggios are relative to the new key designation.
An important element of the Shape Shifter – 3D guitar method is the concept of
relativity. Everything is always relative to the key designation, its scale tones
and harmonic environment, and the associated numbering and naming of the
notes. Yet all relationships remain the same and are consistent for all keys.
Figure 1b shows a guitar fret board depicting the naming and numbering of the
tones or notes for the C major scale including any flats and sharps that occur
between the tones of the major scale. Although not part of the C major scale,
these tones may also be used in a composition for creating chord extensions and
alterations and as approach, passing and connector tones for adding variety and
motion. For simplicity and to facilitate ease of use, the tones 1 and 8 are both
given the designation 1. As mentioned previously, there are really only seven
distinct tones in a major scale, the 8 tone just being the same as the 1 tone, but
an octave higher.
By looking carefully at the guitar fret board you will begin to see many repetitive
patterns and relationships among the tones. This is worth looking at time and
again. Get very familiar with the numbering and naming of the notes. Remember
that everything is relative to what key you are in. The same patterns and
relationships hold consistently for all keys. Always look for patterns that you can
14
use. Everything is relative to the key you are in and its particular harmonic
environment. There is always more than one way to do everything and tones
with the same pitch appear in multiple places on the fretboard. The guitar
fretboard becomes like the stars in the sky, reach out and pull them down to you.
Depending on the key designation you can designate any tone as being the 1 or
root tone. The physical location on the fret board for the 1 or root tone will vary
based on the key designation chosen. Every repeating relationship and pattern is
exactly the same but the numbering is now relative to the new root tone. Figure
1c shows a guitar fret board depicting the naming and numbering of the tones or
notes for the G major, C major, and F major scales including any flats and sharps
that occur between the tones of the major scale. The numbering for the tones is
always relative to the respective root tone for each given key.
15
Figure 1b.
16
Figure 1c.
17
Intervals and Frets between Tones
All of the distances or intervals between the root tone and the other scale tones
are shown in Figure 2 below based on the twelve tone chromatic scale that we
discussed earlier. The chromatic scale for the key of C major will be used as an
example.
Figure 2. Intervals And Frets Between Tones
C Major Chromatic Scale Intervals
1
b2
2
b3
3
4
b5
5
b6
6
b7
7
8
I
bii
ii
biii
iii
IV
bV
V
bvi
vi
bvii
vii
I
C
Db
D
F
Gb
G
Ab
Root
or
Unison
Minor
Second
Major
Second
Minor
Third
Eb
Major
Third
E
Perfect
Fourth
Perfect
Fifth
1 fret
2 frets
3 frets
4 frets
5 frets
Aug
Fourth
or Dim
Fifth
6 frets
Aug
Fifth or
Minor
Sixth
8 frets
7 frets
A
Bb
B
C
Major
Sixth
Minor
Seventh
Major
Seventh
Octave
9 frets
10 frets
11 frets
12 frets
C Major Scale Intervals
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
I
ii
iii
IV
V
vi
vii
8
I
C
D
E
F
G
A
B
C
Root
or
Unison
Major
Second
Major
Third
Perfect
Fourth
Perfect
Fifth
Major
Sixth
Major
Seventh
Octave
2 frets
4 frets
5 frets
7 frets
9 frets
11 frets
12 frets
Intervals going from one tone to another, and then from that new tone to the
original tone an octave higher always add to nine and the number of frets always
add to twelve. Hence the distance from the root to the perfect fourth is an
interval of a 4th (5 frets) and from the perfect fourth to the root an octave higher
is a 5th (7 frets). The intervals add to 9 and the frets add to 12. From any given
tone, a major 3rd is always 4 frets away, a perfect 4th is always 5 frets away, and a
perfect 5th is always 7 frets away. Moving from a note on one string directly to
the note below it on the next string below it is equivalent to moving a distance of
5 frets, a perfect 4th. These relationships hold true for all keys. These
relationships are worth committing to memory.
It turns out that the relationship between the tones 1, 4, and 5 is the strongest
and most important in all of music. Many popular songs can be played using only
the chords built from these three tones. Look again at the guitar fret board
diagram in Figure 1b and see the close proximity and repeating patterns for these
18
three important tones. We can also see that if an open string is played as the root
tone, its perfect 4th is always located at fret number 5 and its perfect 5th is always
located at fret number 7.
It is important to spend time experimenting with the sounds of the different
intervals. The intervals can be played melodically as arpeggios and harmonically
as partial chords. Intervals can be constructed from any tone in the harmonic
environment. Everything is just relative to the starting tone. The various intervals
are used to add the skips and jumps to melodies and leads in order to make them
interesting and unique. These sounds are the colors that you will paint from.
Notice the use of upper and lower case Roman numerals for the intervals. This is
used to differentiate between the major, minor and diminished chords that are
built from the scale tones. However in practice you may also see only all upper
case Roman numerals used, so it is dependent on the reader’s knowledge to
properly interpret the quality of the chords. The chords in upper case Roman
numerals are structural chords also referred to as primary chords and the chords
in lower case Roman numerals are referred to as secondary chords. There will be
much more on all of this later and you will encounter both methods of
presentation in the book. This is worth mentioning but not worth worrying over,
particularly at this time.
Many songs in popular music, particularly folk songs and blues use only three or
four chords. The chords are strummed and the song is sung without any other
instrumental embellishment. Singing a song with guitar accompaniment can be as
simple as this. However in order to creatively improvise on the guitar you will
need to know and understand other concepts that are easily grasped.
19
The Major Scales
The major scales for each key are depicted in Figure 3a. In order to accommodate
the fact that the three note triad chords built from the major scale can be
extended to include 7ths, 9ths, 11ths, and 13ths, in Figure 3b we have continued
the table beyond the octave to include these extended tones. If you look closely,
you will see that 9ths, 11ths, and 13ths are nothing more than repetitions of the
tones 2, 4 and 6, respectively. Again there are only seven distinct tones in a major
scale.
Major scales are the primary source for improvisation and the scale from which
all modes, chords, arpeggios, and other important scales are derived.
Note that this chart may also be used to transpose a song from one key to
another key just by adhering to the ordering, numbering and naming of the
corresponding tones.
Figure 3a.
Major Scales For All Keys
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
C
Db
D
Eb
E
F
Gb
G
Ab
A
Bb
B
D
Eb
E
F
F#
G
Ab
A
Bb
B
C
C#
E
F
F#
G
G#
A
Bb
B
C
C#
D
D#
F
Gb
G
Ab
A
Bb
Cb
C
Db
D
Eb
E
G
Ab
A
Bb
B
C
Db
D
Eb
E
F
F#
A
Bb
B
C
C#
D
Eb
E
F
F#
G
G#
B
C
C#
D
D#
E
F
F#
G
G#
A
A#
C
Db
D
Eb
E
F
Gb
G
Ab
A
Bb
B
20
Figure 3b.
Extended Major Scales For All Keys
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
C
Db
D
Eb
E
F
Gb
G
Ab
A
Bb
B
D
Eb
E
F
F#
G
Ab
A
Bb
B
C
C#
E
F
F#
G
G#
A
Bb
B
C
C#
D
D#
F
Gb
G
Ab
A
Bb
Cb
C
Db
D
Eb
E
G
Ab
A
Bb
B
C
Db
D
Eb
E
F
F#
A
Bb
B
C
C#
D
Eb
E
F
F#
G
G#
B
C
C#
D
D#
E
F
F#
G
G#
A
A#
C
Db
D
Eb
E
F
Gb
G
Ab
A
Bb
B
D
Eb
E
F
F#
G
Ab
A
Bb
B
C
C#
E
F
F#
G
G#
A
Bb
B
C
C#
D
D#
F
Gb
G
Ab
A
Bb
Cb
C
Db
D
Eb
E
G
Ab
A
Bb
B
C
Db
D
Eb
E
F
F#
A
Bb
B
C
C#
D
Eb
E
F
F#
G
G#
Remember that each major key has a relative minor key that is always based on
the 6th note of the major scale that shares the same tones and chords as in the
major scale’s harmonization. Twice the bang for the buck!
Major Key
C
Db
D
Eb
E
F
Gb
G
Ab
A
Bb
B
Relative Minor Key
Am
Bbm
Bm
Cm
C#m
Dm
Ebm
Em
Fm
F#m
Gm
G#m
21
Get Your Fingers Working – Chromatic Scale
In order to easily play scales and the chords built from scales it will be necessary
to get the fingers of your left hand working properly. There is no time like the
present to begin using all four of your fingers in order to strengthen them and to
establish muscle memory. Probably the best way to approach this is to learn to
play a chromatic scale using all four of the fingers of your left hand. The
chromatic scale on its own is not very interesting, but it is very useful. This is
primarily a hand exercise at this time. You will be learning to use a span of 4-5
frets. Eventually you will end up using elements of the chromatic scale in your
compositions, particularly for runs and fills.
There are various methods to play a chromatic scale, one involving four frets with
a shift in the starting position for each string and the other involving five frets
with a finger shift/stretch of either the 1st or the 4th fingers. Learning to play the
chromatic scale will help you in many ways. The fingerings for playing the
chromatic scale are provided in Figure 4a and Figure 4b. This is not easy so give
yourself ample time and come back to this exercise again and again.
You will come to appreciate later on that almost everything that can be done
regarding scales, modes, arpeggios, chords, harmony, melody and creative
improvisation FOR ALL OF THE KEYS, can be done within a distance of the same 5
frets on the guitar. This includes the major and minor scales, major and minor
pentatonic and blues scales, natural minor scales, harmonic minor scales, melodic
minor scales, etc.). So get those fingers working using 4 and 5 frets.
You can also begin to use a guitar pick at this time. It is suggested that you use a
light or medium guitar pick rather than a heavy one. When you use the flat pick,
use a down motion to play the first note and an up motion to play the next note.
Repeat the down/up motion for the successive notes. Try to minimize the
amount of pick protruding at 90 degrees from between your thumb and tucked in
index finger. It is recommended that you gently tuck in all of your fingers rather
than have them hanging down. The tucked in fingers will provide additional
support and take any undue stress off of your thumb.
22
With regards to the guitar fret board try to keep your thumb in place around the
center of the back of the guitar neck somewhere between where your 1st and 2nd
fingers will be playing. Move your thumb only when necessary and do not press
too hard. Try to move your fingers independently. Press down only hard enough
to cleanly play the note. Minimize any wasted motion. Do not lift the fingers too
high off the fret board. Your hand should be relaxed. Practice playing the
chromatic scale in both ascending and descending order.
23
Figure 4a.
16
15
14
13
Guitar Fret Board – C Chromatic Scale Fingering
12
11
10
9
8
4
16
15
14
13
15
14
13
4
1
2
2
3
1
1
2
1
Guitar Fret Board – C Chromatic Scale Fingering
12
11
10
9
8
7
6
5
4
4
4
16
5
1
2
3
3
4
4
4
4
4
4
4
3
3
3
3
3
3
2
3
4
6
1
2
3
4
4
4
4
4
4
3
4
7
2
2
2
2
2
2
1
1
1
1
1
1
Guitar Fret Board – C Chromatic Scale Fingering
12
11
10
9
8
4
4
4
4
4
3
3
3
4
3
3
2
2
2
3
2
2
1
1
1
2
1
1
24
1
1
1
1
1
1
7
6
5
E
A
D
G
B
E
6th
E
A
D
G
B
E
6th
E
A
D
G
B
E
6th
5th
4th
3rd
2nd
1st
5th
4th
3rd
2nd
1st
4
5th
4th
3rd
2nd
1st
Figure 4b.
16
16
15
15
14
14
13
Guitar Fret Board – C Chromatic Scale Fingering
12
11
10
9
8
4
4
4
4
4
4
4
4
13
Guitar Fret Board – C Chromatic Scale Fingering
12
11
10
9
8
4
4
4
4
4
4
3
3
4
4
4
4
3
3
3
3
3
3
2
2
3
3
3
3
2
2
2
2
2
2
1
1
2
2
2
2
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
25
7
6
5
4
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
7
6
5
E
A
D
G
B
E
6th
E
A
D
G
B
E
6th
5th
4th
3rd
2nd
1st
4
5th
4th
3rd
2nd
1st
Get Your Fingers Working – Major Scale
Play the C Major Scale using the scale patterns presented below. The root tones
are shaded. Listen for the familiar sounds of Do, Re, Mi, Fa, Sol, La, Ti, Do.
Major Scale Patterns or Shapes
16
16
16
15
15
15
14
14
14
13
13
13
12
12
12
11
11
11
10
10
10
9
9
9
8
8
8
26
7
7
7
6
6
6
5
5
5
4
4
4
3
3
3
2
2
2
1
E
A
D
G
B
E
6th
E
A
D
G
B
E
6th
E
A
D
G
B
E
6th
5th
4th
3rd
2nd
1st
1
5th
4th
3rd
2nd
1st
1
5th
4th
3rd
2nd
1st
Get Your Fingers Working – Major Chord Triads
Play the various major chord shapes presented below. The root tones are shaded.
Listen to the sound of the major chord triads.
27
The Major Harmonic Environment
All of the chords based on the major scale are derived from what has been called
the Grand Chord or Grand Key. These chords are used to harmonize melodies
based on the major scale and make up the harmonic environment for the
particular key designation.
If you have a composition in a given key and you play only the tones from the
major scale, the modes derived from the major scale, and the chords built from
the Grand Chord of the major scale, even if you venture off for a while into the
relative minor scale, you cannot play a bad sounding note.
The Grand Chord for the key of C Major is presented in Figure 5. It shows both
Chord Triads and Seventh Chords. The addition of the 7th tone creates a broader
palette of sound textures and also allows greater possibilities for chord
substitution.
28
Figure 5.
THE GRAND CHORD
Key of C Major – The Stacked 3rds Make The Chords
Scale Chord Chord
Chord
Chord
7th
Tone Root Tones
Triad
Tones Chords
13 or 6
A
ACE
Am
ACEG
Am7
613
6135
11 or 4
F
FAC
F
FACE
FM7
461
4613
9 or 2
D
DFA
Dm
DFAC
Dm7
246
2461
7
B
BDF
B°
BDFA
Bø7
724
7246
5
G
GBD
G
GBDF
G7
579
5724
3
E
EGB
Em
EGBD
Em7
357
3572
1
C
CEG
C
CEGB
CM7
135
1357
Some chords may be extended and/or altered
Chord Extensions: 7,9,11,13
Chord Alterations: b5,#5,b9,#9,#11
29
From Figure 5, we see that the chords built to harmonize the tones from the C
Major Scale are as follows:
1
I
2
ii
3
iii
C Major
C
D Minor
Dm
E Minor
Em
C Major 7
CM7
D Minor 7
Dm7
E Minor 7
Em7
Triads
4
IV
5
V
F Major
G Major
F
G
Seventh Chords
F Major 7
G Dom 7
FM7
G7
6
vi
7
vii
A Minor
Am
B Diminished
B°
A Minor 7
Am7
B Minor7 b5
Bø7
Chord triads are built from tones 1,3, and 5 of the major scale.
The chord types for chords built from the tones of a major scale are identical for
every key. The I, IV, and V are always major chords, the ii, iii, and vi are always
minor chords, and the vii is always diminished. This is the harmonic
environment for a major key and should be committed to memory. These
chords will always sound correct in any composition that is in a major key
and/or its relative minor key.
