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Music Lessons From And For ATS Members.

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posted on Apr, 3 2009 @ 10:53 AM
Building Chords (5)

Dominant Chords

Now if you look back a couple of posts, you'll see that we generated a chord scale using the scale of C major as a start point. I also put in rather old-fashioned terms for each SCALE DEGREE - tonic, supertonic etc.

The fifth degree of each scale is known as the DOMINANT. We'll come back to this in a little while.

Let's look at a four note chord. C major.

You can change any of the notes in it to alter the flavour of the chord. If you change the C, however, you've changed the ROOT of the chord, which means all bets are off.

Let's just look, for the moment, at the third and seventh of each chord. Now the only thing you can do with these notes is flatten them. If you sharpen them, they become the next note in the scale.

If you go back to the tone, tone, semitone stuff, you can work out why that happens.

Anyway, you can get four different kinds of chords by doing this.

C major seventh - C E G B
C minor seventh - C Eflat G Bflat
C dominant seventh - C E G Bflat
C minor/major seventh - C Eflat G B

So: minor seventh has both notes flattened. Dominant seventh has a major third and a flat seventh. Min/maj7 has a minor third and a major sevent (as the name suggests).

It's important to note that min/maj7 chords are not found in your basic major scale. They derive from the melodic or harmonic minor scales. If there's a demand, or if I'm bored, I'll get into that. However, that sound is easily accessible as the James Bond Chord.

For this you place your first finger on the top (thinnest) E string at the second fret. your second finger on the G string at 4th fret, your third finger on the B string at the 4th fret, and your pinky on the D string at the fifth fret. It also helps if you can simultaneously get enough of your pinky to touch the A string enough to stop it vibrating. This is called MUTING.

Hit that nice low E, and then play the rest of the chord (strumming close to the bridge helps) and hey presto! instant James Bond.

[edit on 3-4-2009 by rich23]

posted on Apr, 3 2009 @ 04:32 PM
Heres a chord finder for anybody who needs it.
On page one I gave a link for all the notes on the fret board.
These 2 go hand in hand as memorizing the notes is essential.

posted on Apr, 3 2009 @ 05:36 PM
reply to post by DrumsRfun

There's a huge amount of stuff on the alt-chords site... but I have to say I have some reservations. I checked out the chord finder, and entered a simple Cadd9 chord. It came up with the right name, but it also said it was an Em7b5... which it isn't. There would have to be a Bb in there for that.

Similarly with the chords section - it only gives two voicings for each chord, and they're not necessarily the most user-friendly, to put it mildly.

Drumsarefun - please don't think I'm being critical of you - you started a great thread and there's so much stuff on the net that costs - naturally, people want you to pay money for it.

I did find and it's got some good stuff on it. BUT he does like donations. It's on the honours system, so I don't know if I should post it on here, but I guess at the very least he'll get more traffic.

It's not all perfect from my point of view. For example, I don't agree with the shapes he teaches for arpeggios - I prefer Frank Gambale's approach. But if people approach all this stuff in the spirit of just going with whatever appeals at the time and fits in with what they know already, all these sites will provide some help.

Also, if anyone has any questions about music, I'll answer them if I can.

posted on Apr, 3 2009 @ 05:58 PM
reply to post by rich23

Ok, now it's time to go

upload your stuff and
show us what you got.

posted on Apr, 3 2009 @ 07:47 PM
reply to post by rich23

I am not much of a theory guy to be honest which is why I made this thread.
I like to learn and enjoy music and I want others to learn no matter what level they are at.
I agree with what you said about doing things for beginners as well as doing things for intermediate and for pros.I hate the word noobs tho.
I don't see you as being critical of me so don't worry...we are all here to learn and so far you have provided good information and I encourage you to do that.
Keep it coming...I don't mind a good brain fry.

posted on Apr, 4 2009 @ 04:14 AM

Originally posted by whaaa
reply to post by rich23

Ok, now it's time to go

upload your stuff and
show us what you got.

Time for you to a) read the thread properly and b) understand that I'd have done that if I were interested and had the resources to do so.

