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felixdcat

Confused with chord building

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Hello everybody!

I'm having problems with understanding chords lately, so I decided to ask you. So, let's say, a C chord:

It should be built out of 1st, 3rd and the 5th note of the C major scale? Now, are first three strings of that chord always these notes (seems like they are in this case), or not? I was also wondering, if not, is there some rule to find those notes in simple chords...

I know I sound pretty confused, but I am... :crying2: Hope you can help me because I'm struggling in questions after I did some reading.

And yeah, do I need to know all 12 major scales by heart if I want to be able to play chords that are in same key, and understand music well?

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Um, does PlaneTalk show you the way to see specific chords? If yes, I'm wondering how it's got a byproduct that teaches you all notes on the fretboard?

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It's ok. Seems I didn't ask a clear question. Simple chords consist of 1-3-5, sevenths of 1-3-5-7, 6ths of 1-3-5-6... I'm trying to understand which is the 1st, 3rd, 5th note in basic chords (C, G, A)... I'm not sure if you understand...

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They can appear in any order felix, there are no set rules that way. The root note is normally played first but it's doesn't have to be. Basically any combination of the notes C, E and G can be considered a C Major chord.

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Heh, kinda had a feeling it will end up like that. I see Kirk's talking about playing 1-3-5 in case of simple chords, but I'm wondering how do I know which is 1st, 3rd, 5th note in some chord...

Let me ask this question again: do I need to know all 12 major scales for improvisation?

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Hi

You question is very complex to answer. There are many ways to build chords.

Ok, I'll give it short and sweet...

Major scale of C is

CDEFGABC the 1 is C the 3 is E and the 5 is G.

Ok, you COULD use this knowledge that C is made up of CEG to understand what order the notes are in.

Let me shed some light on something you may not know. In chord theory there is what is called INVERSIONS. So what is an INVERTED chord? Its one where a note other than the root (1) is in the bass.

a Chord is said to be in FIRST INVERSION when the 3 is in the bass and a chord is said to be in SECOND INVERSION when the 5 is in the bass.

So a C chord with an E in the bass is still a c chord but it is in first inversion. Chords that have more notes can be in 4th or more inversion, but the farther away from the root (1) you get the more unstable the chord usually sounds.

Many folk/bluegrass/country players use inverted chords to get that alternating bass note going. For instance if you take an Open C Chord finger the "normal" way, and then use your pinky up on the Low E string (the fat one) at the third fret (G note), you've just created on Open C chord in third inversion and this chord is used alot to alternate between the c note on the 5th string and the G on the 6th while struming the chord.

Another way to know what order the notes are in is to use the planetalk method.

Hope this helps... constructing chords, IMHO, is ONE OF THE MOST USEFUL, ENLIGHTENING AND PRODUCES A MORE KNOWLEDGABLE PLAYER than many other endeavors. I suggest you get a chart that shows the tones that make up a particular chord and build them ALL from scratch. This is easily done using planetalk. I suggest you memorize all the chord formulas (tones).. know that a major is 1 3 and 5, minor 1 flat 3 and 5... etc...

good luck.

Brian

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I'll get PlaneTalk for sure... =). When I started playing, my dad told me it's all about chords, I wasn't really sure, but now I see it all comes back to it. Thanks for the big reply, Brian, and I guess I'll do my best.

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Let me ask this question again: do I need to know all 12 major scales for improvisation?

If you want to build chords and improvise around chord tones in all 12 major and minor keys, then yes, you need to know all 12 major scales.

The good news is that they are all the same in terms of note spacings, so if you know one major scale, then you can easily learn all twelve.

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Ok, train TTSTTTS... Thanks for the response. I'm really glad you helped.

Yep - That's it. And remember to change letter every note. NEVER use the same letter twice in succession. So the scale of F major is:

F (t) G (t) A (s) Bb (t) C (t) D (t) E (s) F

Note number 4 MUST be called Bb. You can't call it A# because you've already used the letter A on note 3.

