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Soloing Using Triads?


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#1 OFFLINE   Random Robot

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Posted 03 August 2009 - 12:27 PM

I've been working hard on learning triads in 3 basic positions, ie. G chord Root on 1st string (xxx433) 2nd string (xxx676) 3rd string (xxx12 12 9) and tying them all together. Those might not be correct, I'm doing this from memory. When I'm playing lead out of a given key, are all notes in the triads for that key availble for me as long as I target the notes I want? I know I need to focus more on changing with the chord progression but are there certin chords in the key that fit better with the chord I'm on? Does the IV and V fit better against the 1 or does it sound better to play the V and vi against the vii? Just trying to get a jump on it. Thanks
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#2 OFFLINE   solidwalnut

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Posted 03 August 2009 - 02:38 PM

Random Robot said:

I've been working hard on learning triads in 3 basic positions, ie. G chord Root on 1st string (xxx433) 2nd string (xxx676) 3rd string (xxx12 12 9) and tying them all together. Those might not be correct, I'm doing this from memory. When I'm playing lead out of a given key, are all notes in the triads for that key availble for me as long as I target the notes I want? I know I need to focus more on changing with the chord progression but are there certin chords in the key that fit better with the chord I'm on? Does the IV and V fit better against the 1 or does it sound better to play the V and vi against the vii? Just trying to get a jump on it. Thanks

Not sure if I'm hearing you right, so correct me. You said:

Random Robot said:

When I'm playing lead out of a given key, are all notes in the triads for that key availble for me as long as I target the notes I want?
If you mean, 'are all the notes of the scale (triad, pentatonic, etc.) available at that position, then the answer is yes. These triad formations are a part of the full chord formation found in the CAGED layout. The triads highlight the 1-3 and 5 of the scale; the full chord also contains the 1-3 and 5 an octave lower.

Random Robot said:

I know I need to focus more on changing with the chord progression but are there certin chords in the key that fit better with the chord I'm on? Does the IV and V fit better against the 1 or does it sound better to play the V and vi against the vii? Just trying to get a jump on it. Thanks

When playing any lead progression, it's how you want it to sound that rules what you play. There are no real rules involved other than being able to switch over 'strictly' between formations. Again, I'm not sure if I'm getting what you're saying, so tell me if I'm not. There are many 'common tones' that you'll find between each chord. For example. If you're playing in the key of G, and you play a I-IV-V progression, you could play only the high G note on the e string over all three chords and it fits together 'perfectly' because the G note is common between all three scales (The G, C and D scales). Finding common tones is another way to approach playing lead.

But you can do no wrong in learning how to switch 'strictly' between chord tones. As a matter of fact, it's the best way for you to begin to visualize the fretboard and train your ear for what to expect.

Try this using the I-IV-V (G-C-D) progression in the key of G by only playing two or three notes from each triad on (the same triad as a matter of fact. The D form):

xxx787
xxx121312 (or xxxo1o)
xxx141514 (or xxx232)

You've effectively used the D form and changed the actual musical chord 3 times. The notes come from the chords.

Am I close to what you're asking?

Be sure to check out Kirk's lesson on CAGED as this will hopefully turn on some lightbulbs.

Steve
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#3 OFFLINE   Random Robot

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Posted 04 August 2009 - 06:56 AM

The 1st part of my ? is about the 1 3 5's of all chords in the key I'm playing in, are they available for me to play over the progression? Your 2nd comment is very close to what I'm asking, are there better chords to pair together. A 1 chord (at least the 1 3 5 triad) against the IV and V or a iii against a ii and a vi. If so is there a given "rule" of which ones sound better together. Thanks Solid
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#4 OFFLINE   Kirk Lorange

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Posted 04 August 2009 - 10:19 PM

I'm not following exactly, RR, but if you're tracking 1-3-5s, you need to stick to those that are the chord, not use 1-3-5s from other chords. You can use them, but only as passing notes, as a means to get to and from the chord tones of the chord in play at that moment ... you don't want to linger on them or resolve to them, because then you're changing the chord ... if you, for example, resolve a line to the 6 of a plain old chord, you'll be turning the overall sound into a 6th sound, in other words, you'll be creating a new chord. That may or may not work. Usually, the composer chooses the chords he/she wants to use and if it's not (in this example) a 6th, you won't really want to resolve to a 6.

