Chords in Key

Discussion in 'Guitar Lessons' started by DW4LesPaul, Jan 20, 2016.

  1. DW4LesPaul

    DW4LesPaul Senior Member

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    YAY! Easy. Learned it all the way to the 2nd fret in about 2minutes. Sweet!

    It is interesting that it doesn't work anywhere except the 2, 5, 7 and 12th fret.
     
  2. DW4LesPaul

    DW4LesPaul Senior Member

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    Made me LOL.

    Well, hopefully you'll be around for a lot longer! I know I really appreciate you being here.
     
  3. DW4LesPaul

    DW4LesPaul Senior Member

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    I really hope that is it. I like doing that. It's fun.
     
  4. DW4LesPaul

    DW4LesPaul Senior Member

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    Have one on my phone!
     
  5. DW4LesPaul

    DW4LesPaul Senior Member

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    NEVER gonna happen. I just want to read enough of the manual to make sure I put the thing together correctly.

    That metaphor really isn't working :(

    I think a better metaphor is looking at a car's engine. If you don't know anything about electronics, fuel systems, and power transfer, when you open a hood, it all looks like a jumble of nonsense. I don't want to look at a fret-board as see a jumble anymore!!!! And it ALWAYS seems like the first time I put my damn finger on the damn board, I see less and less! It's like an endless maze that keep getting more and more complicated.

     
  6. Quill

    Quill Senior Member

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    Really great to read that you are getting somewhere with the harmonics, DW. But take another look at JonR's harmonics diagram; with more practice, you will be able to get a few more harmonics than that; the trick is, the harmonics that are closer to the nut do not line up with the frets, and you have to kind of hunt for them. Keep trying, you'll get them. They are hard to articulate on any guitar - really fresh strings can help with that.


    There's a chord/scale exercise I blow the dust off of, every so often. I wonder if you would like to give it a go ... have a look at this, let me know what you think.

    It's just a way to get started with putting the triads on the guitar in a way that has helped me a lot.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    TRIADS IN C MAJOR

    The key of C major has these notes in it:

    C D E F G A B C

    Which has the following pattern of tones and semitones:

    (C) tone (D) tone (E) semitone (F) tone (G) tone (A) tone (B) semitone (C).

    Out of that pattern, and using the basic principle of tertian harmony - building chords by stacking intervals of a third - we can construct the following triads:

    C major, D minor, E minor, F major, G major, A minor, and B diminished.
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    ..... I like to learn new scales all along one string first. This way, I come more quickly to understand the pattern of intervals in the scale, and it also helps me to get started in a very simple way with basic chord construction in that scale.

    So, the C major scale can be easily and usefully played on the guitar completely, all along one string, in two places: along the second string, and along the fifth string. Here's a diagram that, I hope, will show that:

    --0..................5.......7.......9..........12
    1:N---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|
    2:N--C|---|--D|---|--E|--F|---|--G|---|--A|---|--B|--C|
    3:N---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|
    4:N---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|
    5:N---|---|--C|---|--D|---|--E|--F|---|--G|---|--A|---|--B|--C|
    6:N---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|




    The next thing to do is build the triads. The C major scale that runs along the fifth string is probably the clearest place to start that work.


    By the way, in the next few diagrams, the pattern of the C major scale is marked with a small "o" on each note along the fifth string, just for reference. The note names indicate the triad to be played. "N" is just for "nut".

    Here are the triads in C major, running along the neck, on strings five, four and three:


    C major
    --0..................5.......7.......9..........12
    1:N---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|
    2:N---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|
    3:G---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|
    4:N---|--E|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|
    5:N---|---|--C|---|--o|---|--o|--o|---|--o|---|--o|---|--o|--o|
    6:N---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|


    D minor
    --0..................5.......7.......9..........12
    1:N---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|
    2:N---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|
    3:N---|--A|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|
    4:N---|---|--F|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|
    5:N---|---|--o|---|--D|---|--o|--o|---|--o|---|--o|---|--o|--o|
    6:N---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|