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One more thing.

YOU MUST MEMORIZE ALL THE NOTES ON THE ENTIRE FRETBOARD, OR ATLEAST THE NATURAL NOTES... ABCDEFG AND KNOW THAT THERE ISN'T A SHARP OR FLAT BETWEEN E AND F AND ALSO B AND C.

To make this easier you need to memorize the musical alphabet first if you haven't already...

A

A SHARP/B FLAT

B

C

C SHARP/D FLAT

D

D SHARP/E FLAT

E

F

F SHARP/G FLAT

G

G SHARP/A FLAT

A

This way if you learn where all the natural notes are, then the accidentals (sharps/flats) are easy... cause if you are on E then E flat is just behind E (also called D sharp). So one up from D is D sharp or E flat, one down from E is E flat or D sharp.

Brian

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Ok, train TTSTTTS... Thanks for the response. I'm really glad you helped.

Yep! You're on the right track!!! Sometimes you have to reword your question several times before you get the answer you're seeking, RIGHT?!:yes:

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Trust him Felix, I just recieved my copy a couple of weeks ago, and already it has opened my mind to understanding more in these two weeks then I've learned in the past few years of trying to put it together bit by bit."Well" worth it in my opinion.

And to give you something to look over while you wait for your copy, check out Fretsources helpful lessons here..http://www.guitarforbeginners.com/forum/showthread.php?t=6464

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One more thing.

YOU MUST MEMORIZE ALL THE NOTES ON THE ENTIRE FRETBOARD, OR ATLEAST THE NATURAL NOTES... ABCDEFG AND KNOW THAT THERE ISN'T A SHARP OR FLAT BETWEEN E AND F AND ALSO B AND C.

To make this easier you need to memorize the musical alphabet first if you haven't already...

A

A SHARP/B FLAT

B

C

C SHARP/D FLAT

D

D SHARP/E FLAT

E

F

F SHARP/G FLAT

G

G SHARP/A FLAT

A

This way if you learn where all the natural notes are, then the accidentals (sharps/flats) are easy... cause if you are on E then E flat is just behind E (also called D sharp). So one up from D is D sharp or E flat, one down from E is E flat or D sharp.

Brian

I know the basics, don't worry. Anyway, simple improvisation over chord tones would be to play any note of C and then connect it with some chord that has the same note, let's say Am?

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I know the basics, don't worry. Anyway, simple improvisation over chord tones would be to play any note of C and then connect it with some chord that has the same note, let's say Am?

Yes, E or C would be the common note between them.

C = CEG

Am = ACE

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If you have access to a piano keyboard (or a picture of one) you can see how there is no sharp or flat (black note) between B/C and E/F while there are sharps/flats (black notes) between all the other notes. This is the equivalent of all full notes on the fretboard being 2 frets apart, while B/C and E/F are always adjacent on the fretboard. This is true all over the fretboard wherever B/C and E/F occur. Seeing it on a piano (in black and white) sometimes helps to visualise the pattern.

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YOU MUST MEMORIZE ALL THE NOTES ON THE ENTIRE FRETBOARD, OR ATLEAST THE NATURAL NOTES... ABCDEFG AND KNOW THAT THERE ISN'T A SHARP OR FLAT BETWEEN E AND F AND ALSO B AND C.

There is no dogmatic was to studing music!

For example, I don't know any note names except for the open notes and the notes on the 12th fret. I can count my way up and down the neck but it would take far to long to do so if i was improvising, yet I can still improvise. I know what the shape of the minor scale looks like in relation to a root anywhere on the A and G strings, also E and D strings but not as well which allows me to improvise. And I bet Kirk can vouche for the fact that people can improvise knowing note names and chord tones and zero knowledge on scales.