If you're going to be looking to chords other than the one that's actually in play, you may as well just think scales ... that's sort of what you'd be doing by grabbing notes from the other chords of the key. The beauty of just tracking chord tones from the chord of the moment is that they truly are your strong melody notes that will fuse your lines into the tune better than any others. That's not to say (once again) that you can't use others, but they can't be 'boss' notes, strong-beat notes, resolve notes ... they should only be used as momentary passing notes. Once you really get to see them and use them, you can use all notes -- all 12 notes -- in your lines, not just other scale notes. Then it becomes a matter of timing.

However: if the chord is an big extended chord, like an 11th or 13th, then yes, because those chords are two triads stacked up. In that case you can source notes from both triads. For example, a G11th is often written as F/G, meaning an F chord with a G bass, but you can in fact see it as a F chord over a G chord. The actual notes would be the 1-3-5-b7-9-11 of the G, but if you analyze it all, you get a G triad (the 1-3-5) and a F triad (the b7-9-11, which are in fact the 1-3-5 of F) ... so in that case, yes. A 13th you can see as a G triad + a F triad + a Am triad, so you can get notes from any of those triads.

You need PlaneTalk, RR ... ;)

#5 OFFLINE   Random Robot

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Posted 05 August 2009 - 08:45 AM

I know I do Kirk, I was hoping to get it for my Birthday last month, but the wife didn't come thru. Maybe it's time to trade her in :) she seems to think that getting the house fixed up to be sold is more important than my obtaining 20/20 vision on the guitar. But I think I'm getting the hang of this a little bit more. So I think you've answered my question and it's pretty much what I thought. As long as I target the Chord Tones of the chord or the moment I can use the rest of the notes in triads for the key I'm in as passing tones. I was thinking I'd have better "luck" if stuck to or at least incorporated the 1 3 5 of those chords rather than playing the just Major or minor scale according to the key I'm in. My thinking is that the 1 3 5 are stronger notes then the 2 4 6 but didn't want to play just the 1 3 5 of the chord I'm on, I wanted to expand and bring different flavors. ie I was noticing that if I'm grooving out on an F#m in the key of A that the triads from A (of course), C#m, F#m, G#mb5. The other triads sound ok but not fantastic. When my progression goes to C#m, D, C#m, E - I can play all the triads in the key and they sound pretty good. I guess the other part of it is, why when playing the vi does the I iii vii sound better then playing the ii IV and V?
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#6 OFFLINE   Fretsource

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Posted 05 August 2009 - 10:13 AM

Random Robot said:

I guess the other part of it is, why when playing the vi does the I iii vii sound better then playing the ii IV and V?

If you break it down to actual notes it might be easier to see the relationships between them.

So in your example, the key is A and the chord of the moment is F#m, which contains notes F# A & C#.

You want to know why the chord tones of chord I, (A) which are A C# & E work well over that F#m chord.

As you can see, two of those notes, A & C# are already chord tones of F# minor, so they will fit in perfectly. The other note E, isn't part of F#m but is part of the very closely related F#m7 - so, effectively, between you and the rhythm guitarist, you're playing F#m7 (F# A C# E).

Then you want to know why the chord tones of chord iii, which is C#m work well over that F#m.

C#m has notes C# E G#. The C# is already there as part of the F#m chord, so it can be used anytime. The E will work well for the reason mentioned above. The G# isn't part of the A chord but is the leading tone of the key of A. If it quickly resolves up a half step to A, it will sound fine, but if you linger on it, you'll create an F#m add9 chord (F# A C# G#). Whether or not that sounds good will depend on the style of the song, but usually should be ok.

Finally, the vii chord is G# dim with notes G# B D. I can't answer this one, because to me it sounds terrible.

When you add those notes to the F#m, you get:
F#m + G# = F#m add9 (usually ok - see above)
F#m + B = F#m add11 (very jazzy - and not to everyone's taste,)
F#m + D = F#m add b6 - I think even hardened jazzers will think twice before using that one :eek:

Remember, as passing notes between the chord tones of F#m, ALL of those notes will sound fine and add spice and colour, but you're talking about using them, not as passing notes, but as principal chord tones in their own right, added to the chord of the moment, which is a very different thing, as Kirk has explained above.

