#1
On another note, and another question which I think is less goofy and something I'd really like to understand better. I talk with musicians every chance I get and, inevitably, they all invite me to jam with them... and I would but I haven't the slightest idea how or where to begin.

I tried learned music theory off this site, and I learned a hell of a lot of good stuff, but I find there's still some mystery behind the concepts of chord progression and key. For example, is playing rhythm guitar just stumming (or appregio) the chord progression of a song? And how does the lead guitar interact with the chord progession?
And what exactly is a key change? As near as I can figure it, key is basically the first note played, but then what is a key change, and how and when does it occure, and how do you respond to it?
#2
Well first of all, key is not the first note played, it can be, but it depends on what other notes you play. A key change is just when the song changes from minor to major/major to minor. It could also be when the progression jumps up a half or whole step, or just to a different key entirely.

And rhythm guitar is usuallyjust the backing guitar that plays the chords progression or some riff, and the lead guitar can play a harmony to the riff, or solo over the chords.

When soloing over the chords you can either just solo with notes in the scale, or solo over each individual chord and only use notes from the chord being played which is a bit more complicated.
#3
firstly, dont think where to start when u jam. think where to start, and u wont. just start by tryin a few notes then gradually build up, but dont think about it. rhythm is what u have said, strummin or arpeggios around a chord progression, but it how u strum or arpegiate which makes u a good rhythm guitarist. key changes can be done easily, through a bridge, or connecting two keys together with a similar chord. a key is really defined by how many sharps or flats there are, e.g. a song with one F# is in the key of G. key changes is just a key change, like goin from G (1 sharp) to A (3 sharps).
#4
Quote by NamelessCruiser

I tried learned music theory off this site, and I learned a hell of a lot of good stuff, but I find there's still some mystery behind the concepts of chord progression and key. For example, is playing rhythm guitar just stumming (or appregio) the chord progression of a song?
Yes. Though it depends on the genre, rhythm can be pretty much considered the same as comping. There is a lot of creative options other then just playing the chords. You can use different forms, chord substitutions, play "parts" of the chord, etc.

And how does the lead guitar interact with the chord progression?
now that is a big question. But as beginner to improv, you will want to stick to scales in the same key as the progression. If the progression is in Emin, Try Emin, or Emin Pentatonic. Though that is only the tip of the iceberg.

In general, the relationship between lead and guitar is simply about harmony. In one way of looking at it, the lead is the melody while the accompanist will harmonize that melody. (i.e. use chords)

And what exactly is a key change? As near as I can figure it, key is basically the first note played, but then what is a key change, and how and when does it occure, and how do you respond to it?
A key basically tells you what scale the melody and rhythm is centered around. Key change is referred to as modulation. When this occurs, you can change your lead by changing your scale. For beginners, if a song goes from Amaj to Emaj, then you will change from playing an Amaj scale to an Emaj scale. Note: if you play with people that use power chords, there is much more freedom as power chords do not define a strong tonal center(a key)

As for when it occurs, it can occur in many instances. But for a song that modulates frequently, people always work off a "lead sheet" that tells them when this will occur. In a free-jam, you'll have to ask or be told what the modulations are. Modulations are very infrequent in most rock and blues.

You've asked a lot of big questions, so ask if anything I said confuses you.
Gear:
Inflatable Guitar
Digitech GSP 2101/Mosvalve 962/Yamaha S412V
My Imagination
#5
I see. I pretty muched guessed that's what it was all about, (generally sticking with the scales that define the chords). It sounds like you have to have a serious mastery of scales in order to even begin improvising properly (provided you're not one of those super gifted, pitch-perfect people who can just make it up as they go along). Plus, without the chord progression, and just playing by ear, you have to be able to pick up the chords from the sound of it and then jump right in... Either way, it sounds like I got a year or two ahead of me before I can even think about jamming with anyone. Thanks for all the clearity people
#6
Quote by NamelessCruiser
For example, is playing rhythm guitar just stumming (or appregio) the chord progression of a song? And how does the lead guitar interact with the chord progession?
And what exactly is a key change? As near as I can figure it, key is basically the first note played, but then what is a key change, and how and when does it occure, and how do you respond to it?


For the most part, that's what a rhythm guitarist usually does. The lead guitarist depends heavily on the rhythm guitarist to lay down the foundation of what they're playing. If the lead guitarist plays one note that doesn't fit in the key you KNOW it from hearing the rhythm backing, but sometimes this is used to add some color to the song.

A change in key would result in a change of tonal centers. Sometimes, a breakdown or a bridge in a song will depart from the rest of the song. You can usually HEAR the change. The chords played may be different, the melody may sound different, but all the note relationships are the same. Basically, it adds movement to a piece, and when it occurs, some notes from the last key may not fit in with the one that just started. For instance, the key of G major contains an F#, and C Major contains no accidentals. If you played a progression that centered around C Major and then started playing another section which was based on G Major, you'd notice some dissonance, or something OFF if you tried playing F instead of F#. With that being said, sometimes key changes aren't very obvious. A lot of times key changes are also associated with tempo shifts in a song, somewhat like a departure from the normal structure, but not always. It's a lot easier to look at a piece of sheet music. Key signatures are marked in sheet music, and you can tell exactly when the key changes. It helps to be able to read a little bit of music to understand concepts like this.

I hope I conveyed this well.
Last edited by silvadolla at Apr 17, 2008,
#7
Quote by NamelessCruiser
... Either way, it sounds like I got a year or two ahead of me before I can even think about jamming with anyone.
I don't think that's true at all! I mean unless you're planning on jumping in with some accomplished jazz players or something, you can have a good jam with people by simply knowing pentatonic patterns. In my experience, I have found that the pents in Amin and Emin can get you through 90% of rock jams(sad but true). I remember jamming with people even before I knew a basic pentatonic scale(and I most definitely don't have perfect pitch or anything like that) - messing around with random notes is fun and something the most experienced players will do.

In short, one unsuccessful jam session can teach you more then months of practicing scales patterns/theory. You're gonna be intimidated as hell, but it's right of passage all musicians have to go through to become better(even great!) So get out there!
Gear:
Inflatable Guitar
Digitech GSP 2101/Mosvalve 962/Yamaha S412V
My Imagination