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Chord Tones Question

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#1 too2tall



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Posted 29 January 2009 - 09:28 PM

I have been playing for a little over a year now and putting in 1 to 2 hours a day practice has paid off. I have several area's that still need work. Hoping someone here can help me.
My solo's are getting much better and are starting to have a theme and are not so abstract. I play in Open E and Open D because I never played guitar before and have learned the fingerboard this way and all the intervals. I play all the keys on both.
My question about chord tones are how do you recognize what chords are being played when doing improvisation? If a song is 12 bar blues no problem but let's say its a jazzy song with 5 or 6 chord changes. I can not know all the chord changes and could only guess, which is a killer if your improvising. Now I use different scales in the Key to play improvised but I can see the benefit of Chord Tones in the way Kirk uses them. Still how do you know if its a Sus2 or 4 chord or Major 9th or 7th on the fly? Is it just years of ear training and playing?


#2 Kirk Lorange

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Posted 29 January 2009 - 09:53 PM

Yes, too2tall, you do begin to hear which are which after a while but if you can't immediately recognize them, work them out. Start with the bass note ... 9 times out of 10 it's the root; then run through a few flavors, add some extensions, fiddle around with the chord until you hear that it fits. Easier to do in standard tuning, of course, where the chord shapes are compact and familiar. Listen really closely to the chord, over and over if necessary, and try to single out tones within the chord by ear. Once you're sure about any one tone, find it on the fretboard, relate it to the chord you think you're working around. So (for example) if you hear an A note ringing through all the others, but the chord is G, you know you're dealing with some sort of G 9th chord or sus2 ... but you do eventually simply hear it.

Or find a chord chart for the tune in question! Even in jazz circles, players aren't expected to hear every nuance of every chord. Someone writes it out as a chord chart.

#3 too2tall



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Posted 29 January 2009 - 11:50 PM

Thanks Kirk that makes sense. Learning the theory is easy compared to training your ear I think. I hear the differences when I play songs with other musicians I don't know but don't really identify what is what. I will work on what you prescribe.

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