#7 OFFLINE   Random Robot

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Posted 05 August 2009 - 01:36 PM

Ah, very cool. Maybe the reason the vii chord sounds good to me is we're a 3 piece so I'm only playing that against the F#m groove that the bass player in doing and maybe he's on a "better" note when I'm on the chord, I'll loop against the full F#m chord. I was hoping there was a general rule of thumb of which chords fit better over each other. I'm trying to squirrel some extra money to pick up PT but until then I'll keep trying to decode what I can. Thanks
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#8 OFFLINE   Random Robot

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Posted 06 August 2009 - 12:39 PM

So I write out my scale then I realize, get my notes for the triads and match them up to the find the chords that fit best together. Here's what I come up with... The I iii V are great together all being inversions of each other. The IV and vi work pretty well with the vi having 2 notes from the I iii and V, the iv only having 1. The ii and vii have zero notes in common with the I. So to me it looks like this...
The Good- I iii V
The Ok- IV vi
The Bad- ii vii
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#9 OFFLINE   Fretsource

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Posted 06 August 2009 - 03:35 PM

I don't know if this has already occurred to you, but if every triad has 3 notes separated by rising 3rds, then every note must belong to 3 scale triads separated by descending 3rds.
So in the key of C, As C is the root of C major (CEG), it will be the 3rd of the chord a 3rd below C, which is A minor (ACE) and the 5th of the chord a 3rd below that, which is F major FAC). It works for any scale degree.
Again in the key of C, the note G is the root of chord V, so it must also be the 3rd of chord iii and the 5th of chord I

AND

As triads are built from notes separated by a 3rd, then triads that are separated by a 3rd (higher or lower) will always have 2 notes in common.
For example Cmajor = CEG and E minor ( a 3rd higher) has EGB.

Triads separated by a 4th will have 1 note in common.
For example Dminor (chord ii) = D F A and chord V, G major (a fourth higher) = GBD.

Triads separated separated by a 2nd will always have NO notes in common.
You already saw that chord I has no notes in common with chord vii (a 2nd lower) but it applies to all triads separated by a the interval of a 2nd (up or down). For example chord IV has no notes in common with chord V, which has no notes in common with chord vi and so on.

And you don't need to consider any interval more than a 4th because that's the biggest interval there is in separating chord roots. C major rising a 6th to A minor is exactly the same thing as C major falling a 3rd to A minor, so we always use the smaller interval. (This is called interval class)

#10 OFFLINE   carol m

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Posted 07 August 2009 - 01:28 AM

What is a good way to 'know' what particular intervals are so you don't have to actively think about them everytime you change a chord? At the moment I 'know'/remember the major triads with a bit of effort, maybe Am Em and Dm. I have no idea what are the 2nd, 4th, 6th, 7th without thinkiing about it, maybe counting off the alphabet in my head (or fingers). And as for going down/backwards.......:dunno:

As for knowing what actual notes I'm playing in each chord as I play them, I just don't unless they are C G D A E major, maybe the V7 of those, and only in the first 4 frets. So I have no idea what notes would solo well over particular chords other than notes in the triad or the scale of that chord (I think that's right).

Should I write out lists and learn them? Playing scales up and down the fretboard while trying to notice where the tones and semitones are won't teach me what the intervals between notes are in a melody or a solo, and working it out on paper kind of limits the flow.

Ear training, even if I could recognise an interval other than an octave, it wouldn't tell me 'what is the vi interval up of a particular note' on the fly, or 'what is the vi chord above the one I'm playing' while I'm playing, or the notes I will be playing in that chord, let alone whether they would sound good or 'fit' with the notes I just played or even the chord I'm soloing over (haha) without working it out on paper.

Is it just endless practice, and what sort of practice, or learning from lists or what? It's not easy to always think about these things when I practice (ie I often/usually don't use that sort of brain-work when I practice).

Any tips are appreciated.
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#11 OFFLINE   Fretsource

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Posted 07 August 2009 - 07:08 AM

If you know the 1 3 5 of every major triad, then you also know it for every minor triad as you just flat the 3.

So, if you know, for example that F# major is F# A# C#, then F# minor must be F# A C#.

If you know that C# is the 5th of F# major, then the 6th above F#(don't say vi) must be one step higher than the 5th = D#

If you don't immediately know the 1 3 5 of a chord such as Ab major, then you think of the 1 3 5 of A major and flat all of them
A = A C# E, so Ab must be Ab C Eb.