    E minor
    --0..................5.......7.......9..........12
    1:N---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|
    2:N---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|
    3:N---|---|---|--B|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|
    4:N---|---|---|---|--G|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|
    5:N---|---|--o|---|--o|---|--E|--o|---|--o|---|--o|---|--o|--o|
    6:N---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|


    F major
    --0..................5.......7.......9..........12
    1:N---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|
    2:N---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|
    3:N---|---|---|---|--C|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|
    4:N---|---|---|---|---|---|--A|---|---|---|---|---|
    5:N---|---|--o|---|--o|---|--o|--F|---|--o|---|--o|---|--o|--o|
    6:N---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|


    G major
    --0..................5.......7.......9..........12
    1:N---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|
    2:N---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|
    3:N---|---|---|---|---|---|--D|---|---|---|---|---|
    4:N---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|--B|---|---|---|
    5:N---|---|--o|---|--o|---|--o|--o|---|--G|---|--o|---|--o|--o|
    6:N---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|


    A minor
    --0..................5.......7.......9..........12
    1:N---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|
    2:N---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|
    3:N---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|--E|---|---|---|
    4:N---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|--C|---|---|
    5:N---|---|--o|---|--o|---|--o|--o|---|--o|---|--A|---|--o|--o|
    6:N---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|


    B diminished
    --0..................5.......7.......9..........12..........15
    1:N---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|
    2:N---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|
    3:N---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|--F|---|---|
    4:N---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|--D|
    5:N---|---|--o|---|--o|---|--o|--o|---|--o|---|--o|---|--B|--o|
    6:N---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|


    and C major again.
    --0..................5.......7.......9..........12..........15
    1:N---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|
    2:N---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|
    3:N---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|--G|
    4:N---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|--E|
    5:N---|---|--C|---|--o|---|--o|--o|---|--o|---|--o|---|--o|--C|
    6:N---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|



    And after trying that, it's good to try to do it all between the nut and the 5th fret, by moving to higher string sets. Try it, when you can, and let me know if this approach helps to connect your work to the guitar.

    ... and then moving it all over the neck, and on different string sets, and then in different inversions ... on and on!
     
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  7. DW4LesPaul

    DW4LesPaul Senior Member

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    I have noticed that harmonics are everywhere, as you say, gotta hunt for them. haha. It's pretty cool. I have old strings so it is harder.

     
  8. DW4LesPaul

    DW4LesPaul Senior Member

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    Well so good stuff below, but I'm not sure what you want me to do? Sorry :(

    I understand playing scales on one string and Chords in Key, like you have them, but not to sure how to take the yellow notes in the bars below. What am I doing? Something is telling me it is really important and will really ring true with me, but I'm not getting what I am to do?


     
  9. Quill

    Quill Senior Member

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    Just play them on the guitar. Practice that run, up and down the neck - get so you can do it with your eyes closed. I find it very easy to visualize the triads on the neck with these diagrams ... but I am drawing a picture of something I already know; it might be quite hard to get to know the triads from these diagrams, I don't know ...

    Anyway they are fingering diagrams, with string 6 on the bottom and string 1 on top, and instead of showing where the fingers go with circles, I've written in the note names.

    It's a simple, clear way of putting a major scale, harmonized in triads, on the neck. Heh. Kind of repeating myself now .... I've got all kinds of chord/scale diagrams like that, but whenever I put them into a thread, no-one seems to get what I am on about ... so I don't want to clutter your thread with them if they don't make any sense or don't help you. It kinda takes a lot of time to edit them ... I don't know a better way to do it; others use code commands to get the formatting to work but I haven't tried that, and I find the scroll-bars that appear in code-command windows kind of off-putting ...

    Try it on the guitar, let me know if it helps in any way.
     
  10. JonR

    JonR Senior Member

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    Hmm, maybe we need a manual for the metaphor! :D :doh:
    Whoah, mixing metaphors now! :) (You're going to drive your car round a maze??)

