Kirk Lorange

Chord Melody

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The TAB, GuitarPro file, midi files and notation that come with this lesson are now only available as part of the "Fingerstyle Lesson Pack" Details here.
Here's a look at the way to can create a melody not from single notes, but from a series of chords. I guess the best way of looking at this is that it's a four or five part harmony line.

I've used a fairly standard sounding set of blues/jazz chords in the key of E. I won't show the Roman Numeral values for all of these chords as it's more confusing than helpful, but there's a lot of 'majorizing' of the usual minor chords going on, and the use of a couple of diminished 'passing chords', which you'll see in the movie indicated by the symbol 'o'.

The most difficult aspect of this lesson is switching chords so quickly. As always, the only way to master it is to take it slowly at first, even if it's dead slow. Let your fingers adapt to the changes, keep doing it and doing it until you don't need to think any more ... until the sequence is as familiar as walking around your own home. Even if you never play the lesson again, once you mastered it, it's still extremely valuable practice.

You'll see that I done this in two halves; the first half is series of four fingered plucks of each chord ... well, three fingers and the thumb. The tab will show you exactly which strings I pluck, but you'll see that they're all based of the chord shapes. The second half is an alternating bass / chord sequence using exactly the same shapes and chords. There are countless other combinations and 'feels' of course, there to be explored and exploited.

I called the fourth chord in the sequence a Bb diminished. It can also be called an E diminished, but for clarity I used the bass note as root. Diminished chords are odd in that the same chord repeats itself every 3 frets, meaning that there are really only 3 diminished chords out there. You'll notice another E dim chord near the end ... you could call that one Bb dim too.

Let's not get bogged in the diminished quagmire!

The B7, C# and F# chords use alternating bass notes, the tab and movie should be clear enough to show how this is done ... the F# is straight forward, the other two require a finger to move off one bass note and on to the other.

That's about all I can think of for this one! Have fun ...


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