Try and be polite in future.

posted on Apr, 4 2009 @ 04:37 AM
Modes (1)

People get all worked up about modes, but they're really pretty simple.

If you remember, I said that the intervals of the major scale were asymmetrical, and that's what gives the major scale its distinctive character.

Just to remind you again: tone, tone, semitone: tone, tone, tone, semitone.

All that modes are is keeping that structure but making the starting point one of the other notes. That way you get a different series of intervals and a different sound.

The sound of each mode is intimately bound up with the kind of chord that its root note has. We'll come back to this later.

For more advanced musicians, a brief digression.

Apart from exotic, eastern scales, in Western music there are really only 6 scales and you can treat four of them modally. They are:

The major scale which is the best starting point, and it's usually used as a reference for all the other scales. In C, it's C D E F G A B.

The ascending melodic minor scale. This is the scale where a great deal of standard jazz sounds are to be found. In the classical tradition, melodic minor ascended and descended in different ways. Ascending, it's like a major scale but with a flattened third: C D Eb F G A B. Descending, it would be like the Aeolian mode, which is based on the relative major (Eb, for those who've been keeping up with Drumsrfun's earlier posts). So descending it would go C Bb Ab G F Eb D.

In the forties and fifties, people started using more dissonant tension notes. It's unclear who noticed it first, but I think (and I'm open to correction about this) that it was noticed after the fact that you could use the ascending melodic minor modally as an easy way in to getting these sounds, and as a structure to hand chord inversions and substitutions on. Then the more obscure modes of this scale started to be used for their own sake.

The harmonic minor scale. This was the starting point for improvising over minor progressions. It's got a flattened third and sixth degree and in C is C D Eb F G Ab B. A couple of things about this: the chord on the 4th degree is a minor chord (Fm in C) and, like the ascending melodic minor, it retains a natural LEADING NOTE. I'm going to post something on the importance of that shortly.

The harmonic major scale, I don't know when this scale started to be used, but it does come up in George Russell's Lydian Chromatic Theory, so it was certainly around and being used by jazzers in the fifties. It's basically a major scale with a flat sixth.

Both the "harmonic" scales have a flat sixth and a natural seventh, which introduces a new interval or scale step - a tone and a half. This has all sorts of interesting consequences when you start treating the scale modally.

posted on Apr, 4 2009 @ 05:03 AM
Dominant to Tonic (V to I) progressions and the LEADING NOTE

Ok. Arguably the single most common chord change in music is known as the dominant to tonic or "five to one" change.

If you look back on my earlier posts I wrote out the degrees of the major scale and gave you the old fashioned terms for each degree. Here, I'm going to look at just three of those scale degrees: the dominant, the tonic, and the leading note. These are the fifth, the first (or root) and the seventh notes of the major scale.

Ok. First, let's play a simple version of this change just to get the sound into your head. Try playing the simplest version (I'm writing for guitarists here) of this chord change:

D7 / / / G / / /

Damn. I just found out I can't do bar lines on my keyboard.

At any rate, I'd hope that the highest note you played on the first chord was an F#, and the highest note you played on the second chord was a G.

This should allow you to hear that the F# "leads" your ear to the G, and that's why it's called the "leading note".

One way of looking at music is in terms of tension and resolution. A dissonant chord on its own can sound ugly (though, you know, after a while you get to like it) but it sounds a lot better to most people's ears if you change it to a more restful, consonant chord.

This, in essence, is what we've just done by playing D7 to G.

Let's look at this in a little more detail.

We're in the key of G major, which has one sharp : G A B C D E F#, Note that we've got semitone intervals between third and fourth, and seventh and eighth degrees of the scale (B to C and F# to G).

Now in the old fashioned terms I referenced earlier, D, the fifth degree of the scale, is called the dominant. The chord, D7, built from it using the notes of the G major scale, is called the dominant chord of G major.

As I posted earlier, dominant chords have a flattened seventh and a major third. That major third is, in this case, F#, which is the leading note of the G major scale. That's the note that leads your ear back to the root. The flattened seventh is C natural, and that, in a similar way, tends to want to fall back to B, which is the third of the G chord - G B D.