We will wait to address the characteristics and details of the harmonic
environment for the natural minor, the harmonic minor, and the melodic minor
until later in this book. The harmonic minor is most often used in classical music
and the melodic minor is most often used in jazz. They may all be used at any
time regardless of music genre.
30
Key Designations, Scale Tones and the Harmonic Environment
A great tool exists for depicting key designations and the relationships among
keys. This tool is known as the Circle of 5ths. It designates the number of sharps
and flats for each key and the names of the respective notes of the scale which
are either sharp or flat. The closer that the keys are to each other in the diagram
the more they share common tones. For example, the keys of C, F, and G share all
but one single tone and hence they are very closely related.
The tool also depicts the natural movement among chords within a key based on
the theory of chord function and tendency. When traveling counter-clockwise
around the Circle of 5ths, the chords built from the tones follow the II to V to I (2
to 5 to 1) chord progression that is commonly used to establish tonality and for
modulating between keys. With the guitar in standard tuning the sequence of
strings moving from the bass strings towards the treble strings conforms naturally
to the II V I progression inherent in the Circle of 5ths adjusting for the 1 fret shift
between strings 2 and 3.
A modified version of the Circle of 5ths is presented in Figure 6. A description of
the many ways that the Circle of 5ths can be used is presented below.
1. The twelve major key designations are depicted along the donut portion of
the circle.
2. The relative or natural minors for each major key designation are depicted
along the donut-hole portion of the circle under each major key.
3. The numbers of sharps or flats for each key are depicted along the outside
edge of the donut portion of the circle.
4. If you travel clockwise around the circle, the tones ascend in perfect 5ths.
For example, G is the perfect 5th of C.
5. If you travel counter-clockwise around the circle, the tones ascend in
perfect 4ths. For example, F is the perfect 4th of C.
6. The first sharp tone is F. For example, in the key of G, there is 1#, and this
sharp is the tone F.
7. The second sharp tone is C. For example, in the key of D, there are 2#s, and
these sharps are the tones F and C.
31
8. The first flat tone is Bb. For example, in the key of F, there is 1b, and this
flat is the tone Bb.
9. The second flat tone is Eb. For example, in the key of Bb, there are 2bs, and
these flats are the tones Bb and Eb.
10. As you travel clockwise around the circle, sharping the 4th tone of the
major scale of the previous key derives the major scale for the following
key. For example, the scale of G major is the same as the scale of C but with
the 4th tone (F) raised a half step (sharped) to F#.
11. As you travel counter-clockwise around the circle, flatting the 7th tone of
the major scale of the previous key derives the major scale for the following
key. For example, the scale of F major is the same as the scale of C but with
the 7th tone (B) lowered a half step (flatted) to Bb.
12. As you ascend counter-clockwise in perfect 4ths along the circle, the
progression of chords built from these tones adhere to the natural
progression of chords based on chord function and tendency (7 3 6 2 5 1).
13. As you ascend counter-clockwise in perfect 4ths along the circle, the
progression of chords built from these tones follow the II V I progression
that establishes tonality. For example, going from D to G to C, is the II V I
for the key of C major. In practice Dm7 to G7 to CM7 is typically used
rather than just the chord triads. The II V I progression is a substitute for
the IV V I progression and both of these progressions can be used to
establish a new tonality. For modulating to a new key it is best to use the
V7 rather than the V, as the dissonance of the added flat seventh tone begs
for resolution to the new tonic or root.
When chords are used to harmonize a melody and chord substitutions are used,
there may be temporary modulations within a composition. When looking at a
piece of music it may be difficult to discern what key a piece of music is in at a
given time. Looking for the most recent V to I or II to V to I progression is the
most reliable way to determine the key. The circle of 5ths is a great tool. It is like
a reference manual for the relationships among keys and chords in one single
diagram. The original key for any piece of sheet music is depicted in the standard
manner by the number of sharps or flats on the ledger lines appearing in the first
bar of any musical composition.
32
Figure6.
33
Visualizing Patterns on the Guitar Fret Board
Refer again to Figure 1b, which for convenience is presented at the end of this
section. The numbering of the notes for this example is based on the C major
scale for the key of C major. We can see that the following important patterns
exist.
1. As mentioned earlier, we can see that each string contains the complete
chromatic 12 tone scale as well as the shortened 8 tone major and minor
scales.
2. We can see that every tone appears in many places along the fret board.
3. With regards to the important IV V I chord progression we see that the 4 is
always below the 1 on the same fret, and that the 5 is only 2 frets up from
the 4. We can also see that the 5 is always above the 1 on the same fret.
We can see that the 1 is always repeated again two strings down and 2
frets up.
4. With regards to the important II V I chord progression we see that the 2 is
always above the 5 on the same fret, and that the 5 is always above the 1
on the same fret.
5. The unique tuning of the guitar follows the Circle of 5ths. We can see that
if we did not run out of strings, the 7 is always above the 3, the 3 is always
above the 6, the 6 is always above the 2, the 2 is always above the 5, and
the 5 is always above the 1, and the 1 is always above the 4. This follows
the natural progression of chords, and if we could keep going we would see
the entire Circle of 5ths: 7,3,6,2,5,1,4,b7,b3,b6,b2,b5.
6. The major chord triad is built using tones 1, 3, and 5. For the major chord
we can see that the 5 is always above the 1 on the same fret, and that the 3
is always below the 1 but one fret lower.
7. We see that the b7 is always below the 4, this is useful for making
dominant and minor 7ths, while the major 7th is just one fret away.
The more we look at the guitar fret board the more patterns we can see. This
makes it very easy to do everything we need to do. The patterns are consistent,
they never change and they are repeated up and down the fret board,
everything is relative to where you are and to what key you are in. The same
34
patterns exist for all keys. Everything can be done in a variety of ways and not
just in one way. You can build any chord without the need to memorize and
you can play scales and modes in a variety of ways from a variety of starting
positions. If you think out of the box, and experiment creatively and
imaginatively you will find a whole universe of possibilities within the guitar fret
board.
It is important to see that there is a break in the pattern between the 3rd and 2nd
strings. When we move from stings 6 to 5 to 4 to 3, the same patterns exist.
When we move from strings 3 to 2, the note to be played on string 2 is shifted
one fret higher. Then the original pattern returns as we go from strings 2 to 1.
This also means that all chord forms (fingering patterns) from the strings above
must be adjusted if any of the tones will now include the 2nd string. A good
example is the E chord form, which first changes to the A chord form, and then
again changes to the D chord form as it is played from strings above to strings
below. This is very important to recognize and it applies to every chord form
regardless of shape. This does take a while to get comfortable with but you will
soon be good at it. Practice this with a variety of chord forms and scale patterns.
The 6th and 1st strings contain the same tones with sting 1 being two octaves
higher in pitch. Playing a major scale starting on the 6th string and ending on the
1st string enables us to play two full octaves from a fixed position on the fret
board over a range of four to five frets.
It turns out that the relationship between the tones 1, 4, and 5 is the strongest
and most important in all of music. Many popular songs can be played using only
the chords built from these three tones. Look again at the guitar fret board
diagram in Figure 1b and see the close proximity and repeating patterns for these
three important tones. We can also see that if an open string is played as the root
tone, its perfect 4th is always located at fret number 5 and its perfect 5th is always
located at fret number 7.
The I, IV, and V chords are very closely related and are used extensively
appearing in almost every composition. These are often referred to as the
primary chords within a given key. The II, III, VI and VII chords are also used in
most compositions. These are often referred to as secondary chords. The chords
built on tones that are not in the harmonic environment of the parent key are
35
typically used only sparingly and for a shorter duration. Yet we may pass through
any of the diatonic and non-diatonic tones as we travel to our next destination in
a composition wherever that may happen to be.
36
Figure 1b.
37
Constructing Chords
Chords may be constructed for any of the tones within the major scale. The tone
for which a chord is constructed is called the root tone of that chord. Chords are
built by continually stacking intervals of 3rds from the major scale. These
intervals may be major 3rds or minor 3rds.
The major scale tones for the key of C are presented below.
1
C
2
D
3
E
4
F
5
G
6
A
7
B
8
C
There are only four types of chords, major, minor, diminished, and augmented.
Chords consisting of only three tones are called Triads. Their construction is
presented below. The intervals presented are relative to the root tone.
C Major
Triad
Perfect Fifth
Major Third
Root
5
3
1
G
E
C
C Minor
Triad
Perfect Fifth
Minor Third
Root
5
b3
1
G
Eb
C
C Diminished
Triad
Diminished Fifth
Minor Third
Root
b5
b3
1
Gb
Eb
C
C Augmented
Triad
Augmented Fifth
Major Third
Root
#5
3
1
G#
E
C
38
For completeness, it should be noted that there are actually three variations of
triads that are in use, the major with a flatted fifth, the sustained fourth, and
sustained second being altered triads as depicted below.
C Major b5
Triad
Diminished Fifth
Major Third
Root
b5
3
1
Gb
E
C
C Sus4
Triad
Perfect Fifth
Major Fourth
Root
Perfect Fifth
Major Second
Root
5
4
1
5
2
1
G
F
C
G
D
C
C Sus2
Triad
39
You can also view the chords as stacked intervals rather than as intervals from the
root tone. The following table shows the stacked intervals for the four types of
chords. A major triad contains intervals of a major 3rd and a minor 3rd. A minor
triad contains intervals of a minor 3rd and a major 3rd. A diminished triad contains
intervals of a minor 3rd and a minor 3rd. An augmented triad contains intervals of
a major 3rd and a major 3rd.
C Major
Triad
Minor Third
Major Third
Root
5
3
1
G
E
C
C Minor
Triad
Major Third
Minor Third
Root
5
b3
1
G
Eb
C
C Diminished
Triad
Minor Third
Minor Third
Root
b5
b3
1
Gb
Eb
C
C Augmented
Triad
Major Third
Major Third
Root
#5
3
1
G#
E
C
Knowing how chords are constructed and the basic intervals for the four types of
chord triads makes it very easy to build chords on demand without any
memorization. The arrangement of the stacked intervals for the four types of
chords should be memorized.
It is also useful to think in terms of the number of frets between intervals.
Intervals may be played on a single string or across strings. For example, look at
the intervals of a Major Third played on the same string and also played from the
string above to the string below. Both of these intervals in effect encompass the
same number of frets. Using multiple strings shortens the physical distance
between equivalent tones.
40
An alternative way to view the construction of chords and arpeggios is to view
them simply numerically as shown in the table below.
Chord Triads
C
Dm
Em
F
G
Am
B°
Tones To Play
135
246
357
461
572
613
724
Seventh Chords
CM7
Dm7
Em7
FM7
G7
Am7
Bø7
Tones To Play
1357
2461
3572
4613
5724
6135
7246
Thinking in terms of both number and letter names for the scales, chords and
arpeggios is very important. This simple counting will take you far once you
understand the consistent relationships among the tones on the fret board.
Stacking thirds is equivalent to playing every third note from the starting tone
based on the major scale of the key that you are playing in. The intervals may be
major thirds or minor thirds depending on the type of chord being made.
As mentioned earlier in the section on intervals, Roman numerals are used to
represent chords in the harmonic environment and also for depicting chord
progressions. Chords built from each of the unique tones of the major scale
(1,2,3,4,5,6,7) are given the Roman numeral designations of I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII.
Sometimes the minor and diminished chords are given lower case Roman
numeral designations and the major chords are given upper case Roman numeral
designations I, ii, iii, IV, V, vi, vii.
41
Chord Inversions
Every triad (3 notes) chord has two inversions as follows:
Root Position
Root in Bass
G 5
E 3
C 1
1st Inversion
2nd Inversion
Third in Bass
Fifth in Bass
Example - C Major Chord
C 1
E 3
G 5
C 1
E 3
G 5
Every seventh chord (4 notes) chord has three inversions as follows:
Root Position
Root in Bass
B
G
E
C
7
5
3
1
1st Inversion
2nd Inversion
Third in Bass
Fifth in Bass
Example - C Major Seventh Chord
C 1
E 3
B 7
C 1
G 5
B 7
E 3
G 5
3rd Inversion
Seventh in Bass
G
E
C
B
5
3
1
7
Inversions are the same chord but with a different note in the bass and they are
interchangeable. Having a different note in the bass and/or on top can be very
useful for constructing bass lines and melodies and for smoothing out chord
progressions. Inversions can also minimize the distance and hand movement
required to switch between two chords. Inverted chords may have subtle
differences in sound but they have exactly the same function.
42
Partial Chords
It is important to recognize that it is not necessary to play all of the chord tones in
order to imply a given chord. Partial chords may be played, the 5 may be left out,
and even the 1 may be left out (rootless voicing). It is the 3 that gives the chord
its major or minor characteristic so in most cases it should be retained. The 7 or
b7 determines whether it is a major or minor seventh. Leaving the 5 or 1 out of
the chord also gives you more fingers for applying extensions and alterations.
Partial chords using only two or three notes played either melodically (arpeggios)
or harmonically (chords) can be very effective and may even sound better than a
full chord in some cases. You can also include chord extensions and alterations
with partial chords. Partial chords without the root are sometimes referred to as
inside chords. In some cases, the use of partial chords may also require that one
or more strings be muted or dampened. This takes some practice but chord
shapes using one or more muted strings are very popular and used extensively in
jazz. The notes of a chord can also be doubled. Many common chord fingerings
double the root note. For example in rock music, power chords that use only the
tones 1 and 5 may double the root tone. The final chord in a musical composition
is typically a chord triad in root position but with the root doubled so that the key
tone is also the highest pitched.
43
Chords Shapes
At this time we introduce the concept of “chord shape”. Utilizing chord shapes is
integral to the Shape Shifter 3-D guitar method. Everything is relative and
moveable and there are consistent, repeating relationships among various
chord shapes up and down the guitar fret board. All chords can be derived from
three initial major chord triad shapes. Every other chord triad shape (minor,
diminished, augmented) is derived from them. You may add chord extensions
and alterations to the various chord triad shapes as desired.
Figure 7 depicts the C major triads in root position, 1st inversion, and 2nd inversion.
There are three shapes that we begin with using the strings 6, 5 and 4. These
shapes are for the major triad and its two inversions. We see that the exact same
shape used on strings 6,5,4 can be used on strings 5,4,3. If we do this, the chord
that we are playing on strings 5,4,3 is a fourth below the chord we were playing
on strings 6,5,4. This holds true for root position, 1st inversion, and 2nd inversion.
We have now gone from the C chord to the F chord.
We see that as we attempt to use the same shape on strings 4,3,2, an adjustment
must be made. The note to be played on string 2 must be shifted one fret higher,
consistent with the standard tuning of the guitar. We are now playing the Bb
chord, which is a fourth below relative to the previous F chord played on strings
5,4,3. We see that as we attempt to use the same shape on strings 3,2,1, another
adjustment must be made. Again the note played on string 2 must be shifted one
fret higher. We are now playing the Eb chord, which is a fourth below relative to
the previous Bb chord played on strings 5,4,3.
As we move vertically in a downward direction we see that we progress in 4ths,
always remembering to adjust for strings 2 and 3. As we move vertically in an
upward direction, we progress in 5ths, again remembering to adjust for strings 2
and 3. We see that it is very easy to progress to chords that are a 4th or 5th apart.
