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First this book is for everyone who has made it through the beginning phases of learning guitar If. you re ready to expand your chord vocabulary this book is for you. Second this book is not meant to be worked through in a month or three The material in each sec. tion should be learned and then incorporated into the guitarist s everyday playing before proceeding to the. next section If you re just starting out work through the Functional Literacy section and live with it for a. while Apply those new chords to songs you know Learn some new songs you couldn t play before When. that material is easy for you when you ve internalized the ideas then move on to the CAGED chapter. What I ve tried to do in this slender volume is to chronicle the normal evolutionary cycle of guitarists. who develop a truly deep understanding of harmony applied to the guitar fretboard It s the path I went. down over the course of many years It s the same or very similar to the paths that many of my friends and. colleagues have followed And yet I ve never seen the material presented in this fashion Hopefully this will. provide some markers on the trail for aspiring guitarists. 2008 2010 Randy Wimer,2008 2010 Randy Wimer,The Whole Chord Thing. Introduction, Shredders get all the attention But even they know in their heart of hearts that real mastery of the in. strument is shown through a clear understanding of chords and how they work on the guitar fretboard. Working through this book will allow you to accomplish two things 1 you will acquire a firm grasp of. chord theory along with the basic chord shapes to get you through most playing situations whether you re. playing in a 3 piece rock band or a 17 piece jazz ensemble 2 you will acquire the tools to define your own. chord voice Joe Pass played chords differently from Barney Kessel Alan Holdsworth plays chords dif. ferently than Frank Gambale If you really want to master the guitar your chordal style needs to be as per. sonal as your improvisation style, In the introductory section of this book we ll look at the rules of music theory that govern chord build. ing we ll take a detailed look at triads and we ll try to unravel the sometimes arcane and conflicting termi. nology that applies to chords,Basic Theory, The space between two notes is called an interval The smallest space you can have between two notes. is a half step one fret on the guitar I like to think about note relationships and eventually chords spatially. Start with the chart below listing the notes of a one octave chromatic scale from C to C Each box repre. sents a single half step,C C D D E F F G G A A B C.
Db Eb Gb Ab Bb, To understand the way we name the intervals we must first look at a major scale Below we ve re. moved the sharps and flats and we re left with the notes of a C major scale. C D E F G A B C, Intervals are named with numbers If we want to know the interval between a C and an E we simply. count C D E 1 2 3 the interval is a third How far is it between C and A C D E F G A 1 2 3 4 5. 6 This interval is a sixth What is the interval between D and F It s another third But notice it s farther. from C to E than from D to F,C D E D E F, There are 4 half steps between C and E and 3 half steps between D and F The larger interval is called a. major 3rd and the smaller is a minor 3rd The chart below shows the interval name and the associated num. ber of half steps between C and all the notes in the octave above C. C Db D Eb E F Gb G Ab A Bb B C,0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12. unison Minor Major Minor Major Perfect dimin Perfect Minor Major Minor Major Perfect. 2nd 2nd 3rd 3rd 4th ished 5th 6th 6th 7th 7th octave. 2008 2010 Randy Wimer,TMI Warning, If you get a good handle on the information so far that s really most of what you need to understand.
how chords are built So this next bit may come under the heading of too much information If you be. gin to bog down in the rest of the material on intervals don t worry Skip it for now and come back to it. after you ve had a chance to digest for a while, Notice that the sharps have been removed from the preceding chart There are other considerations be. sides the number of half steps when identifying intervals C to D is not the same as C to Eb Yes D and. Eb are the same pitch but when identifying intervals you also have to consider the letter names of the notes. Count the letters from C to D it s still C D 1 2 a second of some kind even though it s a D We call. that space an augmented second The chart below uses the sharps and the alternate names of the intervals. C C D D E F F G G A A B C,0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12. unison Aug Major Aug Major Perfect Aug 4th Perfect Aug5th Major Aug 6th Major Perfect. mented 2nd 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th octave, So you ve got this interval thing covered right Not quite There is one only one I promise more. thing to consider when naming intervals mixed accidentals the use of sharps in a flat key signature or. vice versa Consider the following, The first note is an F sharp note the key signature and the second is an A. flat That s a distance of 2 half steps or one whole step But again we. have to consider the letter names of the notes F and A That s F G A 1. 2 3 so the interval has to be a kind of third A major third is 4 half steps a. minor third is 3 half steps This new beast is called a diminished third I tend to relate this stuff back to the. intervals derived from the major scale In the C major scale C to A is a major sixth C to A flat is a minor. sixth We can make that interval smaller diminished get it by either raising the the C to a C sharp or low. ering the A flat to an A double flat Either case would be called a diminished sixth Will you need to under. stand diminished intervals to complete your knowledge of chords Not really where it becomes relevant is. in formal music theory study generally within the first couple of college music theory It that s not your. path then consider it knowledge for knowledge s sake Not a bad thing. 2008 2010 Randy Wimer,Using Intervals to Build Chords Triads.
