Mittwoch, 27. April 2011

Using 7th chord inversions in actual music

Ok, now we know our 7th chords plus the inversions. Time to use them in actual music!
Take any chord sequence you like, a song of yours, a standard, whatever. Now play that sequence using the 7th chords we learned and their inversions. Again, try to play the next chord using the inversion closest to the one being played.

An example:
I took a standard major II V I progression and played it using the 7th chord inversions. In D major this will look like this:
Major II V I progression using 7th chord inversions on strings 2, 3, 4 and 5 in D major (click to enlarge).
By doing this you will start to see the notes of the chords all over the fretboard. Be aware that the chord tones are the "safest" tones you can play while improvising, meaning they will sound the most "correct" (maybe not the most interesting, but you won't sound wrong). So, if you want to improvise over the given chord progression it will be a good starting point to aim for these notes.

Try this:
After you are comfortable playing your chord progression using the 7th chord inversions, try playing improvised lines using only chord tones.
In the above example you would play just chord tones of the II chord over the II chord, play just tones from the V chord over the V chord, etc...
I added an example of a short line played using only chord tones and very few passing tones (2 or 3). The line uses the exact fingerings you can see above. You will notice that, because I am only playing chord tones, the chords are quite evident even though there's no accompaniment.

II V I chord tone line by vidi74

Sonntag, 24. April 2011

Erhu Phrasing

Ok, now for something completely different:
Stealing phrases from other instruments! 

This is a lot of fun and can give you some really fresh ideas. In this example i stole a short phrase from one of my favourite east asian instruments, the erhu. Take a look at the phrase the lady in the video plays at around 0:38 seconds:

Now try to play that phrase!
Don't just play the notes. Pay attention to the little nuances, like the short pull-offs and hammer-ons and study the vibrato. Quite different from how you play your guitar normally, isn't it?

Once you get a feel for the phrasing try to write your own little piece of music with it. It doesn't have to be traditional chinese music. Here I've recorded a little funky backing. First I play the phrase from the video (My version is far from perfect) then I add some improvised pentatonic phrase mixing the erhu feel with a more traditional electric guitar feel:

Erhu Phrasing 1 by vidi74

The cool thing today with youtube and the likes you can just listen to all kinds of fascinating instruments. If you find something you like, try to learn from it. And remember you don't need to learn a whole song. If there's one thing that strongly appeals to you, learn that, copy it analyze, do whatever youcan and want to get something out of it, which will be usefull for your music.
Have fun experimenting!

PS: If you want to listen to a whole instrumental guitar song, where I tried to incorporate some asian sounds, listen to "Tsingtao Blues" of my CD "Space Fish" on my Myspace page:

Samstag, 23. April 2011

Shifting 7th chords in 3rds

Great, so in the last lesson we learned about 7th chords and their inversions. Now here's an exercise that I like very much to visualize all the inversions diatonic to a specific scale (diatonic = belonging to that scale).
Basically you take a 7th chord and then go up or down in 3rds diatonic to the scale you're in and play the chord on that degree, trying to play the inversion where you'll have to move the fewest notes. If you do this right you'll notice that you'll have to move only one note!

Here's an example in the key of D major:
(Notice that I use roman numerals to depict scale degrees! root = I, second degree = II, etc...)

  • Start with Dmaj7 root position.
  • Go up a third and play the 7th chord on that scale degree, which would be a III-7 (F#-7).
  • Go up a third again and play the 7th chord on that scale degree, which would be a V-7 (A7).
  • Up a third again to the VII, which is VII-7b5 (C#-7b5).
  • Next is the II-7 (E-7).
  • IVmaj7 (Gmaj7).
  • VI-7 (B-7).
  • And we are back to the I but in it's first inversion.
Shifting 7th chords up diatonically in thirds. Only one note per step needs to be moved (click to enlarge).
Notice that we have passed all the seven degrees of D major and have just reached the first inversion of the I! This means we have passed all the possible 7th chord inversions which lay between the Dmaj7 root position and the Dmaj7 first inversion.

What to do next?
Go upwards from the first inversion to the second inversion.
Then from the second to the third inversion and then from the third to the root.
Do the same going down in thirds.

What about shifting by other intervalls?
That is also a great exercise. I just like this one in thirds very much as only one note per step needs to be shifted and because you play every inversion between starting point and end point.

Have fun!!

7th chord inversions

In order to visualize the fretboard, it's a good thing to learn the chords and their inversions.
Below you can see a Dmaj7 chord in root position and it's three inversions. What does it mean?
  • Root position: root in the bass
  • 1. Inversion: 3rd in the bass
  • 2. Inversion: 5th in the bass
  • 3. Inversion: 7th in the bass
All the four chords contain the same notes, i.e. the root, 3rd, 5th and 7th of Dmaj7 (D, F#, A, C#).
Dmaj7 in root position and it's three inversions. On strings 2, 3, 4 and 5 (click to enlarge).

What to do next?
Construct the root postition 7th chord and it's three inversions for D7, D-7, D-7b5.

The difference between Dmaj7 and D7 is just the 7th. (Dmaj7 = major 7th; D7 = minor 7th).
The difference between D7 and D-7 is just the 3rd. (D7 = major 3rd; D-7 = minor 3rd).
The difference between D-7 and D-7b5 is just the 5th. (D-7 = natural 5th; D-7b5 = diminished 5th).

Freitag, 22. April 2011

Welcome to my Blog!

Hi, welcome to my blog!!

Here I will post all the things related to music that move me at the moment. These will be mostly lessons, licks, ideas and other discoveries.
As I am a guitar player many posts will be related to the guitar, but it will probably not be limited to the instrument of my choice.

I hope you will enjoy it and I am allways happy about feedback.