So let's just look at that again.

We've got a chord that has the notes D F# A C going to a chord that has the notes G B D. Musically, what's happening here is that all the notes in the D chord (except the D itself) are moving one scale step to become notes in a G chord. The F# rises one scale step to become G; the A falls one scale step to become G; and the C falls one scale step to beocme G.

That's known as voice leading and it's something guitarists generally know dick about until they start playing jazz: but it's something keyboard players come across as a matter of course. This is simply because a) there's a much greater classical tradition on the piano and b) guitarists tend to play a lot of crappy bar chords and don't care about voice leading.

[edit on 4-4-2009 by rich23]

posted on Apr, 4 2009 @ 05:16 AM
Cycle of Fourths exercise

Ok. If you count the notes of G major between D and G, going up, you'll find there are four: D E F# G.

That means that one way of talking about this progression is to say that it resolves up a fourth. So that resolution is incredibly common in music. In fact one of my friends did a degree course and had to do something called Schenkerian analysis (no, nothing to do with Michael Schenker) which seems to want to reduce everything to that kind of tonic to dominant resolution.

Anyway, you can keep back tracking through what's known as the cycle of fourths. For example, try playing this (I can't do repeat marks, so just go round and round it until the penny drops):

G/// E7/// A7/// D7///

So here are a couple of exercises I came up with to teach myself the cycle of fourths. I'm just going to write out the chords to be played, in order. How you time it is up to you. You can play a bar each, or you could play three beats of the major (or minor) chord followed by one beat of the seventh chord. Use the whole fretboard. Use as many different chord shapes as you can. Loop it until you're comfortable knowing where all the chords are in every position.

C major C7
F major F7
Bb major Bb7
Eb major Eb7
Ab major Ab 7
Db/C# major Db/C#7
F# major F#7
B major B7
E major E7
A major A7
D major D7
G major G7

This takes you through all 12 major keys. So when you've done that, make all the major chords minor and do it again.

[edit on 4-4-2009 by rich23]

posted on Apr, 4 2009 @ 06:31 AM
Intervals=the distance between 2 notes.
I am going to use one string on my guitar.
For a visual aid I will give a link at the bottom of this post so you can see the notes I am talking about.
So on 1 string I will try to touch on intervals.

Starting with the E string open you get E (nothing fretted)
E to E is called a perfect unison.
E to F is called a minor second.
E to F# is called a major second
E to G is called a minor third
E to G# is called a major third
E to A is called a perfect fourth
E to A# is called a tritone aka augmented fourth or diminished fifth
*E to B is called a perfect fifth.
E to C is called a is called a minor sixth
E to C# is called a major 6th
E to D is called a minor seventh.
E to D# is called a major seventh.
E to E is a perfect octave.(12th fret)

I added a mark on the fifth note for a reason that I will touch on later.

Here is the link of the fretboard so you can visualize it a little better.

posted on Apr, 4 2009 @ 06:49 AM
I have a hunch the circle of fifths lesson is coming next so I will try to touch on why fifths are important to me.
When making a bar chord or power chord(power chord is the same as bar chord only you hit less strings) the note you start with is called a root note,the next note in your chord will usually be a fifth note.
Looking at my last post you will see that E to B is called a fifth.
If you made a power or bar chord in E you will see that E and B are the first notes in that chord.Most music today uses power and bar chords.

Lets say I wanted to play an A bar chord.My root note would obviously be A and my second note is going to be an E which is a perfect fifth.
Lets say I wanted to play a D power chord.
My root note would be D and the second note would be an A a perfect fifth
What a coincidence!!!In each power chord it is made up of the root note with a fifth note.

Rich23 can you explain the circle of fifths for me??

posted on Apr, 4 2009 @ 07:00 AM
Alternate tunings
Sometimes when you can't get the exact sound you are looking for a different tuning might come in handy.(tuning your guitar with different notes)
Here is a link for a bunch of alternate tunings.