Although we have used these shapes for a C major chord, we can use the same
shapes for any major chord. All we must do is start on a different fret. Using
these shapes one fret higher would be the C# major chord, and using the shapes
two frets higher would be the D major chord, etc. We see that everything is
44
relative and that the chord shapes are consistent and moveable without any
deviations.
Figure 8 depicts the C minor triads in root position, 1st inversion, and 2nd
inversion. Everything that we discussed above for the major chord shapes applies
one hundred percent to the minor chord shapes. And we can see that we derived
the initial minor chord shapes on strings 6,5,4 from the major chord shapes on
strings 6,5,4, just by lowering the 3rd a half step from E to Eb.
Figure 9 depicts the C diminished triads in root position, 1st inversion, and 2nd
inversion. Everything that we discussed above for the major chord shapes applies
one hundred percent to the diminished chord shapes. And we can see that we
derived the initial diminished chord shapes on strings 6,5,4 from the major chord
shapes on strings 6,5,4, just by lowering the 3rd a half step from E to Eb, and
lowering the 5th by a half step from G to Gb.
Figure 10 depicts the C augmented triads in root position, 1st inversion, and 2nd
inversion. Everything that we discussed above for the major chord shapes applies
one hundred percent to the augmented chord shapes. And we can see that we
derived the initial augmented chord shapes on strings 6,5,4 from the major chord
shapes on strings 6,5,4, just by raising the 5th by a half step from G to G#.
As the melody is typically played on the higher pitched treble strings, it is very
important to focus on strings 1, 2, 3 and 4. Learn to make melody chords using
these strings with the melody tone on top and imbedded directly in the chord
shape. The ordering of these chord shape patterns repeats itself along the guitar
fret board. Knowing the ordering and placement of the repeating patterns gives
you great flexibility.
Any of these chord shapes can be used to play any chord just keep the chord
shape and change the root tone. Everything is moveable and always relative to
the root tone. They can be used to play every chord in the harmonic
environment. The minor, diminished, and augmented chord shapes can be
derived from the major chord shapes as discussed above. Practice shifting shapes
in both directions from 6th string down and from the 1st string up.
Play all of the major, minor, diminished, and augmented chord triad shapes in
Figures 7-10. Try to play the 1, 3, and 5 tones together cleanly with no string
45
buzz. Play them together as chords harmonically and also melodically as
arpeggios. Once you succeed in playing each chord triad shape cleanly, keep the
same chord shape and shift it left and right and up and down the guitar fret
board. If you keep the same shape but shift left or right or up or down along the
guitar fret board you will be changing chords. Listen to the sounds of the various
chord shapes. Make the necessary adjustments when shifting chord shapes
across strings 3 and 2 in both directions (ascending and descending). Try playing
these chord shapes both with and without the use of your 4th finger. Again it is
recommended that you use the 4th finger as much as possible. This also allows
the first finger to function as a full or partial bar for playing bar chords.
46
Figure 7.
47
Figure 8.
48
Figure 9.
49
Figure 10.
50
Bar Chords
We now address the subject of bar chords. Playing bar chords is an important
skill to master. When we play chords in the open (or first) position the nut of the
guitar acts as a bar. If the equivalent of bar string tones are to be sounded as part
of a chord played and we want to shift up the fret board then we must take the
bar with us. Typically the index finger is used to play one or more of these bar
tones. A full bar covers all six strings. An example of a full bar chord for C major
played from the 8th fret is presented below.
13
12
11
10
9
O
O
O
8
7
6
5
4
3
2
1
0
E
A
D
G
B
E
|
|
|
|
|
|
Bar with index finger
Other times we want to bar several notes with a single finger rather than using
multiple fingers for each note. This is called a half bar. An example of a half bar
chord for F major played from the 8th fret is presented below.
13
12
11
10
|
O
|
9
8
7
6
5
4
3
2
1
0
E
A
D
G
B
E
X
|
|
|
|
X
Bar with 3rd finger Notice that on the 8th fret only one tone from the bar is sounded
The use of bar chords is indispensable particularly for rock, jazz and blues. If what
you are playing (scale or chord) requires a bar and you want to move it up or
down the fret board then you must always take a virtual bar with you. Bar chords
for minors and various extensions can all be derived from the major bar chord.
51
Common moveable bar chords are presented below:
13
12
11
10
9
O
O
O
8
7
6
5
4
3
2
1
0
E
A
D
G
B
E
|
|
|
|
|
|
C Major
13
12
11
10
9
O
O
8
7
6
5
4
3
2
1
0
E
A
D
G
B
E
O
X
|
|
|
X
C Major 7th
13
12
11
10
9
O
O
8
7
6
5
4
3
2
1
0
E
A
D
G
B
E
|
|
|
|
|
|
C7
52
13
12
11
10
9
8
7
6
5
4
3
2
1
0
E
A
D
G
B
E
|
|
|
|
|
|
O
O
C Minor
13
12
11
10
9
8
7
6
5
4
3
2
1
0
E
A
D
G
B
E
|
|
|
|
|
|
O
C Minor 7th
13
12
11
10
9
8
7
6
5
4
3
2
1
0
E
A
D
G
B
E
X
|
|
|
|
X
|
O
|
F Major
13
12
11
10
9
O
O
O
8
7
6
5
4
3
2
1
0
E
A
D
G
B
E
X
O
|
|
|
X
F Major 7th
53
13
12
11
10
9
8
7
6
5
4
3
2
1
0
E
A
D
G
B
E
X
|
|
|
|
X
O
O
F7
13
12
11
10
9
O
O
O
8
7
6
5
4
3
2
1
0
E
A
D
G
B
E
X
|
|
|
|
X
F Minor
13
12
11
10
9
O
O
8
7
6
5
4
3
2
1
0
E
A
D
G
B
E
X
|
|
|
|
X
F Minor 7th
54
Chord Extensions and Alterations
Chord triads may be extended and/or altered. Chord extensions like the 7th, 9th,
11th and 13th are based on the continual stacking of 3rds from the major scale.
The chord construction for commonly used chords along with extensions and
alterations is presented below in Figure 11 for the melody tone C. Chords are
constructed in the same way for each and every key. Suspended chords sound
neither major nor minor as the characteristic 3rd tone has been replaced. Often
the major 6th chord is used interchangeably with the major 7th. The dominant
seventh V7 chord is often altered and sounds good with all alterations.
55
Figure 11.
Melody Tone C - Chord Construction With Extensions And Alterations
Major Triad
Minor Triad
Diminished
Triad
Augmented
Triad
Suspended 2nd
Suspended 4th
Dominant 7th
Major 6th
Minor 6th
Major 6 add 9
MinorMajor7th
Minor 7th
Minor 9th
Minor7b5
half-diminished
Diminished 7th
Major 7th
Major 7th#4
Major 9
9th
11th
13th
Alterations
1
C
1
C
1
C
1
C
1
C
1
C
1
C
1
C
1
C
1
C
1
C
1
C
1
C
1
C
1
C
1
C
1
C
1
C
1
C
1
C
1
C
3
E
b3
Eb
b3
Eb
3
E
2
D
4
F
3
E
3
E
b3
Eb
3
E
b3
Eb
b3
Eb
b3
Eb
b3
Eb
b3
Eb
3
E
3
E
3
E
3
E
3
E
3
E
5
G
5
G
b5
Gb
#5
G#
5
G
5
G
5
G
5
G
5
G
5
G
5
G
5
G
5
G
b5
Gb
b5
Gb
5
G
#4
F#
5
G
5
G
5
G
5
G
b7
Bb
6
A
6
A
6
A
7
B
b7
Bb
b7
Bb
b7
Bb
bb7 (6)
A
7
B
7
B
7
B
b7
Bb
b7
Bb
b7
Bb
b5 #5
Gb G#
9
D
9
D
9
D
9
D
9
D
9
D
b9 #9
Db D#
56
11
F
13
A
#11
F#
b13
Ab
Try harmonizing your own melody by using chords only from the harmonic
environment and also by using any chord that contains the tone that you wish to
harmonize. For example, when you analyze some of the available chords, the
melody tone C can be harmonized with any of the chords found in the table below
as all of the chords contain the melody tone C.
Some chords that may be used to harmonize the melody tone C:
C, Cm, C+, C7, Cm6,
C9, C7b5, D7, Dm7,
DbM7, Dbm, D+7,
D7b5, Db+7, Ebo, Eb6,
Ebm6, Eb7, Eb9, E+7,
F, F7, Fm6, Am, Ab7,
Ab6, Am6
Similar types of chords may be used to harmonize other melody tones. The only
rule is that the chord must contain the tone being harmonized. Create your own
very unique and original chord progressions to harmonize your melodies.
57
Commonly Used Chord Extensions
Some commonly used extended chord shapes are provided in the following
diagrams. Remember to strive for understanding rather than memorization.
Endeavor to be able to make any chord, extension, or alteration from anywhere
on the fret board at will. Everything you need can be derived from the initial
three chord shapes.
58
Commonly Used Extended Chord Shapes
59
Commonly Used Extended Chord Shapes
60
Commonly Used Extended Chord Shapes
Practice moving all of these shapes up and down the strings, adjusting for strings 2 and 3 as
necessary. You may be very surprised and even find some new favorite chord shapes to play.
61
Scale Shapes
Major scales are played in a variety of ways but there are really only three distinct
major scale shapes. All other scale shapes are derived from these shapes just
being combinations of various parts of the original three scale shapes. Any of
these scale shapes can be used for playing the major scale and all of its modes.
You may want to stay in one single position on the fret board or you may want to
change shapes in order to change the relative pitch of the tones of the scale and
the chords and arpeggios that are imbedded within the scale shapes.
You can shift from scale shape to scale shape at any time as long as you adhere to
the new pattern and adjust for the 1 fret shift going from string 3 to string 2 in
both directions. You can even shift scale shapes mid-stream and do not have to
complete a whole octave before switching scale shapes. You can change scale
shapes at any time as long as you know where you are within the scale at any
given time.
Figure 12a depicts the three initial major scale shapes. These initial major scale
shapes should be memorized. Practice using these three scale shapes alone and
in combination. The scale shapes shown in Figure 12a all start on the 6th string.
Try starting each of these major scale shapes on different strings and frets making
any necessary adjustments.
Figure 12b depicts the three initial relative or natural minor scale shapes derived
from the three initial major scale shapes. A relative or natural minor scale
contains a b3, b6, and b7. In this case all we did is keep the scale shape for the
major scale but change the starting tone. Instead of starting from tone 1 of the
major scale we started on tone 6, the root tone for the relative minor. These
initial minor scale shapes should be memorized. Try starting each of these minor
scale shapes on different strings and frets making any necessary adjustments.
After experimenting with mixing the various scale shapes, focus on a single scale
shape over a range of two octaves and learn it down pat. Learn to play the major
scale and the relative minor scale. Learn to play all of the modes, chords, and
arpeggios within the harmonic environment for the parent key imbedded within
the scale shape. Practice playing scales for various keys within the same 4-5 frets.
62
Figure 12a. Major Scale Shapes
16
16
16
15
15
15
14
14
14
13
13
13
12
12
12
11
11
11
10
10
10
9
9
9
8
8
8
63
7
7
7
6
6
6
5
5
5
4
4
4
3
3
3
2
2
2
1
E
A
D
G
B
E
6th
E
A
D
G
B
E
6th
E
A
D
G
B
E
6th
5th
4th
3rd
2nd
1st
1
5th
4th
3rd
2nd
1st
1
5th
4th
3rd
2nd
1st
Figure 12b. Relative or Natural Minor Scale Shapes
16
16
16
15
15
15
14
14
14
13
13
13
12
12
12
11
11
11
10
10
10
9
9
9
8
8
8
64
7
7
7
6
6
6
5
5
5
4
4
4
3
3
3
2
2
2
1
E
A
D
G
B
E
6th
E
A
D
G
B
E
6th
E
A
D
G
B
E
6th
5th
4th
3rd
2nd
1st
1
5th
4th
3rd
2nd
1st
1
5th
4th
3rd
2nd
1st
Repeating and Overlapping Major Scale Shapes and Patterns
When you are playing close to the headstock of the guitar (the open position),
you are limited by the nut. You can use the open strings as part of your scale
shape but you can’t go any further in that direction. So if you need another note
you must find it in the other direction. This somewhat limits your choice of scale
shapes to choose from. When you are playing away from the headstock (closed
position) you have many more options to choose from as you can move up and
down the neck of the guitar for the desired note.
Figure 12c depicts some of the choices available for playing a major scale when
you are not limited by the nut of the guitar. Remember that any of the scale
shapes may be used starting on any string on any fret as long as you adhere to the
pattern and make the adjustment going from string 3 to string 2 in both
directions.
Looking closely at Figure 12c we can see repeating and overlapping scale shape
patterns moving up and down the fret board. This repeating pattern is consistent
for all keys relative to the root or starting tone for that particular key. This gives
us the ability to play the same scale at many locations on the fret board in a
variety of ways, yet in a very predictable manner. Regardless of what string and
fret we may start at (root tone), we have more than one choice and can move in
either direction.
It is important to recognize that for any given key, when we talk about scales,
chords and arpeggios, we are talking about closely connected and related
elements. Everything is derived from the major scale. Scales are tones played
individually in a sequence, chords are tones from the scale played together
(harmonically), and arpeggios (often referred to as broken chords) are tones of
chords played sequentially like a scale. Chords and arpeggios can also be played
in all of their inversions. The chord shapes and arpeggios are imbedded within
the scale shapes. The creative use of all three in combination provides a whole
world of possibilities for creating melodies, harmonies, and for improvisation and
playing leads. Figure 12d depicts the imbedded chord shapes and arpeggios for
the closed position scale shapes for the D major scale that were shown in Figure
12c. Notice that there are multiple ways to play the chord shapes and arpeggios
65
imbedded in every scale shape when you include the inversions. The repeating
and overlapping scale shapes are sometimes named by the chord shapes
contained within them, C, A, G, E, D.
A very useful exercise is to limit your playing to the use of only certain strings,
e.g., 6,5,4 or 5,4,3 or 4,3,2 or 3,2,1. Try to do all of the things you want to do but
limit yourself to using limited sets of strings. In particular, try limiting yourself to
playing on string sets 4,3,2,1 and 3,2,1. This is very important as the melody
notes are usually on top (higher pitched) and are generally played on the first
three strings.
66
Figure 12c. Major Scale Shapes in Closed Position – D Major Scale
16
16
16
16
16
15
15
15
15
15
14
14
14
14
14
13
13
13
13
13
12
12
12
12
12
11
11
11
11
11
10
10
10
10
10
9
9
9
9
9
8
8
8
8
8
67
7
7
7
7
7
6
6
6
6
6
5
5
5
5
5
4
4
4
4
4
3
3
3
3
3
2
2
2
2
2
1
E
A
D
G
B
E
6th
E
A
D
G
B
E
6th
E
A
D
G
B
E
6th
E
A
D
G
B
E
6th
E
A
D
G
B
E
6th
5th
4th
3rd
2nd
1st
1
5th
4th
3rd
2nd
1st
1
5th
4th
3rd
2nd
1st
1
5th
4th
3rd
2nd
1st
1
5th
4th
3rd
2nd
1st
Figure 12d. D Major Scale Shapes Depicting Imbedded Chords and Arpeggios
68
Derived Scale Shapes
In addition to the major and minor scales, there are other important scales that
are prominently used in popular music (folk, country, rock, soul, R&B and blues).