    The car engine is a good one. Just think of how many people are driving around perfectly well while knowing nothing of how the engine works! That's what steering wheels and pedals, etc, are for - the human interface with all the mysterious machinery, so we don't have to think about it. "If it ain't broke...." ;)
    That's essentially how music works. How composers write songs, and how improvisers improvise. By copying people who can already do it. When you take driving lessons, you don't get taught everything about what goes on under the hood - maybe a little, but mainly it's about how to operate all the stuff at your hands and feet. That's what you need.
    You learn to control things at a certain remove from all the underlying nuts and bolts. The car (a modern one anyway) is designed in such a way that you needn't think about the mechanics of it.
    Same with music: get your guitar in tune and play those chord shapes you've learned, stringing them together in ways you've seen done before... the whole thing will work fine, even you don't understand exactly how...
    Just like the car engine, the music theory (and the guitar) has been designed (through trial and error by generations before you) in such a way that you can use it to make music without knowing how it all works.

    Of course, when it does get "broke" - when we find we're lost, or trying to get the machine (guitar) to do something we haven't done before... Well then, we can take it to a local mechanic! A guitar teacher or music teacher!
    OK, but that costs money, and - here I agree with you - it's better if we at least know a little about the machinery, so we can do our own basic maintenance. And of course, we can feel more comfortable as a driver if we feel we understand the machine better. Eg, if we hear a funny noise coming from somewhere, we know whether to be worried or not! :D

    Do enough of your own investigation under the hood, and eventually you will know everything a mechanic knows. Of course that takes time, and you'll make a lot of mistakes.
    But - to try to apply the metaphor properly - you're not interested in being a mechanic. That level of complete knowledge is if you want to TEACH guitar (or teach music theory)! All you want to do is play the thing, and understand something about how music works. That means driving.
    Here the metaphor needs extending into "understanding the rules of the road".
    So, "playing in tune" is like knowing you have to drive on the road, and not on the sidewalk or across the field!
    "Playing in key" is like staying on the right side of the road. (Going off key is like risking a wreck.)
    All the common rules about scale forms, chord types, chord changes - what we can loosely lump together as MUSIC THEORY - are like a road map of your local area - so you know reliably how to get from A to B (or Bb, haha) without using trial and error. The map shows you the main routes, and also plenty of the side roads. The more detailed your map (the more theory you study), the more of those unexplored tracks it will show you.

    That metaphor holds, because a little driving around and exploring on your own - without the map - will soon teach you the lie of the land, finding routes that work, as well as more scenic routes you like to take. You won't discover everything that way, but your "sense of direction" (musical tastes) will help you build your own personal map of preferred routes. (You can still keep the map in your pocket, just in case, but you get to trust your own knowledge. You know what works, what gets you where you want to go.)

    IOW, it seems like you're afraid of even taking your car out of the driveway without a complete detailed map of the roads out there. ;) It's quite normal, as a learner driver, to be afraid of crashing into someone on a public road when you're not totally confident of handling your vehicle. But that isn't helped by understanding how the car engine works. All you need to do to begin with is keep on the right side of the road, and watch where all the other drivers go...
     
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  11. JonR

    JonR Senior Member

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    String fractions, like I said.
    12th = 1/2
    7th (and 19th) = 1/3
    5th (and 24th) = 1/4
    2nd (and some other places I haven't worked out!) = 1/9

    There are other places however:
    Frets 4, 9 and 16 - all give the 1/5 harmonic
    Fret 3 = 1/6 harmonic (octave of the 1/3)

    Between frets 2 and 3 (slightly nearer 3) = 1/7 harmonic. This is the "outlaw" one! On the E string it gives a D note, but very flat (1/3 of a semitone flat of a tuned D).
    Some blues theorists say this is the genuine "blue 7th" - the true b7 of the blues scale, and the reason a dom7 is regarded as a stable blues tonic chord.
    IOW, if you could tune a chord to the ratios 4:5:6:7 (root-M3-P5-b7), you'd have this "pure" dom7 chord, which would sound stable rather than tense.
    They say that when barber shop quartets sing that final "good evening friends" 7th chord, they are intuitively tuning into that 4:5:6:7 chord.
     
  12. Quill

    Quill Senior Member

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    Ok, DW, now, I want you to review this selection from one of JonR's previous posts:

    Then take another look at this break-down that JonR laid out for you from elsewhere in the thread:

    And then take another look at this one, from me:

    What do you think about all that?