Whenever someone talks about music theory it seems like theirs is the one and only approach, but its not. So, felixdcat, when people tell you how they do it, never accept it as true b/c it most likely is, but for me at the end of the day the only thing that counts is how my recordings sound, and I incorporate what people say accordingly. So fiddle around and see how you like the different approaches, but there is never a 1 and only way to success.

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Don't worry. I haven't. =P. You can improvise and know note names, for example with major scale. Because if you know the C scale, you just map it out. etc...

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I am not sure if I have misunderstood your question or others have.

The idea I got from your posts was, which is the third, which is the fifth and which is the first when you play a chord.

This is confusing on a guitar and makes it harder to understand, on a piano or keyboard it is very very simple, since you play 1st - 3rd - 5th in that order.

On the guitar, most of the time you do not.

Take for instance the most simplest Major Barre Chord.

1

1

2

3

3

1

F Major. F A C

If you look at the notes, you do play the 1st (Root) but then the second note you play (if you were to strum downwards) is the 3rd fret of the 5th string.

Well that is C, thats the 5th. The next note is another F, a repeat of the root, and it isn't until you get down to the 2nd fret of the 3rd string that you finally hit an A, the 3rd.

So it is slightly more confusing on the guitar then perhaps it would be on a keyboard.

Also I don't believe you do need to memorize every note on every string to improvise well. Scales have shapes that move around, there are perhaps 7 Shapes for the major scale, 1st position, 2nd position etc etc.

These are movable, once you have learnt the shapes, you can move them around on the fretboard without really knowing the notes you are hitting.

For instance the Pentatonic Scale is a very very well known scale, it is used extensively in both Blues playing and Heavy Metal. It is also a very simplified version of the Major scale, and the Melodic Minor Scale is only a slight variation on that.

It is effectively, painting by numbers, rather then understanding the concepts of the music you are playing, but to truly understand the concepts is a LOT of work, if you are interested in playing Jazz for instance, then yeah, you will have to memorise the fretboard, you will have to understand just how a Sus4 +9 chord is created and how that changes the notes in the scale you are playing in, and you have to know the scales well enough to move with the chords most of the time when they change.

Extremely difficult to do, which is why Jazz players are soo revered.

If however you just want to play a bit bluesy, some heavy metal licks or 'general' improvisation, just memorize the scale positions.

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Fong:

A piece of you post reminded me of a quote a guitarist told me, it sounded like you were touching on it but I didnt know what to quote b/c a few of you sentences approached it: "There comes a time when you stop playing scales and chords and you just play"

The paint by number analogy could work, but the concepts are necessary. Like if a guitarist wanted to improvise and he no idea of the concepts just say what scale he's in then I'd view it as someone throwing darts blind folded. The diatonic scales aren't indepent entities that just happen to have the same pattern, then have the same pattern and they just happen to have different harmonies. To simply look at whether or not is has any sharps or flats is purley academic, if the root was a sharp or flat would you then consider if it had any naturals?

To look at a specific chord to explain theory I think is too complicated, here's my take (I have 2). The greeks came up with a harmony, the perfect 5th as we know it today which they considered the best harmony. They also came up with the minor and major thirds which they also liked. They saw that if you took a note, lets designate it our root, and figured out which note created a major third (higher in pitch), then if you went a minor third up from that you got a third note, and the harmony b/w the root and the third note is a perfect 5th! And so now we have our major chord. The same can be done in a different order, if you go up a minor third you can a second note, and if you go up a major third you get a third note, the harmony b/w the root and the third note is a perfect fifth, which is a minor chord. The greeks also figured out that if you have a pattern of notes that go like this: ...w, w, h, w, w, w, h, w, w, h, w, w, w, h, w, w, h, w, w, w, h, w, w, h, w, w, w, h... (I was tought using w=wholestep=semitone and h=halfstep=semitone, so its what i'm used to) up and down the spectrum of human hearing you can create a 7 note scale where 6 of the notes of the scale are roots for either a major or minor chord! This was quite the achievement in my book, and I think it is very very very very very very very very very very easy to overlook it as such. Anyways, where do you start the scale, it don't matter (it actually does but you need to know what the scale is before you know what it sounds like).