These are the major and minor pentatonic scales and the major and minor blues
scales, and they are all derived from the major scale.
Figure 13a shows some alternate scale shapes in closed position for a D major
pentatonic scale which is a shortened five tone scale that includes tones 1,2,3,5
and 6. The relative minor pentatonic (B minor) uses the exact same scale pattern
but instead of beginning the scale on the root or 1 tone you begin on the 6 tone.
This gives it a minor sounding quality quite distinctive from the major sounding
quality. The major and minor pentatonic scales have five modes, each one
beginning on a different starting tone of the five tone scale.
Figure 13b shows some alternate scale shapes in closed position for a D major
blues scale which adds one blue note, the b3 to the major pentatonic scale, giving
it a blues sounding quality. The relative minor blues scale (B minor) uses the
exact same scale pattern but instead of beginning the scale on the root or 1 tone
you begin on the 6 tone. The blues scale can also be altered by adding additional
tones to the scale such as b5, b7, 7 and 4. This adds some chromatic components
to the scale.
It is important to note that there are many other scales which will not be
discussed in this book. These are traditionally used in international folk and
ethnic music. They may characteristically sound Mediterranean or Eastern
European or Far Eastern or Spanish or Oriental, etc., all based on the number of
tones and the intervals between the tones in each scale. Figure 14 provides a
small sampling of scales that are used in international folk and ethnic music.
69
Figure 13a. Major Pentatonic Scale Shapes in Closed Position – D Major Pentatonic Scale
16
16
16
16
16
15
15
15
15
15
14
14
14
14
14
13
13
13
13
13
12
12
12
12
12
11
11
11
11
11
10
10
10
10
10
9
9
9
9
9
8
8
8
8
8
70
7
7
7
7
7
6
6
6
6
6
5
5
5
5
5
4
4
4
4
4
3
3
3
3
3
2
2
2
2
2
1
E
A
D
G
B
E
6th
E
A
D
G
B
E
6th
E
A
D
G
B
E
6th
E
A
D
G
B
E
6th
E
A
D
G
B
E
6th
5th
4th
3rd
2nd
1st
1
5th
4th
3rd
2nd
1st
1
5th
4th
3rd
2nd
1st
1
5th
4th
3rd
2nd
1st
1
5th
4th
3rd
2nd
1st
Figure 13b. Major Blues Scale Shapes in Closed Position – D Major Blues Scale
16
16
16
16
16
15
15
15
15
15
14
14
14
14
14
13
13
13
13
13
12
12
12
12
12
11
11
11
11
11
10
10
10
10
10
9
9
9
9
9
8
8
8
8
8
71
7
7
7
7
7
6
6
6
6
6
5
5
5
5
5
4
4
4
4
4
3
3
3
3
3
2
2
2
2
2
1
E
A
D
G
B
E
6th
E
A
D
G
B
E
6th
E
A
D
G
B
E
6th
E
A
D
G
B
E
6th
E
A
D
G
B
E
6th
5th
4th
3rd
2nd
1st
1
5th
4th
3rd
2nd
1st
1
5th
4th
3rd
2nd
1st
1
5th
4th
3rd
2nd
1st
1
5th
4th
3rd
2nd
1st
Figure 14. A Sampling of International Folk and Ethnic Scales
1
2
3
Arabian
4
5
6
7
8
C
D
E
F
Gb
Ab
Bb
C
5
6
7
8
1
2
3
Egyptian
4
C
Db
E
F
G
Ab
B
C
1
2
3
Gypsy
4
5
6
7
8
C
Db
E
F
G
Ab
B
C
5
6
7
8
1
2
3
Hindu
4
C
D
E
F
G
Ab
Bb
C
1
2
3
Japanese
4
5
6
7
8
C
Db
F
G
Ab
1
2
3
Oriental
4
5
6
7
8
C
Db
E
F
Gb
A
Bb
C
5
6
7
8
G
Ab
Bb
C
1
2
3
Spanish
4
C
Db
E
F
C
Note that some of these scales use fewer tones than the major scale. There are
many other types of scales that are used in music around the world and for a
variety of instruments. Some use fewer tones and some use more tones. It may
be important for you to try out some of the scales in Figure 14 in order to get out
of the rut of playing what you have already heard and what everyone else is
always playing. Look around for interesting international scales and try them out.
72
The Minor Harmonic Environment
We now address minor harmony. Minor harmony is more complex because there
are three types of minor scales, the natural minor scale, the harmonic minor
scale, and the melodic minor scale.
The major scale and its relative minor share the same key designation (the
number of b’s or #’s) and they contain the exact same tones and chords only
beginning on a different root tone. The major scale begins on tone 1 whereas
the relative minor begins on tone 6 of the major scale. If we look at the Key of C
Major (A Minor), we see that A is the sixth note from the C major scale.
1
C
2
D
3
E
4
F
5
G
6
A
7
B
8
C
Earlier we saw that the chords built for harmonizing the C major scale were as
shown below.
C Major
C
D Minor
Dm
E Minor
Em
C Major 7
CM7
D Minor 7
Dm7
E Minor 7
Em7
Triads
F Major
G Major
F
G
Seventh Chords
F Major 7
G Dom 7
FM7
G7
A Minor
Am
B Dim
B°
A Minor 7
Am7
B Minor7 b5
Bø7
Thus from the chart we see that the harmonization of the C major scale is as
follows is:
CM7 Dm7 Em7 ^ FM7 G7 Am7 Bø7 ^ CM7
Whereas the A natural minor scale begins on A as follows:
1
A
2
B
3
C
4
D
5
E
6
F
7
G
8
A
The harmonization of the A natural minor scale is as follows:
Am7 Bø7^ CM7 Dm7 Em7^ FM7 G7 Am7
73
The only difference is the displacement of the intervals due to the change in the
root tone. The tones and the chords in the major scale and relative minor scale
are identical. It is very easy to move from the major to the minor and to use both
of these scales within a single composition. Compared to the major scale, the
natural minor contains a b3, b6 and b7. That is what gives it its minor character.
Comparing the A natural minor scale and chords to the A major scale and chords
we can see that the tones 3, 6 and 7 are flatted for the natural minor scale as
discussed above. And we can see that the tones and chords of the A minor scale
are the same as the tones of the C major scale only with a change in the tonic or
root (from C to A).
A
AM7
B
Bm7
C#
C#m7
A
Am7
B
Bø7
C
CM7
Key of A Major
D
E
DM7
E7
Key of A Minor
D
E
Dm7
Em7
F#
F#m7
G#
G#ø7
A
AM7
F
FM7
G
G7
A
Am7
The harmonic minor contains only a b3 and b6. This alters some of the chords in
the harmonic environment.
A
B
Aminmaj7 Bø7
C
CM7#5
D
Dm7
E
E7
F
FM7
G
G°7
A
Aminmaj7
In classical music, the melodic minor has two forms one for ascending and one for
descending. The ascending melodic minor contains a b3 only. The descending
form of the melodic minor is the same as the natural or relative minor and
contains a b3, b6 and b7.
This alters some of the chords in the harmonic environment.
A
B
Aminmaj7 Bm7
C
CM7#5
D
D7
E
E7
F
Fø7
G
G#ø7
A
Aminmaj7
The melodic minor scale used extensively in contemporary jazz uses the same
ascending melodic minor scale both ascending and descending.
74
For direct comparison purposes we now show the scales and their harmonization
for the C major scale, the C natural minor scale, the C harmonic minor scale, and
the C melodic minor scale.
C
CM7
D
Dm7
C Major Scale and Harmonization
E
F
G
A
Em7
FM7
G7
Am7
C
Cm7
D
Dø7
C Natural Minor Scale and Harmonization
Eb
F
G
Ab
EbM7
Fm7
Gm7
AbM7
Bb
Bb7
C
Cm7
C
Cminmaj7
D
Dø7
C Harmonic Minor Scale and Harmonization
Eb
F
G
Ab
EbM7#5
Fm7
G7
AbM7
B
B°7
C
Cminmaj7
D
Dm7
C Melodic Minor Scale and Harmonization
Eb
F
G
A
EbM7#5
F7
G7
Aø7
B
Bø7
C
Cminmaj7
C
Cminmaj7
B
Bø7
C
CM7
Notice that the parent key for the C natural minor (relative minor scale of Eb) is
the key of Eb major which shares the same key designation and has the same
tones and chords but with displaced intervals.
75
Using The Major Scales And Modes
For every major key, the major scale has seven modes, the same number of
modes as the number of distinct tones within the scale itself. Modes are just
displaced scales. The major scale starts on the root tone and follows a set
ordering of steps. Modes start on a scale tone other than the root tone. As
indicated earlier, in the major scale for any key, there are whole steps (2 frets)
between all of the scale tones except between scale tones 3 & 4, and 7 & 8, which
are always separated by a half step (1 fret). The Ionian mode is identical to the
major scale as it begins with the root tone for the scale.
So for example, the ordering of steps is as follows for the key of C major:
1 2 3v4 5 6 7v8
C D EF G A BC
The other modes begin on a tone other than the root tone. Modes must adhere
to the ordering of steps from the parent scale even though they begin on a tone
other than the root. For the key of C major there are seven modes as follows:
Ionian
Dorian
Phrygian
Lydian
Mixolydian
Aeolian
Locrian
starts on root tone of major scale
starts on second tone of major scale
starts on third tone of major scale
starts on fourth tone of major scale
starts on fifth tone of major scale
starts on sixth tone of major scale
starts on seventh tone of major scale
C
D
E
F
G
A
B
Staying with the ordering of steps from the parent major scale of C major, there
are whole steps between all tones but E^F and B^C which are only a half step
apart. So for the modes there is a displacement to the ordering. For example in
the Ionian mode, the half steps occur between 3 & 4 and 7 & 8 (as it does in every
major scale). In the Dorian mode, the half steps occur between 2 & 3 and 6 & 7,
etc. All seven of the modes contain the same tones but there is a displacement of
the intervals. The Aeolian mode is identical to the natural or relative minor scale
of the parent key. Notice for the key of C, the Aeolian mode starts on tone 6, the
starting tone for the relative minor (Am).
76
Modes are used in improvisation along with the major scale. Once you have
learned just one fingering pattern for a major scale you can also play all the
modes of that scale, just keep the same fingering pattern and change the starting
note. The modes of the C major scale are presented in Figure 15.
Figure 15.
Mode
Ionian
Dorian (b7,b3)
Phrygian (b7,b6,b3,b2)
Lydian (#4/b5)
Mixolydian (b7)
Aeolian (b7,b6,b3)
Locrian (b7,b6,b5,b3,b2)
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
C
D
E
F
G
A
B
D
E
F
G
A
B
C
E
F
G
A
B
C
D
F G
G A
A B
B C
C D
D E
E F
A
B
C
D
E
F
G
B
C
D
E
F
G
A
C
D
E
F
G
A
B
One full-proof method for improvisation is to play leads over chords using only
the modes built from the 1,3, and 5 tones that make up the chord. For any given
chord triad you can play three different modes based directly on these chord
tones. For example, to improvise over the C major chord triad, you can play the
Ionian mode (major scale) starting on the tonic or root tone, you can play the
Phrygian mode starting on the third tone, and you can play the Mixolydian mode
starting on the fifth tone. The same applies when you change chords. Just play
the appropriate modes for the new 1, 3, and 5 tones based on the parent key.
This gives you a world of possibilities for improvisation while staying in the
harmonized environment of the parent key.
77
The table below is constructed for the parent key of C major and designates the
three modes that can be played for the various chords in the harmonic
environment. Try playing the appropriate modes based on the chord triad tones
for each chord in the harmonic environment. Play the chord several times then
play the modes. Mix it up and experiment with the sounds.
Chord
C
Dm
Em
F
G
Am
B°
Starting Tone
G
E
C
A
F
D
B
G
E
C
A
F
D
B
G
E
C
A
F
D
B
Mode
Mixolydian
Phrygian
Ionian
Aeolian
Lydian
Dorian
Locrian
Mixolydian
Phrygian
Ionian
Aeolian
Lydian
Dorian
Locrian
Mixolydian
Phrygian
Ionian
Aeolian
Lydian
Dorian
Locrian
78
Modal Harmony
Not to be confused with the modes of a single major scale as discussed above,
there is another type of harmony called modal harmony. In modal harmony, each
mode begins with the same root tone and the scale displacements are now
relative to the parent keys associated with each mode that is being played.
Figure 16 shows the scheme for the C modal environment which uses the same
tone C as the root tone for all of the various modes. Notice the different parent
keys for each mode. Playing each mode is just like playing the major scale of a
different parent key but starting on a note other than the tonic or root of the
parent key. So you must be careful not to place too much emphasis on the root
tone of the parent key or you will get the impression that you are in the parent
key rather than in the intended mode.
Figure 16.
Parent Key
C (Am)
Parent Key
Bb (Gm)
Parent Key
Ab (Fm)
Parent Key
G (Em)
Parent Key
F (Dm)
Parent Key
Eb (Cm)
Parent Key
Db (Bbm)
C Ionian
C Modal Harmony
CM7 Dm7
Em7
FM7
G7
Am7
Bø7
C Dorian
Cm7
Dm7
EbM7 F7
Gm7
Aø7
BbM7
C Phrygian
Cm7
DbM7
Eb7
Fm7
Gø7
AbM7 Bbm7
C Lydian
CM7
D7
Em7
F#ø7
GM7
Am7
Bm7
C Mixolydian
C7
Dm7
Eø7
FM7
Gm7
Am7
BbM7
C Aeolian
Cm7
Dø7
EbM7 Fm7
Gm7
AbM7 Bb7
C Locrian
Cø7
DbM7
Ebm7
GbM7
Ab7
Fm7
Bbm7
In the case of modal harmony you could use the same technique as before for
playing modes, you stick to a fingering pattern but start on a tone other than the
root (except for Ionian). But in this case you must do this relative to the parent
key for that particular mode. The root tone of the parent key changes for each of
the modes even though the fingering patterns do not and the starting tone is
always the same.
79
For example, to play a C Mixolydian mode you could use the F major scale pattern
but begin playing from tone C. Similarly to play the C Aeolian mode you could use
the Eb major scale pattern but begin playing from tone C.
Fortunately there is an alternative way to view the construction of these modes
by looking at the number of flats in a given mode. This gives you a way to
construct modes from the major scale of a single key rather than thinking in terms
of changing parent keys for each mode. The table below shows the names of the
flat tones for the various modes.
Parent Key
C (Am)
Parent Key
Bb (Gm)
Parent Key
Ab (Fm)
Parent Key
G (Em)
Parent Key
F (Dm)
Parent Key
Eb (Cm)
Parent Key
Db (Bbm)
Mode
C Ionian
Flat Tones For The Key Of C Major
None
C Dorian
b7 , b3
C Phrygian
b7, b3, b6, b2
C Lydian
#4 (b5)
C Mixolydian
b7
C Aeolian
b7, b3, b6
C Locrian
b7, b3, b6, b2, b5
For example, from the table we see that we can play a C Mixolydian mode just by
starting on C and playing a C major scale with a b7. Similarly we can play a C
Dorian mode just by starting on C and playing a C major scale with a b7 and b3,
etc.
