If You Move Two Frets, You’ve Moved To Far – by Mike Overly

July 31, 2014

Barre Guitar ChordWouldn’t you like to change chords faster? You could if you played them closer.

Where do chords originate? The simple answer is: from the letters and tone numbers of a scale. In other words, it’s just like the Scrabble® word game. You know how to play that game, select some letters and then see how many words you can spell with those letters. Well, guess what? Music is exactly the same. You select the letters of a scale and then you see how many chords you can spell with those letters!

Since there are many scales from which you can select letters to spell chords from, we will limit this lesson to the G major scale and its chord triads. A chord triad is harmony of three different letters played simultaneously. Many books have been written about this “music-spelling” game. They are known as Music Theory books. These books go into great detail explaining the rules of spelling such as: intervals, inversions, extensions, alterations and so on, until you become a Ph.D. at the spelling game. But who has that kind of time? So, here’s a very simple concept that will have you easily spelling 7 different chord triads from the G major scale. Ready? Just select “every-other-letter” from the scale. Wow, that sure was simple!

Let’s begin by illustrating the G major scale as letters and scale degree tone numbers in two octaves. Figure 1.

 The following ilustrates the circle-6-2, G major scale as letters and tone numbers on the guitar fretboard. Figure 2.

Now, let’s start the chord triad spelling game. The first chord of the G major scale is the G major chord, which is spelled with three “every-other-letters: G B D. This first chord of the G major scale is symbolized by Harmony Numeral I (one). Figure 3.

Here’s another fun game, find the hidden picture. In other words, find the hidden chord! Do you see the circle 6-1 G major chord hidding within the circle 6-2 G major scale? Here is something interesting. Even though there are only three lettes, this chord has six sounds. Figure 4.

And now, a bit of the rules that was mentioned earlier. Since the G major chord begins on the tone 1 (also known as the root and tonic) of the G Major scale, it is called the I (one) major chord. Scale degrees tone numbers: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 symbolize single pitches. In contrast, harmony numerals: I ii iii IV V vi viib5 symbolize groups of pitches called chords or arpeggios. Chord tones are played at the same time and arpeggio tones are played one at a time with no sustain. The harmonies I, IV and V are major, while the ii, iii and vi are minor. The viib5 is a minor flat five. Traditional music theory calls harmony seven of the major scale: diminished.

Now, let’s proceed. In the key of G major, the ii minor chord is A minor (Am, A C E) and is shown in circle 6-3. Figures 5 and 6.

The iii minor chord is B minor (Bm, B D #F) shown in circle 5-1. Figures 7 and 8.

The IV major chord is C major (C E G) also in circle 5-1. Figures 9 and 10.

The V major chord is D major (D F# A) in circle 5-4. Figures 11 and 12.

The vi minor chord is E minor (Em, E G B) in circle 4-1. Figures 13 and 14.

And finally, the viib5 minor flat five chord is F#mb5 (F#mb5, F# A C) in circle 6-1 and circle 4-1. As we previously said, traditional theory  calls this a diminished triad. Figures 15, 16 and 17.


As you can now see, all the chords of the G major scale, or any scale for that matter, are within one fret of any other chord. You can’t get any closer, or faster, than that!

So, ’til next time, have some fun playing closer and faster chord changes… I’ll be listening!

http://www.12tonemusic.com


All the Chords I Needed to Know I Learned at My First Lesson – by Mike Overly

May 22, 2014

Mike Overly Custom Guitar by Ed SchaefferAt a recent Homeschool Convention someone asked me: How many chords are there on the guitar? That’s a very good question, I replied. Is the answer, six, ten thousand, a million, who knows? What we do know is that there are only five simple open shapes from which all chords originate!

Let’s begin by imagining the picture on the cover of a puzzle box. Visualize the picture on the box and see it as a whole picture. See this whole picture as the seven letter of music on your fretboard. When these seven letters of music: A, B, C, D, E, F, G are horizontally connected on the 6 strings and 12 frets of your guitar, the following picture is revealed.

Now, imagine taking a pair of scissors and cutting this whole fretboard picture into five pieces, which we will call fractions. How hard would it be to put together a puzzle if it only had five pieces – Playskool® right? Well, the five puzzle pieces are the five open major chords: E, D, C, A, G which like an anagram can be rearranged into the word: CAGED. You probably know these five open shapes already.

Next, let’s see how these five shapes become movable forms on the holistic fretboard. Simply stated, the definition of holistic is forms interlocked. To see this holistic connection, we need to know that a chord contains at least three different letters that are played at the same time. For example, an F major chord is spelled with these three different letters: F A C. However, unlike English, these 3 letters may be arranged in any combination, for example: F A C, A C F, C F A, F C A and the chord will still be F major. These different letter orders are called inversions. In the following example, we’ll group the three F major chord letters vertically as we move up the fretboard, and like magic, the five F major chord forms appear!

Perhaps you’re having a little trouble seeing them? The following animated gif image we help you visualize these five shapes more clearly, by highlighting the three F major chord letters, FAC, into the five movable major chord forms.

Congratulations! You can now see all five F major chord forms on your holistic fretboard.

Now, here’s the important part, no one knows any more F major chords than you do… there are only five! And by simply moving these five major chord barre forms to a different letter location the fretboard, all major chords can easily be played – but that’s another lesson…

So, till next time, have some fun interlocking your five form holistic puzzle pieces ~ I’ll be listening . . .

http://www.12tonemusic.com


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