If you know what the notes should be but don't know where to find them outside of the first 4 frets, then you need to know the fretboard better. My Fretboard tab trainer would help with that.

Or is this not what you're asking?

#12 OFFLINE   carol m

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Posted 07 August 2009 - 09:21 AM

That's really helpful, Fretsource, because it shows me what I don't know.

First I have to get into the habit of thinking in terms of 1 3 5 so I can get used to finding the other notes or chords from there, and not just the chord shapes on the fretboard. And I've never learned or played anything in Fmajor or Bmajor. I know I can get confused between 'notes' scales and 'chord' scales in my head if I'm not concentrating.

Next I have to learn the triads of the 'sharp' keys - haven't a clue - and the only flat key I've ever seen is a Bb and I've never played anything in it. And then the minor keys with the flat 3's, and start using them in minor chord progressions and get really familiar with what the notes are in each chord.

Fretsource said:

If you don't immediately know the 1 3 5 of a chord such as Ab major, then you think of the 1 3 5 of A major and flat all of them
A = A C# E, so Ab must be Ab C Eb.

Is that a 'rule'?

And worry not, guru, your Fretboard Trainer is my friend and I try to visit it daily (sometimes). :)
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#13 OFFLINE   Random Robot

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Posted 07 August 2009 - 10:01 AM

Fret, great tip, never thought of it that way. Make perfect sense. Thanks. Do you think playing with triads in the way I'm talking about is a pretty good way of getting a jump on playing lead. It's helping me move up and down the neck a little easier. The other thing I'm working on is 1 string intervals and arppegios and playing passing tones out of the scale.
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#14 OFFLINE   Fretsource

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Posted 08 August 2009 - 08:47 AM

carol m said:

Next I have to learn the triads of the 'sharp' keys - haven't a clue - and the only flat key I've ever seen is a Bb and I've never played anything in it. And then the minor keys with the flat 3's, and start using them in minor chord progressions and get really familiar with what the notes are in each chord.

By 'sharp keys' you mean keys that start with a sharp, such as F# major, right? Normally that term means any key containing sharps such as G maj, D maj, etc. But you don't mean those as I know you know them.
Why do you have to learn those sharp keynote keys? There's only 2 of them. F# and C# (plus their relative minors)
Both are very rare - I don't know ANY songs in those keys. But both are also easy to think about. C# is especially easy because it's just C major but you have to say SHARP very loudly after every note :D
If the 1 3 5 chord tones of C maj are C E G then the 1 3 5 of C SHARP major is C SHARP E SHARP and G SHARP

If the I IV V chords in the key of C major are C F G then in C SHARP they'll be C SHARP, F SHARP and G SHARP.

If the relative minor of C major is A minor, then the relative minor of C SHARP major is A SHARP minor.

The louder you say it the more people will be impressed by your knowledge of obscure keys. Works for me. :yes:

#15 OFFLINE   Fretsource

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Posted 08 August 2009 - 09:05 AM

Random Robot said:

Do you think playing with triads in the way I'm talking about is a pretty good way of getting a jump on playing lead.

I have to say NO to that one Random. I can't see any advantage in it. I'm with Kirk on this one. By using any chord other than the chord of the moment, you're sacrificing perfectly good chord tones for dodgy non-chord tones used as principal notes.
Using the chord of the moment gives you the maximum number of chord tones.
If you use non-chord tones and treat them as chord tones instead of as passing notes, subsidiary notes, etc, then your creating a harmony that conflicts with the real harmony. That may be fine in an avante-garde experimental jazzy context, but even then you'd have to be aware of how those non-chord tones will change the harmony, otherwise you'd have no control over it and the result would be random, Random.

You've already found that chords that share notes with the chord of the moment work better than chords that don't, i.e., the more tones they have in common, the better it works. The logical extension of that is that the best chord to use is the one that shares ALL the chord tones of the chord of the moment, i.e., the chord of the moment itself.