80
A Quick Recap
Every key has a major scale and a relative minor scale which share the same
tones. The only difference is the starting tone and the intervals between the
tones. The major scale starts on tone 1 whereas the relative minor scale starts on
tone 6. This displaces the intervals between the tones.
There are only three starting shapes for a major scale. All other scale shapes can
be derived from these three, just being combinations of two of the three original
scale shapes. Other important scales like the major pentatonic, minor pentatonic,
and major and minor blues scales can all be derived from the three initial major
scale shapes.
There are only four basic chord types, major, minor, diminished and augmented.
There are only three starting shapes for a major chord triad (root position, 1st
inversion, and 2nd inversion). The chord shapes for the minor, diminished and
augmented chords can all be derived from the three initial major chord triad
shapes.
All of the scale tones, modes, chords and arpeggios necessary to create melodies,
supporting harmonies, and to do creative improvisation are imbedded in each and
every one of the major scale shapes. You may also use chromatic tones.
You are free to use any scale shape or chord shape that you choose to use
regardless of the location of the root tone. You can use any of the various scale
shapes or chord shapes starting on any string and on any fret. You can modify the
use of the scale shapes and chord shapes as long as you always make the
necessary one fret adjustment between the 3rd and 2nd strings in both directions.
You can shift between the various scale shapes and chord shapes at any time
when necessary or convenient, even within an octave. You only need keep track
of where you have been, where you are at the current time, and where you are
going. There are many repeating patterns on the guitar fret board. The same
patterns and relationships found on the guitar fret board hold for each and every
key. Everything is relative to the key you are playing in, its associated root or
starting tone, and the harmonic environment.
81
Rhythm
We have taken an in-depth look at major and minor keys, scales, modes, chords
and arpeggios. We now look at rhythm which many would argue is equal to
melody in importance. An interesting rhythm can capture your interest in a way
comparable to that of an interesting melody. When an interesting melody and an
interesting rhythm are combined it becomes almost magical as the tune
immediately becomes recognizable. Play even one or two bars of the song and
everyone can “name that tune”. When lyrics are added you have a memorable
hook that stays with the listener even after the song has finished playing. Many
people don’t care about melody, harmony or lyrics. They only want to hear a
rhythm that gets their feet tapping and their whole body moving, and typically
this rhythm will have a lively tempo.
Rhythm is a combination of beat, meter, accents and feeling all occurring at a
given tempo. Keeping in synchronization with the beat is referred to as timing.
Most people either have it or they don’t but like anything else it can be learned.
Timing can also be associated with singing where it is referred to as phrasing.
Singers with good phrasing sing rhythmically. Once a rhythm is established it is
very important to be consistent and to watch your timing. This makes it easier for
the listener to feel the music, particularly if you want them to dance. It is very
important to keep each rhythm pattern consistent even if you are not playing a
note at the time. Internalize the rhythm and tap your feet if necessary. If the
rhythm gets distorted or falls apart, the listener will be negatively impacted.
Rhythm is composed of layers. The first layer is a beat or pulse. An endless
stream of recurring beats at fixed interval (speed or tempo), just like a beating
heart. The next layer is meter, where this pulse is divided into measures or bars
of fixed length containing both strong and weak beats. The final layer is rhythm
where notes and silences of various temporal durations are applied with or
against the meter, some on strong beats and others on weak beats. When the
accents occur on weak beats rather than strong beats it is called syncopation or
back beat.
Meters are first designated as being either duple, triple or quadruple. In duple
meter the measure is broken down into 2 beats; in triple meter the measure is
broken down into 3 beats; and in quadruple meter the measure is broken down
82
into 4 beats. But meter does not end here. Each of these initial meter
designations are further broken down. When each initial beat of the meter is
further broken down into 2 beats, this is called simple meter. When each initial
beat of the meter is further broken down into 3 beats, this is called compound
meter. The first beat of a measure is usually the strong beat while the others are
weak beats, however accents may be placed anywhere to strengthen an
otherwise weak beat. For example, in 4 / 4 time the third beat may also be
slightly accented.
1
2
l
l
Simple Duple
l l
l l
1 and 2 and
Compound Duple
l l l
l l l
1 and a 2 and a
1
2
3
l
l
l
Simple Triple
l l
l l
l l
Compound Triple
l l l
l l l l l l
Duple
Triple
Quadruple
Simple Quadruple
|
|
|
Counting the Beats
|
1
Counting the Beats
|
1
2
3
1 and 2 and 3 and
1 and a 2 and a 3 and a
1
2
3
4
l
l
l
l
l l
l l
l l
l l
Compound Quadruple l l l
2
Counting the Beats
|
l l l l l l l l l
83
1
2
3
4
1 and 2 and 3 and 4 and
1 and a 2 and a 3 and a 4 and a
It is important to recognize that it is the further breaking down of the initial
meter designations that enable you to better feel a rhythm and that gives you
the opportunity for applying various accents with or against (syncopation and
backbeat) the meter, as well as more locations within a given bar for the
placement of melody notes and their associated chord harmonies.
A complex meter combines two or more different meter types within a single
measure or bar. So we can have duple, simple duple, compound duple; triple,
simple triple, compound triple; quadruple, simple quadruple, compound
quadruple; and complex meters. A longer piece of music will typically use a
variety of meters within the composition.
A piece of music is given an initial time signature that designates how many beats
there are per measure and the note value duration that comprises a single beat.
The most common time signatures are 4 / 4 (four beats per measure with a
quarter note getting a beat), 2 / 4 (two beats per measure with a quarter note
getting a beat), 3 / 4 (3 beats per measure with a quarter note getting a beat), and
6 / 8 (6 beats per measure with an eighth note getting a beat).
For simple meters the top number of the time signature is usually 2, 3, or 4; while
for compound meters the top number of the time signature is usually 6, 9, or 12.
The note duration getting a single beat is usually 2, 4, or 8. The time signatures
for complex meters typically have top numbers such as 5, 7, 9, 11, 13, or 15, as
they are combinations of two or more meters.
Within a given measure, you cannot exceed the number of notes or rests that are
available as per the designated time signature. However you may use any note or
rest value durations as long as you stay within the limit. For example in a time
signature of 6 / 8, you cannot exceed the equivalent of 3 quarter notes or rests, 6
eighth notes or rests, 12 sixteenth notes or rests, or 24 thirty second notes or
rests, or 1.5 half notes or rests.
A piece of music is also given an initial tempo designation typically stated in the
number of beats per minute (bpm). The slower tempos, Largo, Larghetto, and
Adagio range from 40 – 76 bpm; Andante and Moderato range from 76 – 120
bpm; Allegro, Presto, and Prestissimo range from 120 – 208 bpm. For comparison
84
purposes, the average heart rate or pulse is around 72 bpm, while most hit pop
songs are typically around 100 – 120 bpm, a relatively lively tempo.
The melody that is to be played or sung within a given measure consists of a
variety of notes of varying duration and pitch, as well as rests of varying duration
that are placed both with and against the underlying meter. The piece of music is
played or sung rhythmically according to the underlying meter and the various
accents.
Although all of the other elements like melody and harmony are applied with
the left hand, rhythm is a right hand technique and it is very important.
Just as it is desirable to have variety in the melodic and harmonic elements of a
composition the same is true with regards to rhythmic variation within a
composition unless you are applying a strict steady dance rhythm. For dance
music each type of dance form has its own distinctive combination of meter,
accents, tempo, and feeling. Once a rhythm pattern is established it typically
does not vary. Some dance forms incorporate syncopation and some do not.
Another factor to consider is whether you enjoy using a pick or just using your
fingers to pluck the strings with your right hand. You can do one or the other or
both in combination. Some people like to use a flat pick while others may like a
thumb pick or even individual finger picks.
Some people get very adept at finger picking and stick to that style alone. The
continual rolling motion of finger picking gives the song a broad and pleasing
harmonic background that is not easily achieved with a flat pick. However like
anything else it can be overused. Many blues players use a thumb pick. Thumb
picks are also used in the Chet Atkins style of playing.
It is good to be able to both flat pick and finger pick.
On the following pages some common patterns will be provided for finger picking
and flat picking. Try keeping to the given pattern while always staying on the
beat. Eventually you will be able to keep the same pattern going even as you
change chords. It is the constancy of the pattern that makes the rhythm work so
well. Always strive to be consistent rhythmically and to keep good time.
85
The designations used for finger picking are as follows: T=thumb, I=index finger,
M=middle finger, R=ring finger.
4/4 Time – Quarter Notes
T
I
T
M
R
1
2
3
Count
Count
Count
Count
T
1
I
&
I
M
R
4
4/4 Time – Eighth Notes
M
R
T
2
&
3
T
I
1
&
4/4 Time – Eighth Notes
M
I
T
R
2
&
3
I
&
4/4 Time – Eighth Notes
M
I
R
2
&
3
T
1
I
&
M
4
R
&
I
I
&
I
&
&
M
R
4
I
&
M
4
Count
1
3/4 Time – Quarter Notes
T
T
T
M
M
R
R
2
3
1
Count
T
1
3/4 Time – Eighth Notes
I
M
R
&
2
&
M
3
I
&
3/4 Time – Eighth Notes
I
M
I
R
&
2
&
M
R
3
I
T
T
Count
1
86
T
M
R
2
T
M
R
3
&
You can also combine finger picking with strumming. You first use your thumb or
pick to play a bass note and then you sweep the stings with your thumb or one or
more fingers for the strum, using either up or down motions. The designations
are as follows: T=thumb, ↑=up, ↓=down.
Count
Count
T
1
T
1
2/4 Time – Eighth Notes
T
↓
↑
&
2
&
1
3/4 Time – Eighth Notes
↓
↑
&
2
&
&
↓
↑
2
&
↓
3
↑
&
4/4 Time – Eighth Notes
T
↑
↓
↑
&
2
&
3
↑
↓
↑
&
4
&
Syncopated Blues Strum
Count
T
1
For flat picking, you typically stick to a down / up motion as you play your chords
and leads. Keep your wrist loose and try just turning your wrist with a slight
rocking motion.
4/4 Time – Quarter Notes
Count
↓
↑
↓
↑
↓
↑
↓
↑
1
2
3
4
1
2
3
4
Other flat picking variations,
3/4 Time – Eighth Notes
Count
↓
↑
↓
↑
↓
↑
↓
↑
1
2
3
&
1
2
3
&
3/4 Time – Eighth Notes
Count
↓
↓
↓
↑
↓
↓
↓
↑
1
2
3
&
1
2
3
&
87
Chord Function and Tendency
The individual chords within the harmonic environment each have a unique
function and also a tendency to move to other chords within the harmonic
environment. The subdominant, dominant, and tonic are the primary chords for a
given tonality. The tonic chord is the home or arrival tone of rest for the given
tonality, the dominant signals a potential movement or modulation to a tonic
chord, and the sub-dominant is like a pre-dominant, preparing and smoothing the
way for the dominant.
The roots of chords in the harmonic environment tend to move either up a 4th
(down a 5th), or up a 2nd (down a 7th), or down a 3rd (up a 6th). This movement
creates forward motion within a composition. Forward motion is deemed to be
progressive while a backward or a lack of motion is deemed to be retrogressive.
Figure 17a shows the natural chord function and tendency for the major harmonic
environment. This is the same forward motion found in the Circle of 5ths and is
also consistent with the standard tuning of the guitar strings.
88
Figure 17a.
MAJOR
HARMONY
Chord
Function
Chord Tendency
Move to any chord in
the harmonic
I7 (major 7 6)
Tonic
environment
Move up a 4th to the
II7 (minor 7)
Supertonic
V7 chord
Move up a 4th to the
III7 (minor 7)
Mediant
VI7 chord
Move up a 2nd to the
V7 chord, also down a
IV7 (major 7 6)
Subdominant 3rd to the II7 chord
Move up a 4th to the
V7 (dominant 7) Dominant
I7 chord
Move up a 4th to the
VI7 (minor 7)
Submediant II7 chord
Move up a 2nd to the
I7 chord, also down a
VII7 (minor7b5) Leading Tone 3rd to the V7 chord
89
Figure 17b shows the natural chord function and tendency for the minor
harmonic environment.
Figure 17b.
NATURAL MINOR Chord
HARMONY
Function
Chord Tendency
Move to any chord in
the harmonic
I7 (minor 7 6)
Tonic
environment
Move up a 4th to the V7
II7 (minor7b5)
Supertonic
chord
Move up a 4th to the
III7 (major 7)
Mediant
IV7 chord
Move up a 2nd to the V7
IV7 (minor 7)
Subdominant chord
Move up a 4th to the I7
V7 (minor 7)
Dominant
chord
Move up a 4th to the II7
chord, also down a 2nd
VI7 (major 7)
Submediant to the v7 chord
Move up a 2nd to the I7
chord, also up a 4th to
VII7 (dominant 7) Leading Tone the III7 chord
90
Chord root movement up a 2nd is depicted in Figure 17c.
Figure 17c. Progressive Root Movement - up in 2nds (down in 7ths)
Chord
Progression
I
VII
VI
V
IV
III
II
I
Type of Triad
Name/Function
Primary
Secondary
Secondary
Primary
Primary
Secondary
Secondary
Primary
Tonic
Leading Tone
Submediant
Dominant
Subdominant
Mediant
Supertonic
Tonic
Chord root movement down a 3rd is depicted in Figure 17d.
Figure 17d. Progressive Chord Movement – Root movement down in 3rds (up in 6ths)
Chord
Progression
I
III
V
VII
II
IV
VI
I
Type of Triad
Name/Function
Primary
Secondary
Primary
Secondary
Secondary
Primary
Secondary
Primary
Tonic
Mediant
Dominant
Leading Tone
Supertonic
Subdominant
Submediant
Tonic
91
Modulation
Although a composition is in a given key, within the composition there can be
temporary shifts to new keys, sometimes several in succession before returning
to the tonality of the original key. This is called modulation and it is often used to
raise the pitch for a new section of music different from the preceding section.
You can modulate to either a major key or a minor key. Although you can
modulate to any key, the most common modulations raise the pitch a half-step, a
whole-step, a minor third, a major third, or a fourth. For example, you could
modulate from the key of C to C#, D, Eb, E or F. Modulations used for bridges in
songs often go from a major key to the relative minor or parallel minor and then
back to the original key through cadence.
Often you find temporary modulations that raise the pitch a fourth occurring
several in succession traveling around the Circle of 5ths. You typically enter the
circle on the III7, VI7 or VII7 chord and then get out with a II V I progression,
where the I is a chord triad. For example, you might find the chord progression C
E7 A7 D7 G7 C, which temporarily modulates from the keys of C to D to G before
returning back to C. In this case, we start the modulations by jumping into the
circle with an E7, being the II for the key of D in the II to V to I progression for that
particular key.
There are a variety of techniques for modulating to a new key. Some are very
abrupt using a single chord and some are smoother using several chords. A
common method is to place the V7 of the new target key in front of the root tone
of the new target key. You can also precede the V7 chord by its own minor triad
or by another diatonic chord. For example you might have the progression C Dm
D7 G or C Em E7 A. The most reliable and smooth method for modulation is to
use the II V I progression to establish a new tonality. In order to change keys, just
initiate the II V I progression for the key of target destination and you will have
established the new tonality.
