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Beginner playing chord tones

jeremyjuicewah

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You will probably think this one daft but I have been confused by this. I have always thought that playing chords was to play the 1-3-5 (eg for majors) in arpeggio. I have never been a great one for playing the chords because I have not been able to see how you can play three notes musically or even make them fit a lot of the time. Would I be right in thinking that playing along is a matter of using the right chord to point you to a scale then playing notes from that scale that fit? For 7s and aug etc, being sure to play that note? Not talking about improv here, just basic playing along. Sometimes I dont see things clearly and its a hindrance, how do you approach chords? Here's the prob. Playing now with a bunch of people, of mixed ability, who have decided that that cheesy old thing San Fran Blues should be on the playlist. I am so sick of this song, I learned it on guitar aged about ten and thought it was the coolest thing ever. (Mind, I used to like the Barren Knights at one time). I cant think of much to do in this number except go along with the chord tones and then make a solo like a kazoo, which is only difficult cos I have to work to stop it sounding like my usual signature tone of a duck call. What do you play when you see eg a bar with the chord D maj above it?
Mike
 

BigMartin

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Not talking about improv here, just basic playing along.
Not quite sure what you mean here. Are you talking about improvising an accompaniment while someone else plays the tune? If so, it can be quite effective (especially if there's more than 1 of you doing it) to just pick a note from the chord and play it for the duration of that chord. If you have a bass instrument playing the roots (ie the D in your Dmaj) then the 3rd (F#) is often a good choice. Or the 7th if the chord has one. Or maybe a couple of chord tones in sucession changing at some point where that follows the rhythm of the melody. And if you want to get a bit fancier, you can practise your voice leading by trying to move on chord tones from one chord to the next in steps of no more than a whole tone. Apart from sounding OK, it's also a good way of getting the harmony of a song into your head, so that you can improvise better on it.
 
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jeremyjuicewah

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This is just the sort of thing I was wanting to hear. But, I am not quite with you on "move on chord tones from one chord to the next in steps of no more than a whole tone". Say we have D maj and we start in D then progress to G, are you saying get onto the two of the D scale (E) then move to note F#? Or, say the the 5th of the D scale (A) then to B?
 

BigMartin

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This is just the sort of thing I was wanting to hear. But, I am not quite with you on "move on chord tones from one chord to the next in steps of no more than a whole tone". Say we have D maj and we start in D then progress to G, are you saying get onto the two of the D scale (E) then move to note F#? Or, say the the 5th of the D scale (A) then to B?
It's not a hard and fast rule, and you can't always do it. But yes, going form the A of a D major chord to the B of G major would be an example of what I'm talking about. A classic one would be, say A7 resolving to Dmajor, (root movement downward by a fifth) where the the G of A7 falls very naturally onto the F# of D major.
 
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jeremyjuicewah

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No, I know not have rules. Having a lesson this afternoon, will try this tomorrow, get back to you.
Thanks,
Mike
 

Tenor Viol

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I think reading up a bit about the basics of music harmony would help. Usually, parts either move in steps (i.e. to adjacent note) or in jumps (i.e. by an interval larger than the adjacent note). It is usually good practice to not have too many jumps next to each other and if you do jump up/down, then to step back down/up in a series of smaller steps (e.g. D=>G=>F#E i.e. jump of a 4th and two steps of semi-tone and a tone etc).

The exception is the bass, as this usually jumps around a bit more. You can smooth it out (a la walking bass) by inverting some of the chords (re-arranging the chord so that the bottom sounding note is not necessarily the root of the chord - sometimes called a "slash" chord in jazz chord notation e.g. a second inversion chord of C would be Cmaj/G meaning the G is in the bass).
 
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jeremyjuicewah

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Thanks. I am having a good spring clean of the music room this morning with a view to a long practice this afternoon and will be trying all these things, plus the good things that came from my lesson yesterday. Cant understand why I didnt get to grips with this two years ago. I guess there is always something else, for me that was learning to read.
 

jeremyjuicewah

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To anyone who was interested, I had another practice today. I found Big Martin's one step long note very useful indeed, and I have come to find that a better knowledge of the effect of intervals would be invaluable so will be looking to nail some of that down this week. Things going pretty well and interestingly, I was mailed a recording of the two hour practice of today and the verse, where I have been tooting along in the background a la Big Martin was pretty good. My solos are lacking. The notes are not wrong, they are just not the best ones, and that is where I think the familiarity with intervals will nail it. Thanks to you all, it has helped me tremendously, and I guess that will not be my last question on this.
You aint heard the last of this
Mike
 
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