My guitar is currently tuned like this D A D G D D
I like how spacy it sounds.

Edit to correct the tuning of my guitar...thanks Rich23

[edit on 4-4-2009 by DrumsRfun]

posted on Apr, 4 2009 @ 09:22 AM
This is about the African drum The Djembe.
I don't have alot of experience with these drums but have played them a few times and they can be really fun.
There is a language to it and I see it as the equivalent of theory for guitar.
I didn't learn the language because I usually play off of feel but I thought I would include it just in case anyone is interested.
Here is a good link to start with.It has alot of information.
The next link will show you the sounds.
This link is an old bandmate putting it all together.
These are the drums you see and hear in protests.
Yes drums ARE fun!!

posted on Apr, 4 2009 @ 09:29 AM

Originally posted by rich23

Originally posted by whaaa
reply to post by rich23

Ok, now it's time to go

upload your stuff and
show us what you got.

Time for you to a) read the thread properly and b) understand that I'd have done that if I were interested and had the resources to do so.

Try and be polite in future.

Sorry, I didn't mean to sound so abrasive.

posted on Apr, 4 2009 @ 01:02 PM
reply to post by whaaa

Apology accepted. I did say to spacedoubt I don't have the technology to do video stuff, I'm afraid. Thanks for being nice: we're cool.

posted on Apr, 4 2009 @ 03:25 PM

Originally posted by DrumsRfun
Rich23 can you explain the circle of fifths for me??

I'll do my best mate.

It's actually just the same as the cycle of fourths, but backwards.

This is because a perfect fourth and a perfect fifth can be inversions of the same interval.

So, if you play an open E and then count up four (major) scale degrees, you get to A - E F# G# A.

If you then count up five scale degrees (not that it matters, but your reference point is now the A major scale) you get back to E - A B C# D E.

So going up a perfect fourth gives you the same note as going down a perfect fifth - but an octave apart.

And dominant to tonic resolution - which is where the dominant chord "pulls" you back to the tonic chord - is always up a perfect fourth or down a perfect fifth.

Play through the exercise I gave in the earlier post enough times and you'll get it. I hope.

If you have any more trouble, let me know and I'll try and explain it another way. And the next post will be relevant to it.

And nice one for writing out all that interval stuff. I'd missed it out and it's really useful to have on the thread.

posted on Apr, 4 2009 @ 04:03 PM
Why the dominant chord is unstable... but not that unstable

Ok. What do I mean by unstable? Well, you have to bear in mind that most music is culturally determined. In other words, the culture you grow up in determines how you perceive music to a surprising degree. For example, I understand that Javanese gamelan funeral music, which in its own culture is unbearably mournful, sounds rather jolly to us.

What does the foregoing have to do with the price of beans? Well, we're now at a stage in our musical culture where dissonance is far less frowned upon than in previous eras. In fact, it's looked on as adding pleasant spice to the dish, rather than something to be used only very occasionally and as part of a musical journey.

So, strictly speaking, a dominant seventh chord is supposed to be dissonant or tense. Musicians speak of tension and resolution: the dominant is supposed to "resolve" or go somewhere. Hopefully you'll have started to notice that in the D7 to G progression we looked at in a previous post. We are conditioned to think that the D7 sounds good before the G chord. The G chord is "where it's supposed to end up".

But for the past 60-odd years we've lived in a world where your basic 12-bar blues is based around a dominant chord, to the extent that we now speak of "static" and "resolving" dominant chords in jazz. "Resolving" dominants are the ones with the crunchier notes in, for example the #5 and b9 or #9.

But the thing that's at the heart of the dominant chord is the interval of a tritone: that's what makes dominant chords so special.

That Wiki article is really cool. Check out the "devil in music" part. The tritone was once regarded as so dissonant that it was the mark of Satan himself. I don't know if you've ever seen the movie "Crossroads" (NOT the one with Britney, the one with the equally irritating Ralph Macchio) but Steve Vai plays the Devil's guitarist - a part for which he's singularly suitable, I have to say - and he finishes off his first solo with a massive tritone. Nice.