There are other quick ways to implement a shift in tonality. Use the diminished
VII (B°) or half diminished VII (Bm7b5) that would naturally precede the key of
92
destination (e.g., from B° or Bm7b5 to C). The VII tone is referred to as a leading
tone and its tendency is always to go to the corresponding tonic or I chord.
As mentioned earlier in the book, the Circle of 5ths has the II V I progression
imbedded in it for all keys. Also as mentioned, the guitar fret board with standard
tuning is set up the same way as the Circle of 5ths on strings 6, 5, 4, 3 (E, A, D, G)
and by doing the necessary shift one fret higher from the 3rd string to the 2nd
string the same relationship continues. The tuning of the guitar makes
modulating to new key centers very easy.
E
II
A
V
II
D
I
V
II
G
Shift C
F
I
V
II
I
V
I
93
Chord Substitution
Chord substitution is an important technique that is used for adding variety to a
composition and to provide a much broader palette for improvisation. Chords
may be substituted for one another if they have two or more shared tones.
Because all of the chords supporting the harmonic environment are constructed
from the grand chord by stacking 3rds, chords that are a 3rd apart can be
substituted for each other because they share 2 or more tones. This holds true
for chord triads and seventh chords. Figure 18 shows the chords that may be
substituted for one another based on shared tones for the key of C major. Notice
that they are a 3rd apart.
Figure 18.
The Basis For Chord Substitution – Chords That Share 2 or More Tones
Chords A Third Apart May Be Substituted For Each Other
THE GRAND CHORD
Key of C Major – The Stacked 3rds Make The Chords
Chord
Chord Tones
Chord
Chord Tones
Root
Triad
A
ACE
Am
ACEG
F
FAC
F
FACE
D
DFA
Dm
DFAC
B
BDF
B°
BDFA
G
GBD
G
GBDF
E
EGB
Em
EGBD
C
CEG
C
CEGB
Scale
Tone
13
11
9
7
5
3
1
7th Chords
Am7
FM7
Dm7
Bø7
G7
Em7
CM7
C
Dm
Em
F
G
Am
Bø
Substitutes
Substitutes
Substitutes
Substitutes
Substitutes
Substitutes
Substitutes
Am
Em
B°
C
G
Dm
Am
Em
F
B°
F
C
G
Dm
CM7
Dm7
Em7
FM7
G7
Am7
Bø 7
Substitutes
Substitutes
Substitutes
Substitutes
Substitutes
Substitutes
Substitutes
Am7
Em7
Bø7
CM7
G7
Dm7
Am7
Em7
FM7
CM7
G7
Dm7
FM7
ø
B7
Another way to look at these substitutions is to relate the primary triads within
the harmonic environment to the secondary triads. When substituted for a
94
primary triad the secondary triads perform the same function. Notice that some
of the chords may act as substitutes for two of the primary chords. The strongest
relationship within the harmonic environment is between the dominant and
tonic.
Chord Type of
Triad
VII
Secondary
V
Primary
III
Secondary
I
Primary
VI
Secondary
IV
Primary
II
Secondary
Name/Function
Substitution
Leading Tone
Dominant
Mediant
Tonic
Submediant
Subdominant
Supertonic
Substitute for V
Substitute for V or I
Substitute for I or IV
Substitute for IV
There are other possibilities for chord substitution based on chord function. All of
the primary chords, the tonic, sub-dominant, and dominant have additional
substitutions. A very common substitution for the V7 chord is the called the flatfive substitution. The flat five of the dominant chord may be used as a substitute
for the dominant chord. For example, DbM7 or Db7 may be substituted for G7.
This substitution is also sometimes called the flat-two substitution with regards to
the tonic tone, as in the example above where Db is the flat-two of C major. It is
also common to find the bVII as a substitute for the VIIø chord.
Chord substitution can also continue to a second or even third level by using
chord substitutions for the chord substitutions. As the dominant chord is often
preceded by one or more pre-dominant chords (like the supertonic), a variety of
potential substitutions of various lengths are possible. These can also be used to
extend a phrase and delay a cadence.
All of the diatonic chords may be replaced by their dominant sevenths. This can
produce a temporary modulation in a chord progression.
CM
Dm
Em
Substitutes
Substitutes
Substitutes
Chord Substitution
FM
G
Substitutes
95
Substitutes
Am
Bø
Substitutes
Substitutes
C7
E7
D7
F7
G7
A7
B7
All of the diatonic chords except for the vii chord may be replaced by their
secondary dominants.
Chord Substitution
FM
G
CM
Dm
Em
Substitutes
Substitutes
Substitutes
Substitutes
G7
A7
B7
C7
Am
Bø
Substitutes
Substitutes
Substitutes
D7
E7
All dominants can be preceded by their associated supertonics.
Chord substitution and chord quality interchange are used in modern jazz and are
integral for providing variety in a composition.
The table below depicts how additional substitutions are derived for the PreDominant and Dominant tonal areas. In addition to the substitutions for the PreDominant area provided in the table below, the following chords may also be
used in the Pre-Dominant area: F, Dm, D7, Db6, A+, Fm, D°, G+, F#° as all of these
effectually lead to the Dominant.
Pre-dominant Area
IV
II
Sub-Dominant
Supertonic
FM7, F6
Dm7
Am7
Abm7
Ebm7
Pre-dominant Area
IV
II
Sub-Dominant
Supertonic
Fm7, Fm6, F7
Dø7
Aø7
Abø7
Ebø7
Major Harmony
Dominant Area
V/V
V
Secondary
Dominant
Dominant
&
Substitutes
G7
D7
G7
Db7
Ab7
DbM7
B7
E7
Minor Harmony
Dominant Area
V/V
V
Secondary
Dominant
Dominant
&
Substitutes
G7
D7
G7
Db7
Ab7
DbM7
Bb7
Eb7
96
Tonic Area
I
Tonic
&
Substitutes
CM7, C6
Em7
Am7
Tonic Area
I
Tonic
&
Substitutes
Cm7,Cm6, Cminmaj7
EbM7, Eb6
AbM7, Ab6
Chord Quality Interchange
Individual chords can always be found in more than one harmonic environment.
So their function and tendency is dependent on how they are being viewed. For
example, an Em7 could be interpreted as a iii chord in the key of C major or as a vi
chord in the key of G major. A CM7 could be interpreted as a I chord in the key of
C major or as a IV chord in the key of G major.
To add additional variety to a composition chord qualities are often interchanged,
for instance going from major to minor or diminished, or going from a major
seventh to a dominant seventh. Chord qualities can be interchanged for all of the
individual scale degrees but are most commonly found for scale degrees II, III and
IV. A major harmony can temporarily change to the harmony of either the
relative minor or the parallel minor to add variety to a composition. Return back
to the original tonality through the appropriate ii V I chord progression. This
creates a broad palette of sounds to work with in many interesting combinations.
When a chord belongs to more than one key it can be used as a way to move from
one key to another. Once the new key tonality has been established you will have
effectually made the transition. Remember to use chord triads as well as
extensions. Chord triads provide a greater sense of arrival or rest.
Figure 19 depicts chord quality selections available for interchanging chords
between the C Major, C Minor, and C Modal harmonic environments arranged in
order of ascending 2nds (I – II- III- IV – V – VI – VII).
Figure 20 depicts chord quality selections available for interchanging chords
between the C Major, C Minor, and C Modal harmonic environments arranged in
order of ascending 4ths (VII –III- VI- II- V- I- IV).
Figure 21 depicts chord quality selections available for interchanging chords
between the C Major, C Minor, and C Modal harmonic environments arranged in
order of (IV – V – I) and (II – V – I).
97
Figure 19. C Major, Minor, and Modal Harmony Chord Quality Interchange (I –II- III - IV- V- VI- VII)
C Major Harmony
C Natural Minor Harmony
C Harmonic Minor Harmony
C Melodic Minor Harmony
I
CM7
Cm7
Cmmaj7
Cmmaj7
II
Dm7
Dø7
Dø7
Dm7
III
Em7
EbM7
EbM7#5
EbM7#5
IV
FM7
Fm7
Fm7
F7
V
G7
Gm7
G7
G7
VI
Am7
AbM7
AbM7
Aø7
VII
Bø7
Bb7
Bø7
Bø7
C Modal Harmony
Parent Key
C (Am)
Parent Key
Bb (Gm)
Parent Key
Ab (Fm)
Parent Key
G (Em)
Parent Key
F (Dm)
Parent Key
Eb (Cm)
Parent Key
Db (Bbm)
C Ionian
CM7
Dm7
Em7
FM7
G7
Am7
Bø7
C Dorian
Cm7
Dm7
EbM7
F7
Gm7
Aø7
BbM7
C Phrygian
Cm7
DbM7
Eb7
Fm7
Gø7
AbM7
Bbm7
C Lydian
CM7
D7
Em7
F#ø7
GM7
Am7
Bm7
C Mixolydian
C7
Dm7
Eø7
FM7
Gm7
Am7
BbM7
C Aeolian
Cm7
Dø7
EbM7
Fm7
Gm7
AbM7
Bb7
C Locrian
Cø7
DbM7
Ebm7
Fm7
GbM7
Ab7
Bbm7
98
Figure 20. C Major, Minor, and Modal Harmony Chord Quality Interchange (VII –III- VI- II- V- I- IV)
C Major Harmony
C Natural Minor Harmony
C Harmonic Minor Harmony
C Melodic Minor Harmony
VII
Bø7
Bb7
Bø7
Bø7
III
Em7
EbM7
EbM7#5
EbM7#5
VI
Am7
AbM7
AbM7
Aø7
II
Dm7
Dø7
Dø7
Dm7
V
G7
Gm7
G7
G7
I
CM7
Cm7
Cmmaj7
Cmmaj7
IV
FM7
Fm7
Fm7
F7
C Modal Harmony
Parent
Key
C (Am)
Parent
Key
Bb (Gm)
Parent
Key
Ab (Fm)
Parent
Key
G (Em)
Parent
Key
F (Dm)
Parent
Key
Eb (Cm)
Parent
Key
Db (Bbm)
C Ionian
ø
B7
Em7
Am7
Dm7
G7
CM7
FM7
C Dorian
BbM7
EbM7
Aø7
Dm7
Gm7
Cm7
F7
C Phrygian
Bbm7
Eb7
AbM7
DbM7
Gø7
Cm7
Fm7
C Lydian
Bm7
Em7
Am7
D7
GM7
CM7
F#ø7
C Mixolydian
BbM7
Eø7
Am7
Dm7
Gm7
C7
FM7
C Aeolian
Bb7
EbM7
AbM7
Dø7
Gm7
Cm7
Fm7
C Locrian
Bbm7
Ebm7
Ab7
DbM7
GbM7
Cø7
Fm7
99
Figure 21. C Major, Minor, and Modal Harmony Chord Quality Interchange (IV – V – I and II- V- I)
C Major Harmony
C Natural Minor Harmony
C Harmonic Minor Harmony
C Melodic Minor Harmony
IV
FM7
Fm7
Fm7
F7
V
G7
Gm7
G7
G7
I
CM7
Cm7
Cmmaj7
Cmmaj7
II
Dm7
Dø7
Dø7
Dm7
V
G7
Gm7
G7
G7
I
CM7
Cm7
Cmmaj7
Cmmaj7
C Modal Harmony
Parent
Key
C (Am)
Parent
Key
Bb (Gm)
Parent
Key
Ab (Fm)
Parent
Key
G (Em)
Parent
Key
F (Dm)
Parent
Key
Eb (Cm)
Parent
Key
Db (Bbm)
C Ionian
FM7
G7
CM7
Dm7
G7
CM7
C Dorian
F7
Gm7
Cm7
Dm7
Gm7
Cm7
C Phrygian
Fm7
Gø7
Cm7
DbM7
Gø7
Cm7
C Lydian
F#ø7
GM7
CM7
D7
GM7
CM7
C Mixolydian
FM7
Gm7
C7
Dm7
Gm7
C7
C Aeolian
Fm7
Gm7
Cm7
Dø7
Gm7
Cm7
C Locrian
Fm7
GbM7
Cø7
DbM7
GbM7
Cø7
100
Non-Harmonic Melody Tones
The types of non-harmonic melody tones are depicted in the table below.
Neighboring tone
A non-harmonic tone that is approached by leap and
left by repetition.
A non-harmonic tone that is approached by leap and
left by step often in other direction.
A non-harmonic tone approached and left by step
above or below with change in direction.
Passing tone
A non-harmonic tone approached and left by step
from above or below in the same direction.
Suspension
A non-harmonic tone that is approached by the same
note and left by step typically downward.
Anticipation
Appoggiatura
Often times a chord fingering can be viewed as more than one thing and it may
also have a different function depending on the current key. The table below
shows a couple of examples how the same chord tones can represent multiple
chords.
Chord
Cm7
Dm7
Cm6
Dm6
Cm7b5
Dm7b5
Cm9
Dm9
=
=
=
=
=
=
=
=
Chord
A6
F6
F9
G9
Ab9
Bb9
Ebmaj7
Fmaj7
Chord
=
=
=
=
Am7b5
Bm7b5
Ebm6
Gm6
101
Approach Chords
The types of approach chords are depicted in the table below.
Approach Chords
Approach chords are typically either a semitone (half step or one fret) or a 4th
or 5th above or below the target destination.
DbM7 Dm7
EbM7 Dm7
CM7 Dm7
Em7 Dm7
Gm7 Dm7
Am7 Dm7
Chords from every diatonic scale degree may be preceded or followed by their
dominants located a prefect fifth above except for the VII chord.
G7 CM7 A7 Dm7
B7 Em7 C7 FM7 D7 G7
E7 Am7
CM7 G7
Dm7 A7
Em7 B7
FM7 C7 G7 D7
Am7 E7
Approaching The I Chord (Tonic)
The tonic chord may be preceded by the V chord and its substitutes.
G7 CM7
Db7 CM7
Bø7 CM7
Approaching The IV Chord (Sub Dominant)
The IVm7 can be placed in front of the IVM7.
Fm7 FM7
Approaching The V Chord (Dominant)
Every V7 chord can be preceded by its own II V.
Am7 D7 G7
The companion minor of the dominant chord (V/V) may precede or follow the
dominant chord.
Dm7 G7 Dm7 Dm7b5 G7 Dm7b5
Substitutes for the dominant chord may precede or follow the dominant chord.
DbM7 G7 C Db7 G7 C Bø7 G7 C
102
Passing and Connector Chords
The types of passing and connector chords are depicted in the table below.
Passing and Connector Chords
Passing chords are used between two diatonic chords within the harmonic
environment and they may be either diatonic or non-diatonic.
Diatonic passing chords are typically inserted between two chords a major or
minor third apart.
CM7 Dm7 Em7
Em7 FM7 G7
Non-diatonic passing chords are not part of the harmonic environment.
Dm7 EbM7 Em7 Dm7 Eb7 Em7
The IVm7 may be used as a passing or transition chord between the IVM7 and
IM7 chords and between the IIm7 and IM7 chords.
FM7 Fm7 CM7
Dm7 Fm7 CM7
The bVII7 (IV/IV) may be used as a passing or transition chord between the
IVm7 and IM7 chords.
Fm7 Bb7 CM7
Diminished chords may be used as passing or transition chords between I and II,
I and V, III and II.