    The fractions and ratios are interesting and very important background, they are useful in the practice room and on the workbench. Putting the harmonics on the guitar and juxtaposing them with the fretted notes on the guitar has a different value; I can't think about fractions when I am performing - maybe somewhere in the back of my mind - but I can use the harmonics in terms of their approximate relations to the fretted notes in interesting and improvisational ways. It depends on what your own goals are. My first goal is usually to get stuff under my fingers so I can use it when I play out.
     
  13. Quill

    Quill Senior Member

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    I will politely depart from JonR on just one point, if only for the purpose of suggesting another angle on the question by just presenting an alternative viewpoint or approach. That point is the one about the pitch differences between the harmonics and the fretted notes, and whether or not one group is "out of tune" or not with respect to the other.

    So. Yes ... I do recognize that the pitch of any particular harmonic does not perfectly correspond to the pitch of the closest fretted note - but to say that they are "out of tune" with each other is not a statement of simple truth; it is a mediated truth, one that makes a number of assumptions. Most of us have accepted those assumptions and don't think about it, those assumptions being at least two levels of compromise regarding tuning. Equal temperament tuning is one compromise, which creates the possibility of playing in twelve different keys and a vast and very beautiful array of harmonic colouration; and then there are further compromises with the guitar neck, with the layout of the fretboard, on top of that.

    But to most of us, without really thinking about it, we accept and even embrace and revel in the fact that there are two sonic systems at play on the guitar at once; there is the fretboard, giving us one kind of tonality to work with, and then there are the harmonics, and the ways in which the two do not line up is, in fact, the very thing that fascinates us about the bloody crazy-making instrument. Because the harmonics are always ringing away somewhere, with whatever we are playing.

    In the laboratory, absolutely - the pitches are different. No question. But in the studio ... can we be creative with those differences? What is the perception of the listener going to be, what are the limits of that perception, how can we work with those limits, maybe can we push them a bit, can we possibly work some uselful "creative irritations" into our music that are stimulating, interesting, evocative?

    So ... to me, it's an open question, which one is the one that is "out-of-tune". The fretboard is quite a highly artificial human construction, that is balanced to work with the limits of human perception and understanding, while the harmonics are absolutely natural ... what sense can we make of that difference, can we develop some creative control over the differences ... can we work with them, or must we submit to the rule, "this is out of tune", and the implicit corollary, "we can't use this"?

    I mean, please allow the possibility that I am not completely mad in suggesting that we consider what might be meant, when we state that this or that is "out-of-tune"; I have played in big bands and in classical-fusion situations and accompanied classically trained singers and violinists and a great opera singer (only once, sadly - that was beyond awesome) and played in jazz combos and swing bands and country bands and totally vanilla top-40 situations and punk bands and heavy rock bands and highly experimental I-dunno-what-to-call-them improvised music collectives and even worked in live-performance jams with painters and modern dancers and just all kinds of crazy and not-crazy stuff. As most players would, after many many years doing all kinds of different things with their music. But the point is, in every situation, the musicians involved suss out what the tuning requirements are of each situation, and work with what works for the gig. And having done that, I've never gotten any complaints about being "out-of-tune", whatever that might mean.

    We want to be as interesting as players as we can be. Then we get called to play, more and more!

    And just to be even more of a pain ... just grabbed my practice guitar and pulled ten different and quite clear harmonics between frets three and one; all strings (), no problem; The one that really excites me and that blowed-up my brain over 40 years ago was an A# on the E string. See if you can find that one! I absolutely know you can do it


    My set-up to get those harmonics is: string gauges 0.011 - 0.048, pick 4mm thick, bevels filed and polished, like, to perfection, dude, and picking with the fastest down-stroke I can manage, driving right through the string so the pick stops on the next string up, so the pick doesn't drag and deaden the harmonic - but getting all that with a pick is pretty easy with a little practice; good finger-style players get all those notes with their fingers - that's impressive

    That A#, in combination with that very interesting sort-of-a-D, the harmonic that gives a "pure" "b7th" relative to the open string that both JonR and I have tried to talk about, in our differing ways, leads to some pretty interesting things. Later! And maybe not from me. I was keeping it a secret but I think it's ok to give a little push.
     