Here's how to play a simple 12-bar blues using tritones.

For this, we'll be using three chords, but we'll be stripping these down to just the tritone and taking everything else away. I'd love to have found my old diagrams about this, but I think I've cleaned them off my computer and they're on a backup disc somewhere. Please bear with me.

For this we will be requiring three chords : A7, D7 and E7.


  • thumb on bottom E at 5th fret
  • first finger on D string at 5th fret
  • third finger on G string at 6th fret


  • second finger on A string at 5th fret
  • first finger on D string at 4th fret
  • third finger on G string at 5th fret


  • second finger on A string at 7th fret
  • first finger on D string at 6th fret
  • third finger on G string at 7th fret

All strings not being played are muted with the fretting hand. To play the chords I'd recommend a pick-and-fingers approach.

So your 12-bar will go:

a7/// D7/// A7/// A7///
D7/// D7/// A7/// A7///
E7/// D7/// A7/// E7///

So if you're feeling courageous you can strip out the root of each chord and just play the notes held down by your first and third finger. Those are the tritones at the heart of each dominant 7th chord.

Now as you may have gathered from the Wiki article (love that stuff about temperament btw, it's a really cool subject if you ever want to get into it) the tritone is a symmetrical interval, it's exactly half an octave.

So let's look closely at what happens in those three chords. Hang on to your hats.

So the first chord, A7, has got G natural and C sharp on the D and G strings respectively. G is the flat seventh of the A chord, and C sharp is the major third.

The second chord, D7, has got F sharp and C natural, but now they're inverted. The note on the D string, which was the flat seventh, is now the third: and the note on the G string, which was the major third, is now the flat seventh.

That might take some time to fully get but it's really important.

[edit on 4-4-2009 by rich23]

posted on Apr, 4 2009 @ 04:25 PM
Flat five substitution - for the jazzier souls among you

So last post, if I made any sense, you'll now understand more about tritones. The business about them being symmetrically invertible is important because it leads on to why tritone substitution works.

I have to say I didn't think the Wiki article explained it terribly well.

I'm going to try and give a simple practical example that shows how it works, and is an extension of our previous 12-bar blues. For this, we will need 2 extra chords:


  • second finger on A string at 6th fret
  • first finger on D string at 5th fret
  • third finger on G string at 6th fret


  • thumb on bottom E at 6th fret
  • first finger on D string at 6th fret
  • third finger on G string at 7th fret

So our revised 12-bar will go:

A7/// D7/// A7/// Eb7///
D7/// D7/// A7/// A7///
E7/// D7/// A7/// E7/Bb7/

So, because the heart of each chord is a tritone, which is symmetrically invertible, if you move the root by a tritone, you get another dominant 7th chord.

For the more advanced students:

It's cool to use melodic minor modes to play over these changes.
Over Bars 1, 3, 7 and 11 you can use E melodic minor which, modally speaking, is A lydian dominant.

Over bars 2, 5, 6 and 10 you can use A melodic minor (D lyd dom).

Over bar 4 you can use Bb melodic minor (A altered).

Over bar 9 you can use B melodic minor (E lyd dom).

Over bar 12 you can use F melodic minor, which works out as E altered for the first two beats and Bb lydian dominant for the second two beats.

If all the above is gobledeegook, don't worry. It'll make sense when you're ready.

All this information is only there for people who are ready for it at the time.

posted on Apr, 4 2009 @ 04:39 PM

Originally posted by DrumsRfun
My guitar is currently tuned like this D A G D D D
I like how spacy it sounds.

Do you mean D A D G D D?

It just makes a bit more sense, physically. Plus it's really close to DADGAD which Jimmy Page uses a lot, often on the acoustic solo numbers and, if memory serves, on "Kashmir".

posted on Apr, 4 2009 @ 06:00 PM
reply to post by rich23

Oops...Your right.I made a mistake.I was still having my coffee when I typed that.
I was trying to get a sitar sound and this was the closest I could get.
What would be a good tuning for a sitar??

[edit on 4-4-2009 by DrumsRfun]

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