CM7 C° Dm7
CM7 C#° Dm7
CM7 C° G7
CM7 C#° G7
Em7 Eb°7 Dm7
You can place a Major 7th or Dominant 7th chord between I and II, II and III, IV
and V, V and VI.
CM7 Db7 Dm7
Dm7 EbM7 Em7 FM7 Gb7 G7 G7 AbM7 Am7
You can place a major 7th and/or minor 7th between Dominant 7th chords.
G7 GM7 G7
G7 Gm7 G7
G7 GM7 Gm7 G7
Slash chords may be used as passing or connector chords.
C C/E F C/E Dm
C G/B Am G/B C
103
Using Diminished and Augmented Chords
Diminished and augmented chords may be used as connector chords to give
motion to chord progressions. They have a unique dissonant sound that requires
resolution. As indicated earlier the fully diminished seventh chords contain the
tones 1, b3, b5 and bb7, and the augmented chords contain the tones 1, 3 and #5.
The fully diminished seventh chord actually contains four leading tones from
which you can modulate from the diminished seventh chord to any key whose
leading tone is one of the components of that diminished chord. For example,
you could go from C°7 which contains the tones C, Eb, Gb, A, directly to the keys of
Db, E, G, or Bb.
When you lower any single tone within a fully diminished seventh chord, you
create a dominant seventh chord for that new lowered tone. This enables you
to easily move from a diminished chord to four dominant seventh chords and
from there to four new tonal centers as desired. For example taking the C°7
chord, comprised of the tones C, Eb, Gb, A, we can easily move to a B7, D7, F7, Ab7
by lowering any of the respective tones one half-step. We could then move from
there to the new tonal centers E, G, Bb, Db.
A
Gb
Eb
C
A
Gb
Eb
B
A
Gb
D
C
A
F
Eb
C
Ab
Gb
Eb
C
C°7
B7
D7
F7
Ab7
to E
to G
to Bb
to Db
When you raise any single tone within a fully diminished seventh chord, you
create a minor sixth chord for that new raised tone. This enables you to easily
move from a diminished chord to four minor sixth chords. For example taking the
C°7 chord, comprised of the tones C, Eb, Gb, A, we can easily move to a Dbm6,
Em6, Gm6, Bbm6 by raising any of the respective tones one half-step.
A
Gb
Eb
C
A
Gb
Eb
Db
A
Gb
E
C
A
G
Eb
C
Bb
Gb
Eb
C
C°7
Dbm6
Em6
Gm6
Bbm6
104
When you move a fully diminished chord up the neck a half step or one fret you
move up in 5ths. When you move a fully diminished chord down the neck a half
step or one fret you move down in 4ths.
--------------------------A°7
D°7
G°7
(moving up guitar fret board towards sound hole)
C°7
---------------------------
(moving down guitar fret board towards neck)
The fully diminished chords and augmented chords are often used as connector
chords as depicted in Figure 22 and Figure 23, respectively. A fully diminished
chord one half step above the root may be used as a substitute for a dominant
seventh chord. For example G#°7 may be used as a substitute for G7.
Figure 22.
I7
CM7
Key of C Major – Common Uses Of Diminished Connector Chords
I°7
II7
I7
I°7
V7
C°7
Dm7
CM7
C°7
G7
I7
CM7
#I°7
C#°7
II7
Dm7
I7
CM7
#I°7
C#°7
V7
G7
I7
CM7
#2°7
D#°7
I7
CM7
II7
Dm7
#2°7
D#°7
I7
CM7
I7
CM7
b3°7
Eb°7
II7
Dm7
I7
CM7
b3°7
Eb°7
V7
G7
I7
#IV°7
II7
I7
#IV°7
CM7
F#°7
Dm7
CM7
F#°7
Commonly Use Diminished Chords: #1°, #2°,b3°,#4°
Figure 23.
V7
G7
III7
Em7
b3°7
Eb°7
I
CM
Key of C Major – Common Uses Of Augmented Connector Chords
I+
II7
I
I+
IV
I
I+
C+
Dm7
CM
C+
FM
CM
C+
I
CM
IV+
F+
I
CM
II7
Dm7
IV+
F+
I
CM
I
V+
I
V
V+
CM
G+
CM
G
G+
Commonly Used Augmented Chords: 1+, 4+, 5+
I
CM
105
II7
Dm7
VI
Am
Chord Progressions
When chords are used to harmonize a melody the end result is a progression of
chords. The chord progressions can be used for simple harmonic accompaniment
as you sing the melody of a song. Chord progressions can also be used as lead
sheets for improvising over the chords. Almost every composition utilizes the I IV
V chords and some songs are based solely on these three chords. The chords I, IV,
and V are the primary chords structurally fundamental to establishing tonality and
harmony. Just as common for establishing tonality is the ii to V to I progression,
the ii chord being a substitute for the IV chord. The most common movements
for the primary chords are I to IV, I to V, and IV to V. This leads to chord
progressions like I to V to I, I to IV to I, and I to IV to V to I, that are found in so
many songs and compositions.
Another very popular chord progression is III - VI - II - V - I. It is found in many
standards from the 1940’s and is used in jazz. This progression follows the Circle
of 5ths moving down in 4ths. The table below depicts this progression for all
keys. It should be practiced using both triads and seventh chords. Practice using
bar chords and various chord forms and fingerings. This is a very valuable
exercise.
3
Em7
Fm7
Gbm7
Gm7
Abm7
Am7
Bbm7
Bm7
Cm7
Dbm7
Dm7
Ebm7
6
Am7
Bbm7
Bm7
Cm7
Dbm7
Dm7
Ebm7
Em7
Fm7
Gbm7
Gm7
Abm7
2
Dm7
Ebm7
Em7
Fm7
Gbm7
Gm7
Abm7
Am7
Bbm7
Bm7
Cm7
Dbm7
106
5
G7
Ab7
A7
Bb7
B7
C7
Db7
D7
Eb7
E7
F7
Gb7
1
Cmaj7
Dbmaj7
Dmaj7
Ebmaj7
Emaj7
Fmaj7
Gbmaj7
Gmaj7
Abmaj7
Amaj7
Bbmaj7
Bmaj7
A progression of chords that provides forward motion is termed ‘progressive’
whereas a progression of chords that lacks forward motion or provides a
backwards motion is termed ‘retrogressive’. This is relative to the movement of
the roots of the chords. Chord root movements that are progressive are depicted
in the following diagrams. The use of chromatic chord progressions is very
effective if applied in moderation and should be used where appropriate.
Progressive Chord Movement - Primary and Secondary Chord Movements
Chord
Progression
VII
V
III
I
VI
IV
II
Type of
Triad
Secondary
Primary
Secondary
Primary
Secondary
Primary
Secondary
Name/Function
Rule
Leading Tone
Dominant
Mediant
Tonic
Submediant
Subdominant
Supertonic
Movement
from a
primary
chord to a
secondary
chord is
deemed to
be
progressive
107
Progressive Chord Movement – Root movement down in 5ths (up in 4ths)
Chord
Progression
I
IV
VII
III
VI
II
V
I
Type of Triad
Name/Function
Primary
Primary
Secondary
Secondary
Secondary
Secondary
Primary
Primary
Tonic
Subdominant
Leading Tone
Mediant
Submediant
Supertonic
Dominant
Tonic
Progressive Chord Movement – Root movement up in 2nds (down in 7ths)
Chord
Progression
I
VII
VI
V
IV
III
II
I
Type of Triad
Name/Function
Primary
Secondary
Secondary
Primary
Primary
Secondary
Secondary
Primary
Tonic
Leading Tone
Submediant
Dominant
Subdominant
Mediant
Supertonic
Tonic
108
Progressive Chord Movement – Root movement down in 3rds (up in 6ths)
Chord
Progression
I
III
V
VII
II
IV
VI
I
Type of Triad
Name/Function
Primary
Secondary
Primary
Secondary
Secondary
Primary
Secondary
Primary
Tonic
Mediant
Dominant
Leading Tone
Supertonic
Subdominant
Submediant
Tonic
Figure 24 shows some very common chord progressions used in popular music
today. The nature or character of the chords (major, minor, augmented or
diminished) depends on the parent key and its harmonic environment. The
nature or character of the chords can temporarily be changed by using chord
substitution and chord quality interchange.
Figure 24.
I
I
I
I
I
I
I
I
I
I
I
I
VII
I
VI
I
I
I
V
IV
IV
II
II
V
VI
VI
V
III
III
III
III
V
II
III
biii
bvii
I
I
V
V
IV
IV
IV
II
VI
VI
VI
VI
VI
VI
V
IV
IV
I
I
I
V
I
V
V
IV
IV
II
I
II
III
I
I
V
IV
V
V
IV
V
IV
III
IV
I
I
I
I
I
VI
I
II
IV
IV
II
II
I
V
I
V
I
V
V
V
I
109
Improvisation
To improvise or play a lead over a chord within a chord progression, the scale
should contain the notes of the chord or at least not be in conflict with it. If you
extend or alter a chord or arpeggio then the scale should include the extended or
altered tones as well. Melodies and leads built solely from the chord tones of the
chord progressions will never be in conflict with the harmonic environment.
As mentioned earlier in this book, one common fail-safe technique for
improvisation in a given key is to play leads only from the 1, 3 and 5 tones for any
chord that is within the harmonic environment. You can choose to use only
these 3 notes (arpeggios) and nothing else or you can play the appropriate mode
from each tone based on the parent scale. You can start your lead from either
the 1 or 3 or 5 tones of the chord and play the associated mode for beginning on
that particular tone. When a composition progresses to a given chord, for that
period of time you can improvise playing the appropriate modes against that
chord staying solely within the harmonic environment. An example is provided
below for the key of C major whose parent scale is the C major scale.
Chord
C
Dm
Em
F
G
Am
B°
Starting Tone
G
E
C
A
F
D
B
G
E
C
A
F
D
B
G
E
C
A
F
D
B
Mode
Mixolydian
Phrygian
Ionian
Aeolian
Lydian
Dorian
Locrian
Mixolydian
Phrygian
Ionian
Aeolian
Lydian
Dorian
Locrian
Mixolydian
Phrygian
Ionian
Aeolian
Lydian
Dorian
Locrian
110
Figure 25a shows some of the various scales and modes that may be played over
a given chord triad for C major harmony. Although the examples are for C major
they can be transposed to any key. Note from Figure 25a that the 5 tone In-Sen
scale starting on the 3rd tone (E F A B D) of the major scale may be played across
the entire major scale harmony. Occasionally when playing a scale over a chord
certain tones may seem dissonant (avoid notes) and are best avoided.
Over the ii V I chord progression so prominent in contemporary jazz, the
pentatonic, In-Sen and altered pentatonic are the three most commonly used 5
tone scales. A summary of how these 5 tone scales may be used over the ii V I
chord progression is provided in Figure 25b. Note from Figure 25b that the major
pentatonic scale starting on the 5th tone (G A B D E) may be played across the
entire ii V I progression as can the In-Sen scale starting on the 3rd tone (E F A B D).
The melodic minor scale (C D Eb F G A B C) is used prominently in jazz. A
summary of how these 5 tone scales may be used in melodic minor harmony is
provided in Figure 25c. Note from Figure 25c that the major pentatonic scale
starting on the 4th tone (F G A C D), the In-Sen scale starting on the 2nd tone (D Eb
G A C), and the altered pentatonic scale starting on the 2nd tone (D Eb F G A) may
be played across the entire melodic minor harmony.
A selection of commonly used scales is provided in Figure 25d. The starting tones
are shaded for each scale. Although these scales are shown for the root tone C,
they can be transposed to any other root tone. Remember that when underlying
chords are altered, the scales must be altered consistent with the alteration of
the chords.
When dominant seventh chords are used in a chord progression, things get very
interesting. Many options are available for improvisation.
When playing the blues with dominant seventh chords, some scales starting on
the root of the I chord can be played against the entire chord progression (I7 IV7
V7). These include the minor pentatonic scale, minor blues scale, dorian scale,
mixolydian blues scale, and dominant pentatonic scale. A single scale can be used
for the entire song, just emphasize the individual chord tones within the scale as
the chords change within the progression. For example, the C minor pentatonic
111
scale may be used against the entire blues progression for the key of C (C7, F7,
G7).
When playing the blues with dominant seventh chords, a major scale beginning
on the bVII (a whole step below the root) or a major scale beginning on the IV (a
4th below the root) may also be used against the entire I7 IV7 V7 chord
progression. For example, a Bb or F major scale may be used against the entire
blues progression for the key of C (C7, F7, G7).
When playing the blues with dominant seventh chords, individual scales may also
be played for each chord in the progression. For example you can play the
mixolydian mode for each chord, as well as the minor pentatonic, major
pentatonic, mixolydian pentatonic, and arpeggios for each individual chord in the
progression. You must play the appropriate scale or arpeggio for each chord as
the chord progression progresses.
112
Figure 25a.
C Major Harmony – Scales And Modes That Sound Good With Each Chord
Chord Triads
C Major Seventh
1 3 5 7
C E G B
D Minor Seventh
1 b3 5 b7
D F A C
E Minor Seventh
1 b3 5 b7
E G B D
F Major Seventh
1 3 5 7
F A C E
G Dominant Seventh
1 3 5 b7
G B D F
A Minor Seventh
1 b3 5 b7
A C E G
B Minor Seventh b5
1 b3 b5 b7
B D F A
C Minor Harmony
C Minor Seventh (as tonic)
1 b3 5 b7
C Eb G Bb
Scale or Mode
Major Scale (Ionian Mode)
Phrygian Mode
Mixolydian Mode
Major Pentatonic Scale
Minor Pentatonic Scale
Dorian Mode
Lydian Mode
Aeolian Mode
Minor Pentatonic Scale
Major Pentatonic
Blues Scale
Phrygian Mode
Mixolydian Mode
Locrian Mode
Minor Pentatonic Scale
Blues Scale
Lydian Mode
Aeolian Mode
Ionian Mode
Major Pentatonic Scale
Minor Pentatonic Scale
Mixolydian Mode
Locrian Mode
Dorian Mode
Major Pentatonic Scale
Minor Pentatonic Scale
Blues Scale
In-Sen Scale
Lydian
Aeolian Mode
Ionian Mode
Phrygian Mode
Minor Pentatonic Scale
Blues Scale
Locrian Mode
Dorian Mode
Lydian Mode
Dorian Mode
Aeolian Mode
Phrygian
Minor Pentatonic Scale
Blues Scale
113
Starting Tone
C
E
G
C or D or G
A or B or E or C (over triad)E
D
F
A
D or E or A
F or G or C
D
E
G
B
E
E
F
A
C
F or G or C
D or E or A
G
B
D
G or Bb or F
E or Gb or D
G
E
F
A
C
E
A
A
B
D
F
C
C
C
C or G
C
Figure 25b.
C Major Jazz Harmony – 5 Tone Scales Used Over ii V I Chord Progression
Seventh Chords
D Minor Seventh
1 b3 5 b7
D F A C
G Dominant Seventh
1 3 5 b7
G B D F
C Major Seventh
1 3 5 7
C E G B
Scale or Mode
Major Pentatonic Scale
Minor Pentatonic Scale
In-Sen Scale
Major Pentatonic Scale
Minor Pentatonic Scale
In-Sen Scale
Major Pentatonic Scale
Minor Pentatonic Scale
In-Sen Scale
114
Starting Tone
F or G or C
D or E or A
E
G or Bb or F
E or G or D
E
C or D or G
A or B or E
E
Figure 25c.