Aeolian: w, h, w, w, h, w, w

Locrian: h, w, w, h, w, w, w

Ionian: w, w, h, w, w, w, h

Dorian: w, h, w, w, w, h, w

Phrygian: h, w, w, w, h, w, w

Lydian: w, w, w, h, w, w, h

Mixolydian: w, w, h, w, w, h, w

Also, if you go to this link you can see what each scale looks like on the fretboard. You will see that if you had A Aeolian (which is synomous for A Minor, Ionian=Major), and you went w, h, w, w, h, w, w to create the scale then after you took A# and went w, h, w, w, h, w, w it would be the exact same thing except each note is shifted up 1 fret. You would also see that B Minor is identical to the first except shifted up 2 frets. This will hold true for all every scale, if you learn what the shape is for a scale then you can shift is up and down the neck to match up with your key. (You would also see that there are more types of scales than you would care to know existed).

The other approach that i've heard (i think this is far fetched that someone had the foresight to actually do this, it works but I think it was done in retrospect, however it is a very nice elegence in music theory). I'm not sure exaclty how it's used, I know it can be used to determine how many sharps or flats are in a peice, but in terms of generating a scale, the only scale i could come up with is Lydian, and the circle of 4ths gave me Locrian, maybe someone else would be best at explaining that one...

That all good and well but somewhat useless. So one way to define a major or minor chord is by saying its a major third with a perfect fifth or a minor third and a perfect 5th respectively. Another way is to say a major chord is the first, third and fifth note of a major , scale, the a C major chord is the 1st, 3rd and 5th note or the C major scale or C, E and G. You can also define a minor chord as the 1st, 3rd and 5th notes or a minor chord, so an Am chord is A, C and E. The first definition is much more convincing(?) but the second is perfectly equivalent and much more practical.

Now we know what notes are in our chord, we just have to use 1 or more of each. If I played C and G then I'm not playing a major chord, im playing a fifth harmony. If i add in notes it would have a different name. When I D, I need to have 1 or more D, F# and A. Also I will use D as the lowest note, somewhat out of convention and somewhat out of taste. So my chord will look like this:

e 2

b 3

g 2

d 0

a x

E x

A is in a D chord, so this is also a D chord:

e 2

b 3

g 2

d 0

a 0

E x

So, I might try out this chord to see how it sounds. However this, as was talked about in this or a recent thread, is an inversion. This can be specifically called for if the chord was written as D/A. Which is a slash chord. In the above chord A is in the D chord, but that isnt necessary for a slash chord, such as D/B. So what I have taken so long to get at (in case you or someone else reading this wasnt aware of the previous stuff) is i have the freedom to play any notes I want to make a C chord I only need 1 or more C, E and G. The reason I went to such lenght is to me it all makes perfect sense and all fits together like a glove, its very helpful to understand it this way. One of the things I was planing on going into is you can learn 3 or 4 modes and befor ever hearing a fifth mode (this is impossible) you can figure out stuff about that mode based on already knowing the harmonies in the previous modes then seeing which harmonies are in that one. Basically what I'm saying is you can get by with the paint by numbers apporach as in no idea on note name, but knowing the concepts are an absolute must (not the history but what do these harmonies sound like, what do chord tones sound like, what happens if i play a chord tone then a non-chord tone then a chord tone then a non-chord tone then a chord tone then a non-chord tone all in succession (what happens is a very cool) and so on.)

Also I forgot to write it above, guitar I think is easier than keyboard in that you dont need to memorize 12 sets of notes for each scale, all you need to know is the shape. And with guitar unlike keyboard harmonies and intervals always appear the same anywhere on the guitar (assuming 4 halfsteps b/w g and b is taken into account), like on keyboard visually the distance between keys and the size of an interval is different, its something that has to be memorized.)

done

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