Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Chord Families: It's Primary Season

We can play quite a few primary chords within a number of chord families. Remember the primary chords are the I-IV-V of any given key. We can play chord families in Major and minor keys. Here is a rundown of what we can do...

Guitar 1:

Key of G

Key of A

Key of D

Key of E

Key of Em

Key of Am

Guitar 2: All of above and...

Key of C

Key of F

Key of Bb

Key of Eb

Key of Ab

Key of Db

Key of Cb

Key of B

Key of F#

Key of C#

These examples are all listed in Major tonality. Guitar 2 students should play all of these chord families in both major and minor. In minor, the 1st and 4th chords would use a minor shape.

Monday, September 21, 2015

The Theory Behind Chord Families

I have spoken in class about how certain chords belong together because they are in the same family. Well, by family I am talking about the key in which these chords reside.
 Let's look at three chords: G, C, and D

These three chords get played together a lot. We call these chords the I (G), IV (C) and V (D) in the key of G.

When you look at the Key of G and how the scale in that key is constructed, you will see the pattern of chords that live within the key of G. This pattern is the same in every Major scale (Do, Re, Mi...etc.)

Notice how the I, IV and V are upper case or Major chords. We call those the Primary Chords in the key. Hundreds and hundreds of songs have been written based on these primary chords alone. At this point, you already know the primary chords and a couple of secondary chords (Am, Em) in the key of G so you are well on your way to playing, and creating some great music.

Monday, September 14, 2015

The Notes on the First String

This video reviews the three notes on the first string: E, F, and G

The B7 Chord and Hallelujah

In class we discussed the B7 chord. We looked at the open position fingering of the chord and mentioned it's relationship to E chords (specifically Em).

Well here is that chord in blog format...
Here are the chord changes to the very popular song "Hallelujah" by Leonard Cohen.
The B7 chord (in this key) only makes one appearance in the form of the song, but the impact is striking. It is easily the most memorable chord in the song. The fact is the B7 chord doesn't actually belong in the the key of the song (G). It is borrowed form another key and that is why it is such a special sound.

G                                 Em
I've heard there was a secret chord
        G                              Em
That David played, and it pleased the Lord
       C                        D                    G         D
But you don't really care for music, do you?    
It goes like this
        C              D
The fourth, the fifth
        Em                 C
The minor fall, the major lift
       D                         B7               Em
The baffled king composing Hallelujah
         C               G
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

         C               G    D    G
Hallelujah, Halleluuuuuujah

Lather, Rinse, Repeat...

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Reflecting on the Music- Guitarist Forum

Take a listen to some examples of the guitar in action. What do you think about some of these ways the guitar is used to make music?

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

The Syncopated Strum

Strum patterns are simply variations and combinations on the downstroke (D) and the upstroke (U). One of the most commonly used and useful strum patterns is one we like to call the syncopated strum. Syncopation is when notes or rhythms happen in unexpected places off of the beat. When music is not syncopated, the notes and rhythms generally happen in predictable patterns on the beat.

Here is the basic strum pattern:
If we syncopate that it looks like this:
The notes in the middle are tied together. When notes are tied, we add the notes together and sustain the sound.

If we were to count this syncopated rhythm, it would look like this:

This handy strum will serve you well throughout your guitar career.

Friday, September 4, 2015

First 5-chord review and recap- Beatles and Green Day

The first 5 chords are G, C, G7, Em, and D. This video will illustrate those chords and the progression used in the songs, In My Life by the Beatles and When September Ends by Green Day.

The Progression played in the video...

G       D       Em     G7     C       C       G       G
| / / / / | / / / / | / / / / | / / / / | / / / / | / / / / | / / / / | / / / / |

With each chord, please listen and observe these characteristics:

  • Clarity- with practice, each note within the chord should ring clearly. If the notes buzz or sound muffled it might be because:
    • your thumb is not positioned correctly behind the neck
    • Your callouses are still developing on your fingertips
    • Your fingers are lying flat and not arching over the strings
  • Motion- Once you are happy with the sound of the chords the next challenge is to move smoothly from one to the other
    • try to be economical with your hand movement- find the shortest path and move directly without wasted hand or finger movement
    • move slowly with your strumming patterns. Only move as fast as your weakest chord change. This will help develop consistency between chords.
  • Strumming- The most advanced strums are basically combinations of up and down strokes. When we have trouble with strums it generally is a result of the following:
    • keep your wrist relaxed so there is a natural flow on the up and down strokes.
    • Try to sync your hand motion with the rise and fall of your tapping foot. This will help you play more consistently in time.
    • Say the strumming pattern in your head as you play until it becomes second nature. (syncopated = "down  down-up  up-down-up"), etc.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

A Bit of Information Gathering...

I am looking to get a better view of what you hope to get from our time together. This survey will help me to guide you toward your goals.