C Melodic Minor Jazz Harmony – 5 Tone Scales
Chord Triads
C Minor Major 7th
1 3 5 7
C E G B
D Minor Seventh
1 b3 5 b7
D F A C
Eb Major Seventh #5
1 b3 #5 7
Eb G B D
F Dominant Seventh
1 3 5 b7
F A C Eb
G Dominant Seventh
1 3 5 b7
G B D F
A Minor Seventh b5
1 b3 b5 b7
A C Eb G
B Minor Seventh b5
1 b3 b5 b7
B D F A
Scale or Mode
Major Pentatonic Scale
In-Sen Scale
Altered Pentatonic Scale
Major Pentatonic Scale
In-Sen Scale
Altered Pentatonic Scale
Major Pentatonic Scale
In-Sen Scale
Altered Pentatonic Scale
Major Pentatonic Scale
In-Sen Scale
Altered Pentatonic Scale
Major Pentatonic Scale
In-Sen Scale
Altered Pentatonic Scale
Major Pentatonic Scale
In-Sen Scale
Altered Pentatonic Scale
Major Pentatonic Scale
In-Sen Scale
Altered Pentatonic Scale
115
Starting Tone
F
D
D
F
D
D
F
D
D
F
D
D
F
D
D
F
D
D
F
D
D
Figure 25d. Commonly Used Scales For C Major and C Minor
Scale Tone
1
C
b2
Db
2
D
Major
Natural Minor
Harmonic
Minor
Melodic Minor
Spanish Minor
Dorian Minor
Hexatonic
Minor
Major
Pentatonic
Minor
Pentatonic
Altered Minor
Pentatonic
Major Blues
Minor Blues
BeBop
Mixolydian
Blues
Altered
Pentatonic
Dominant
Pentatonic
In-Sen
Whole Tone
Whole/Half
Diminished
Half/Whole
Diminished
Augmented
Lydian
Dominant
C
C
C
D
D
D
C
C
C
C
D
Db
D
D
C
b3
Eb
3
E
4
F
E
Eb
Eb
F
F
F
G
G
G
Eb
Eb
Eb
Eb
F
F
F
F
G
G
G
G
D
E
Eb
F
C
Eb
F
D
D
D
Eb
Eb
Eb
Eb
D
E
C
C
D
D
D
E
E
C
C
C
F
F
F
Db
D
Eb
E
D#
E
E
116
b7
Bb
A
Ab
Ab
B
B
A
Ab
A
B
Bb
Bb
Bb
A
Gb
G
Bb
A
Gb
Gb
Gb
G
G
G
G
G
A
A
Bb
Bb
Bb
B
A
F#
G#
Ab
G
G
F#
B
Bb
F
F#
Gb
7
B
Bb
G
F
Eb
6
A
Bb
Eb
C
b6
Ab
G
E
E
5
G
G
C
C
C
C
C
b5
Gb
B
A#
A
A
B
Bb
Ab
B
A
Bb
Improvisation Over Non-Diatonic Chords
The table below provides scales and modes to use over non-diatonic chords.
C Major Harmony - Non-Diatonic Chords – Scales And Modes
Chord Triads
Non - Diatonic Major Seventh
Scale or Mode
Major Scale (Ionian Mode)
Starting Tone
Root
Major Scale (Ionian Mode)
Lydian Mode
A Perfect 5th Above Root
Root
Major Scale (Ionian Mode)
Dorian Mode
1 Whole Step Below Root
Root
Melodic Minor
A Perfect 5th Above Root
With A Diatonic Root
1 3 5 7
Examples:
Dmaj7
Emaj7
Gmaj7
Amaj7
Bmaj7
Non- Diatonic Major Seventh
With A Non -Diatonic Root
1 3 5 7
Examples:
Dbmaj7
Ebmaj7
Gbmaj7
Abmaj7
Bbmaj7
Non - Diatonic Minor Seventh
1 b3 5 b7
Examples:
Cmin7
Dbmin7
Ebmin7
Fmin7
Gbmin7
Gmin7
Abmin7
Bmin7
Non - Diatonic Dominant Seventh
With A Non -Diatonic Root
1 3 5 b7
Examples:
Db7
Eb7
Gb7
Ab7
Bb7
117
The Nashville Numbering System
There is a convenient way of depicting chord progressions that has been called
the Nashville Numbering System. By using numbers rather than letters, a chord
progression can be presented that can be applied to any key. All numbering is
relative to the root tone of the particular key that you are playing in. Each chord
designation also identifies if it is a major or minor chord, extended or altered, etc.,
etc. This Nashville Numbering System is worth understanding. It is a great
communication tool used by professional and semi-professional musicians. An
example of a chord progression for a song depicted using the Nashville Numbering
System is provided below. In this example, the song is a waltz to be played in 3/4
time, each chord is held for 3 beats, and the song has both an A and B section. A
translation is provided for playing the song in the key of C major.
1
1
1
1
6m
6m
17
6m
4
2m
4
5
2m
5
2m
1
1
17
4
1
1
6m 5
5
1
b7
4
1
1
6m 5
1
-----------------------------C
Am F
Dm
C
Am Dm G
C
C7
F
Dm
C
Am G
C
C
C
C
C
C7
Am
Bb
Am
F
G
F
G
C
G
C
C
Notice that in this song, the I IV V major triad chords are used extensively and that
it also contains the II minor triad and VI minor triad, as well as a I dominant
seventh chord and a flat VII chord.
118
Basic Music Composition – Harmonizing the Melody
It is possible to create a pleasing song just by singing lyrics against a progression
of chords. Many popular songs have been created this way using only three or
four chords in simple progression. For example in the key of C Major many
popular songs use the I vi IV V (C Am F G) chord progression. Many twelve bar
blues songs are based on only three chords, I, IV and V, typically expressed as
dominant seventh chords (C7 F7 G7). This is the essence of simple folk music.
If your interests go beyond simple folk music then the materials that follow will be
useful to you. The fundamental elements of music composition will help you to
better understand and analyze the music that you are playing and also help you to
create your own pleasing compositions.
If you study a well-written song or composition, the particular harmony and the
chosen progression of chords and placement that were used to harmonize the
melody are the result of applying the fundamental rules of music composition and
the proper use of chords available from the harmonic environment (major and
minor) for that given key, including the use of chord substitutions, chord
inversions, chord extensions and alterations, and non-chord tones.
A musical composition is composed of various parts that are linked together in an
orderly way to best express the theme and intentions of the composer. These
parts create a unified whole with sufficient forward motion to take the listener on
a journey through an interesting and varied sonic landscape, providing moments
of activity and rest, with periods of excitement and relaxation, all in a manner that
makes sense to the listener and keeps their attention and interest.
Every individual part of a composition, no matter how small will effectually have a
beginning, middle, and end. It is imperative to recognize that the ending of a
section is of great importance. The ending is actually like the tail wagging the
dog, because the harmonic, melodic, and rhythmic elements within a given part
are all moving towards the ending. An ending is called a cadence. Some endings
have a sense of completeness and/or finality and some endings only suggest
further continuation. The beginning of a section may be a truly new beginning,
for instance establishing a new idea or tonality, or it may just be a continuation
119
from the previous part. The middle is in direct relationship to the tonality of the
beginning and leads to a desired cadence. Compositions typically end with a
chord triad for the parent key rather than an extended or altered chord and
compositions in a minor key also typically end in a major triad rather than a
minor. This provides a more complete sense of rest and arrival to home.
To begin with let’s look at the smallest unit of a composition, a motif. The motif
establishes tonality and presents a basic idea in melodic terms. The motif is
further developed and larger structures are built based on the musical idea and
the tonal/melodic material contained within the smallest unit.
Once an idea has been established and the underlying tonality (or tonalities)
chosen, a motif is further developed into two-bar motives, and then into 4-bar
phrases with the melodic contour, harmony, and rhythm in direct relationship
with the phrase’s beginning and its planned ending by cadence. Phrases are
typically of three common types:
1. A phrase built on a single chord leading to a cadence.
2. A phrase that further embellishes a single chord leading to a cadence.
3. A phrase consisting of a progression of chords leading to a cadence.
The phrases are combined into 8-bar sections which are joined together to create
the composition in its entirety based on the desired structure for the
composition. The terms motif, motive, phrase, and section are arbitrary and
other terms may be used in their place. The idea is to start very small and end big
with a unified whole. This may be as simple as folk song or as complex as a
symphony. In common use for many contemporary standards is the binary form
AABA and the tertiary form ABC. The music for each section is different but
seamlessly connected into a whole greater than the sum of its parts. Often a
short introduction, turn around, and an ending are applied to the phrases and
included with the form. It should be obvious that if you are writing for four-part
or six-part vocal harmonies or writing parts for a variety of instruments playing
together, the development and harmonizing of the appropriate phrases and their
combination can be quite a challenge.
There is also a rhythmic element to the harmonization of a melody. The number
of chords chosen to harmonize a melodic line and their placement is referred to
120
as harmonic rhythm. This can help enhance or retard forward motion and takes
into consideration the time signature and most prevalent note values within
various measures, as well as the intended rhythmic style for the music.
The chords chosen to harmonize the melody must contain the melodic tone
within their structure, typically as either the 1st, 3rd, or 5th tones of the chord triad
being built for the melody tone, as the chord may be in root position or in one of
its two inversions. When chord extensions and alterations are utilized further
harmonic options and additional inversions are available.
In order to harmonize a phrase the following steps should be taken:
1. Determine the phrase’s tonality and select the appropriate key(s) for the
idea being presented.
2. Determine the appropriate cadence for the phrase.
3. Determine the appropriate harmonic rhythm for the phrase.
4. Determine the underlying structure for the phrase (the primary chords for
the key) and harmonize these structural melody tones first.
5. Determine harmonies for the remaining melody tones in the phrase.
6. Determine if any chord inversions or other steps are required to reduce
leaps and smooth out the base line (root movement) for the phrase.
121
Cadences
The various types of cadences are presented in the table below.
Cadence
Authentic
V or VII to I
V to I
Type
Quality
Rules
Final
Perfect
1. Both chords must be in root
position.
2. The final tonic must have the root
repeated in the soprano voice.
Both rules must apply, else Imperfect.
Authentic VII to I
Final
Imperfect
The authentic cadence provides a sense of finality like a period at the end of a sentence.
Traditionally the root tone is doubled so that it also appears in the soprano voice.
Plagal
IV to I
Final
Perfect
1. Both chords must be in root
position.
2. The final tonic must have the root
repeated in the soprano voice.
Both rules must apply, else Imperfect.
The plagal cadence is also referred to as the ‘Amen’ cadence as it was used predominantly in
church music. It sometimes follows an authentic cadence to give a further sense of finality
and prolong the ending.
Half
I, IV, II to V Non-Final
The half cadence ends on the dominant, suggesting that it must still be resolved. This is often
used to precede a short turnaround between phrases.
Deceptive V to VI
Non-Final
The deceptive cadence contains the dominant chord but it does not lead to its expected
outcome. It is used to extend a section rather than ending a section.
122
Song Structures and Formulas for Song Writing
For many years the most common 32 bar (measures) song construction was
AABA. Each section was 8 bars long. The B section was called the middle eight or
bridge or release. The music in the B section was different from the A section.
Typically there would also have been a short instrumental introduction, an
instrumental turnaround between sections, and an instrumental ending.
This form was used extensively in the 1930’s and 1940’s and is still in use today,
most particularly in jazz. It is very easy to follow, provides adequate variety, and
it makes a lot of musical sense, particularly if you are not fond of the constant
repetition found in today’s popular commercial music. This song structure is a
good one on which to hone your skills, as you must create different music for the
different sections, including an introduction, turnaround, and an ending, and
everything must tie together with each section supporting the others.
In today’s popular commercial music there are other types of song structures that
are commonly used. The commercial song construction incorporates sections
called Verse (V), Chorus (C), Bridge (B), Pre-Chorus or Lift (PC or L), Instrumental
Verse (IV), Instrumental Chorus (IC), Instrumental Bridge (IB) or just Instrumental
(I). Of course you can create your own song structure. But for commercial song
writing you will be better off using one or more of the structures that are
considered part of formula song writing, just as there are standard formulas for
making successful movies. Some of the structures commonly used today for
songs containing lyrics are:
V
V
V
V
C
V
V
V
C
C
L
V
L
L
C
V
V
C
C
C
C
V
C
C
V
I
V
V
B
IC
L
B
L
L
C
B
C
C
C
123
C
IB
B
C
L
C
With regards to formula song writing, the most important feature is the hook.
The hook should incorporate an interesting melody and rhythm in support of the
lyrics. There is usually much repetition of the hook which is often the song’s title
and it may be repeated in each chorus and/or in the last line of each verse. It is
very important to get to the hook quickly within 30 seconds to one minute. The
music must change (middle eight) in the middle of the song within one and a half
to two minutes time. This is important so that the listener does not get bored. In
many instances the songs will include a temporary modulation or key change and
may also include changes in the rhythm structure. A good melody is absolutely
necessary and a catchy rhythm is extremely important. The song should have a
lively tempo typically at least 100-120 beats per minute. The song should
immediately engage the listener and once a listener is engaged you must keep
them engaged.
The song should have a beginning, middle and end, and typically be around three
and a half minutes in length. The song’s title is very important and should almost
be a complete story in itself. The song should always make the listener feel good
and come out as a winner. Happy endings are preferred to sad ones just like in
the movies. Your story must be original and easy to follow but it must also have
twists and turns or unexpected surprises. How you tell the story may be more
important than the story itself. A popular song is like a three and a half minute
movie and it must not be boring or too predictable. You must be totally clear but
never too predictable or obvious.
The listener must be able to understand what the story is about, how the story
came to be, who the characters are and why things are happening as they are.
Usually some type of conflict will be going on until a matter is eventually settled
with someone clearly being victorious or appearing heroic just like in the movies.
The listener will always want to identify with the winner.
You do not have to write commercial songs, but if that is your goal then you must
follow the formulas for success. The most successful commercial songs are love
songs written in 4/4 time with a lively tempo. Song writing is a true craft and it
doesn’t come easy. No one makes it alone and most successful songwriters cowrite although not all successful songwriters co-write. It is very important to get
124
second and third opinions on the songs that you write and not just from your best
friends and family members.
For most people music is a pleasant pastime and not a profession so you must be
realistic. You do not need to be a rock star or a commercial success to consider
yourself a musician or to be absolutely content with the music that you make and
the songs that you write. So as they say, don’t quit your day job. But if that truly
is your dream then do give it a try and ample time. You must be very patient and
keep on writing songs. You need to write some bad songs before you write some
good ones and then perhaps even the great one. Perhaps the best formula for a
commercial song is one that appeals to a working woman listening to the radio on
her way to work and then again on the way back home, it should vindicate her life
and make her feel very good about herself. And if she likes the song then she will
also likely purchase a CD or download of the song.
If you are fortunate and talented enough to create a great song it will be like a
banquet that feeds many people. But first and foremost, do it for the love of
music and not for hopes of making money. If you are truly talented and you keep
on writing perhaps in time money may even come.
Most importantly, enjoy playing your guitar!
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