Until quite recently I was quite poor at memorising pieces of music – especially long, complicated classical works. Over the past few months I’ve researched memory and found a number of helpful strategies that make memorising music easier. Although quite a few sites around the net offer tips, I found that only certain suggestions worked well for me, and these are not necessarily the ones that will work for you. So rather than simply compiling another list of tips and tricks I’m looking at first principles. By developing a solid understanding of how memory actually works you will be able to develop your own strategies and adapt existing approaches to your needs. So lets being by looking at the three basic stages of memory: encoding, storage and recall.
Author: Strung Out? Fret Not!
Chord Theory 6: Omitting Notes
So far we’ve learned about the basic chord types (major, minor, diminished and augmented), and taken a cursory look at each of the possible sixth, seventh, 69, and extended chords that can be developed on top of these basic triads. However guitarists only have four fingers and six strings to play with, while these chords have as many as 7 notes. Its not realistic (or always musical) to play every note in these complex chords. Instead, we can omit notes which aren’t considered to be important to the sound of the chord.
The previous chord theory post looked at extending chords past the seventh by adding ‘tensions’. Tensions are the more ‘colourful’ notes of the chord and add interest to the basic chord’s sound. Adding tensions to triads is a way of adding more colour to triads, without needing to include the seventh.
Chord Theory 4: Sus Chords
Unlike all of the chords we have learned about so far, suspended chords are not major nor minor, and are not built in thirds.
Chord Theory 3: Extended Chords
In the previous chords post we learned about seventh chords. Today we are going to add even more notes on top to create extended chords.
Chord Theory 2: Seventh Chords
In the last chord families post we looked at every possible three note combination of stacked major and minor thirds. Today we’re going to look at each of the four note combinations.
Chord Theory 1: Basic Triads
Many guitar students know a few open chords and the ‘basic’ barre chord shapes, but get discouraged from furthering their chord vocabulary due to off-putting nomenclature (Gb7#9b13 anybody?) and immense (not to mention mostly useless) chord dictionaries with ‘10,000 Chords You Must Know’ – just where is the student supposed to start? And what is a ‘sus’ chord, an ‘augmented’ or a ‘diminished’ chord, anyway?
Whilst a full discussion on chords and chord progressions is beyond the focus of a series on modes, a brief review is given here. However, if you are entirely unfamiliar with chord construction and chord progressions, I strongly recommend that you search the internet and explore this topic further before proceeding with the rest of this series.
The Melodic Minor scale gives us a whole new range of modal possibilities.
Intervals and Scale Degrees
Today I’m taking a break from the modes series and writing a post on intervals and scale degrees. Although intervals are kind of ‘boring’ as far as theory goes (not ‘cool’ like modes or fancy jazz harmony) they do form the basis of everything in Western music. They are some of the fundamental stepping stones to a deeper understanding and appreciation of the music we play and love (I’ll get back to fun modes stuff next week 😉 ).