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  14. JonR

    JonR Senior Member

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    Not really. I totally agree with your whole post! :) (Finessing some points I may be put a little too crudely.)
    What kind of A#, though? Surely not a tempered one?
    I'm guessing you mean the 11th harmonic - which is one cent nearer A# than A?
     
  15. DW4LesPaul

    DW4LesPaul Senior Member

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    I see the pattern; they are all the same except inverted at some locations, and the Bdim is different. What am I suppose to get out of doing this exercise? Also, I'm to play just the 3 notes, right, no barres? I can see how it will teach me where the chords are on the neck and the pattern they all take (except the Bdim) so that is always good, but what else am I missing?

    Thanks Quill.

     
  16. DW4LesPaul

    DW4LesPaul Senior Member

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    So what you're saying is to learn songs, experiment with chords and scales, and just keep doing that as much as I can? I still need to memorize the fret board though, but when I try, I get bored. I assume that knowing the chord (major and minor with a knowledge how to create more triads from them--like I have now and playing those chords while "thinking" about where the notes are and what raising and lowering them does will eventually allow me to have all the notes on the fretboard memorized?

     
  17. DW4LesPaul

    DW4LesPaul Senior Member

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    Yeah I've been listening to the tones and trying to figure out what notes they are or are closest to. Then play a chord and make a simple 3 note harmonic that sounds good after the chord.

     
  18. DW4LesPaul

    DW4LesPaul Senior Member

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    Jon,

    You said to play in tune. I have my guitar tuned to Eb. So I know that everything is flat. Is that a problem? When I learn songs, I just move up the fretboard one step to make sure I am hitting the right pattern.

    Tuning down a half step makes the number 13 strings I have really easy to bend and is overall easier on my hand. (13s come factory on a Taylor.)

    Is that going to pose a problem?
     
  19. Quill

    Quill Senior Member

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    That's great! And of course I know well from other things in other places that you have a far broader sense of what intonation is than we have the time and space to develop in this thread. I simply ... well it's not my clearest bit of text ever but I think the idea of the differing systems all in play at once is there. These things ... I find them so hard to talk about. If I could explain my sense of these things just a little better I would be a famous novelist.

    I'm just glad I'm mentally well enough to prefer the company of women my own age or I'd be a famous novelist's famous artist manqué ...

    [​IMG]

    ANYWAY! never mind - the Lori Maddox thread in the backstage must have got to me {shudder}

    I dunno, Jon. I haven't ever found anything that I could use musically by calculation - not to say that can't be done, just that I work differently. I just hunted and still hunt for stuff that I could and can use, and found what I found.

    And here's where I find a harmonic that rings close to an A# on the sixth string tuned to E:

    [​IMG]

    It's off a bit but is still interestingly close to an octave above the fretted A# in the picture (third string, third fret). That harmonic, to my ear, is nowhere near the pitch of an A.
     
  20. Quill

    Quill Senior Member

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    Some players tune down all the time ... some bands tune down. Depends.

    For all my fuss and noise about complicating thoughts about tuning, I like to work at standard pitch - though I have been so tempted to go totally to 432Hz instead of 440Hz ...

    I dunno. The ear is tricky. Good transcribers train to hear instruments at 440Hz, and those I know say they can't work if they let themselves get lazy with their own instruments. The highly trained ear is not that flexible. Or is it? It's a big question - I'm a fair-to-middling transcriber and I can deal with some wandering ... a fair-to-middling transcriber could take, for example, an old big-band recording, if it isn't too distorted or scratchy, and, after a while, write down for you what is going on all the way down to the details of the fourth clarinet - but it might take many, many listens and a lot of hard work; a good transcriber will get the whole thing in just a few passes, sometimes if the recording is really clear they'll get it first pass.

    If you are perfectly in tune to A=440Hz but down to Eb, and completely understand that ... maybe that's ok. Why not try a set of 0.012-0.048 strings tuned to E sometime?

    But ... that's another level of skill. But ... the best transcriber I ever met, a completely amazing man, was and is ... not a pianist but a guitar player! So ... who knows?
     

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