Start with two basic rules Chords are built in,thirds and chords must contain at least 3 dif. ferent tones,There are two types of thirds that we deal. Major Third,with here major 3rds 4 half steps and minor. Minor Third, Major Third 3rds 3 half steps To the left are the possible. combinations of thirds in simple 3 note chords,called triads.
Minor Third,Using C as a starting point the notes and for. mulas for the chords are,Major C E G Root 3 5,Minor C Eb G R b3 5. Diminished C Eb Gb R b3 b5,Augmented C E G R 3 5,Major Third. Major Third,Minor Third,Minor Third,Major Chord Minor Chord Diminished Augmented. Chord Chord, Let s actually look at the guitar and the crowd cheers If you re normal not a.
C given knowing the types who seek out this kind of material one of the first. chords you learned was a C chord This is not a triad It is however built from a. x3 2 0 1 0 triad We know from the chart above that the notes of a C major triad are C E. and G In the simple open C chord to the left the notes from 5th string to 1st. are C E G C and E We just double the C and E at the octave to give the chord. more fullness This is the same for most of the open chords we all learn when we. start to play the guitar A Triad is just the three notes C E and G in this case. with no doubles, Below are three of the four possible triads that can be built from our basic open. C chord Notice that the notes are in,their most compact form These are. called closed voicings sometimes block,voicings If the root of the triad is in the. bass the lowest note the triad is in root,position if the third is in the bass the. triad is 1st inversion and if the fifth is in, Root position 1st inversion 2nd inversion the bass the triad is in 2nd inversion.
2008 2010 Randy Wimer, If we take the middle note of each of the previous. triads and raise it an octave spreading the notes, over a larger range we get an open voicing At left. are the root position 1st and 2nd inversion open, voicing triads that are most closely related in struc. ture to the C chord,Triads What Good Are They, Why should you invest your precious time in learning triads Three practical and one intellectual rea. son 1 there are some truly classic R B rhythm guitar figures that are based on triads as well as country. and rock tunes 2 complex chords can be broken into component triads and those triads can be used to cre. ate interesting rhythm guitar parts 3 even though the purpose of this book is to learn chords some very. cool lead guitar ideas come from triads and 4 learning and practicing triads will increase your understand. ing of how music theory works on the guitar fretboard. Examples of triad use, This example simply takes the I IV and V triads of the key and arpeggiates them over the pedal D.
This is a common blues figure After playing the root A note the player slides an F minor triad down a. whole step to an E minor triad The resulting harmonies are A6 sliding into an A9. 2008 2010 Randy Wimer,Learning Triads, We ll do three different triad exercises The first will explore the possible closed voicing shapes The sec. ond will take those shapes and move them through a harmonized scale Finally we ll move open position. triads through a harmonized scale,Part 1 Triad Shapes. Major Minor Diminished Augmented,1 3 2 2 3 1 1 3 1 2 3 1. 5 R 3 5 R b3 b5 R b3 5 R 3,3 1 2 2 1 3 3 1 4 2 1 1. 3 5 R b3 5 R b3 b5 R 3 5 R,4 3 1 4 2 1 4 2 1 3 2 1.