#16 OFFLINE   Random Robot

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Posted 08 August 2009 - 09:45 AM

So we treat every chord of the moment as it's own seperate moment, being aware of it's purpose (dominant or diminished ect.) in the key we are in, using only the chord tones and passing notes? Can you help clear the water on what we are calling "Chord Tones"? When I think chord tones I think about the notes that really give the chord it's identity, 1 3 5 7 or extentions.
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#17 OFFLINE   Fretsource

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Posted 08 August 2009 - 10:56 AM

Random Robot said:

So we treat every chord of the moment as it's own seperate moment, being aware of it's purpose (dominant or diminished ect.) in the key we are in, using only the chord tones and passing notes? Can you help clear the water on what we are calling "Chord Tones"? When I think chord tones I think about the notes that really give the chord it's identity, 1 3 5 7 or extentions.

Yes, that's it. You use the chord tones (1 3 5 whatever) from the chord of the moment as strong principal notes that will always fit right in with the harmony. ALL other notes are non chord tones that can be used, not only as passing notes but in lots of other ways that decorate the melody. If the COTM is C major then you've got 12notes at your disposal. Three of them are chord tones (CE&G) and the other 9 can be used as decorations.

But if you play the chord tones of another chord and treat them as principal notes, then you'll change the harmony because at least one of those notes will be foreign to the chord of the moment.

If the COTM is C major (CEG) but you decide to target the chord tones of E minor (EGB), then the note B is foreign to the C major chord. Treated as a decorative passing note, B is fine and good. But if you emphasise it as a chord tone, the listener will hear it become part of the harmony and produce the chord C maj7 (CEGB).
Cmaj + Em = C maj7

Kirk made a good point earlier:
"Usually, the composer chooses the chords he/she wants to use"

In other words if he/she wanted C maj 7 they'd have written C maj7. But they wrote C, so we can assume that C maj7 isn't the sound they want you to produce when playing their song, but that's the sound they'll get if you play E minor's chord tones over the top of C major

If you wrote the song and wrote the chord as C but played E minor over the top, people would say "very nice but why did you write the chord as C when we can all hear that it's C maj 7?"

#18 OFFLINE   carol m

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Posted 08 August 2009 - 11:47 PM

Fretsource said:

you have to say SHARP very loudly after every note
You make some exellent points there Fret. ;)

Once again your insights show me what (some of) my errors in thinking are.

When I said 'sharp keys' I didn't mean sharp keys at all (I now realise). It's all down to the fact that it was only yesterday that I realised the keys with sharp notes in their triads have scary 'sharp chords' in their 'chord scales' (another concept that I 'knew' from Kirk's lessons but didn't know the terminology, or fully understand their usefulness - and had no clue about the 'minor chord scale' or dim chords etc). I mean scary chords like F#maj, or C#minor :eek:

Up until yesterday whenever I read members casually discussing chords like that I freaked out thinking 'OMG, I don't know anything' etc - you know, the usual.

And, as a result of knowing that, I now see :yes: that I need to start playing bar chords up the neck and...at the same time taking note of what the actual notes are that I'm playing in those chords.

In fact paying attention to all the notes I play all the time, and what their relationship is to each other and their related chords.....and the Plane Talk patterns etc etc.

And I'd like to give a big thankyou to you Fretsource (and also Random for starting these threads about music theory) for giving my brain such a workout, and therefore helping me delay my Alzheimers, although the jury's still out on 'the early grave' thing.
One good thing about music is that when it hits you, you feel no pain - Bob Marley

#19 OFFLINE   Kirk Lorange

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Posted 09 August 2009 - 12:48 AM

Another way of thinking about the related chords:

The I - iii - V - vii chords use odd numbered scale tones since they all start on odd numbers and use every second note. The ii - iv - vi use even numbered scale tones for the same reason. So there are two distinct batches.

Let's say we're in C; look at the odd numbered ones:

I > C = CEG
iii > Em = EGB
V > G = GBD
vii > Bhalfº = BDF

Notice how the last two notes of one are the first two notes of the next ... it's only logical, of course. Same goes for the even numbered chords:

ii > Dm = DFA
IV > F = FAC
vi > Am = ACE
VIII > C = CEG ... which is where the odd number (I) becomes an even number and why Am is so related to C.

This is why you're finding certain triads work better than others against any given chord ... it's simply because they come from the same sub-batch of notes: even or odd.

#20 OFFLINE   carol m

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Posted 09 August 2009 - 01:34 AM

Fretsource said:

people would say "very nice but why did you write the chord as C when we can all hear that it's C maj 7?"
You're a funny man Fretsource. :)
One good thing about music is that when it hits you, you feel no pain - Bob Marley





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