R 3 5 R b3 b5 R b3 b5 R 3 5,2 3 1 3 4 1 2 3 1 3 2 1. 5 R 3 5 R b3 b5 R b3 5 R 3,2008 2010 Randy Wimer,Major Minor Diminished Augmented. 2 1 1 1 1 1 1 2 2 3 1,3 5 R b3 5 R b3 b5 R 3 5 R,3 2 1 3 1 1 3 1 3 1 2. R 3 5 R b3 b5 R b3 b5 R 3 5,2 3 1 3 4 1 2 3 1 3 2 1. 5 R 3 5 R b3 b5 R b3 5 R 3,3 1 1 2 1 1 3 1 2 3 2 1.
3 5 R b3 5 R b3 b5 R 3 5 R,2008 2010 Randy Wimer,Major Minor Diminished Augmented. 3 4 1 3 2 1 3 1 2 3 1,R 3 5 R b3 5 R b3 b5 R 3 5,2 3 4 2 3 1 2 3 1 2 1 1. 5 R 3 5 R b3 b5 R b3 5 R 3,3 1 1 2 1 1 3 1 2 3 2 1. 3 5 R b3 5 R b3 b5 R 3 5 R,4 3 1 4 2 1 4 2 1 3 2 1. R 3 5 R b3 5 R b3 b5 R 3 5,2008 2010 Randy Wimer, Part 2 Closed Voicing Triads Through a Major Scale.
Second inversion,Root position,First inversion,Root position. I ve given you one selection from each group of strings as an example The wise student will work through. all 12 keys using each of the three triad shapes The unwise student will skim over the material and think. I ve got this no big deal He will later flunk out of the second semester of music theory ruining his GPA. and any hopes of a college degree and end up as an assistant manager in a What a burger in North Dakota. 2008 2010 Randy Wimer,Part 3 Open Voicing Triads Through a Major Scale. For these examples I ve fingered the triads more in the manner of a classical guitarist The arpeggiation. should be easily played with either the fingers or a pick. Root position,Second Inversion,2008 2010 Randy Wimer. First Inversion,Beyond Triads,Theory and Naming Conventions. For Extended Chords, You know what I m talkin bout all that G13b9 and D7 9 kind of stuff All of the ridiculously named.
complex sounding chords start with a simple triad Remember the basics chords are built in thirds there are. two kinds of thirds major and minor As we stack another third on top of the triad extending the chord to. the seventh we build new chords Start with a major triad If I add a major third on top of the G the high. est note in the C major triad the notes of the chord are C E G and. B a C major 7 chord Root 3 5 and 7 If I add a minor third that. added note is a Bb creating a Dominant 7 chord Root 3 5 and. C Major 7 C7 b7 What s this dominant thing I hear you asking I don t. swing that way No no no not that kind of dominant You went through. the triad exercises right You played the chords built from the successive notes of a major scale subse. quently abbreviated I ii iii IV V vi and vii In classic theory each of these chordal positions has a. name John Paul George once again forgive me In order the names are I Tonic ii Supertonic let. your imagination run wild iii Mediant IV Subdominant V Dominant vi Submediant and vii. Leading tone Major triads are on the first Tonic fourth Subdominant and fifth Dominant Look at the. key of C on the Tonic go a third above the 5 G and you get a B an interval of a Major third As we have. already established that is a C Major 7 chord Look at the Subdominant F Again go a third above its 5 C. and you get an E another major third resulting in an F Major 7 On the fifth chord a G the Dominant. again go a third above its 5 D and you get an F a minor third Since this arrangement of thirds only occurs. on the V chord we use its classic title to describe the resulting chord a dominant 7 The thing to really. remember is that dominant chords are built from a major triad with a b7 Natural 3 and flat 7. 2008 2010 Randy Wimer,Maj 3rd Maj 3rd min 3rd, The tonic I C major 7 The Subdominant IV F major 7 The Dominant V G7. Now that you have a complete understanding of why the real name for a G7 is G dominant 7 you need. to know that in real life no one says dominant They just say seven I don t know why but I can sur. mise a fancy word for guess You can see the need to differentiate between the two kinds of 7th chords. If you get a good handle on the information so far that s really most of what you need to understand how chords are built So this next bit may come under the heading of too much information If you be gin to bog down in the rest of the material on intervals don t worry Skip it for now and come back to it

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