Art Rock. Part 1 - Progressive Concepts

This lesson will teach you how to compose and play "art rock." You will learn basic progressive chords, scales, rhythm patterns, odd time signatures, and the music theory behind it all.

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This lesson will teach you how to compose and play art rock. You will learn progressive chords, scales, rhythm patterns, odd time signatures, and the music theory behind it all. The material covered in this lesson will be much eaiser to understand if you have a basic knowledge in music theory and a good, solid idea of how time signatures work. This will all be briefly covered in this lesson, but it would be much less confusing if you have prior knowledge.

Progressive Music

Progressive music goes beyond the limits of basic, everyday rock 'n' roll. It expands the horizons of what rock music really can be. It breaks some of the rules by fusing elements of rock, metal, jazz, blues, classical and more all into one style. This lesson will provide you with some basics, such as: chord shapes, scales, and some basic rhythm patterns for commonly used odd time signatures. Creativly applying these ideas to your music is your job.

Chords

01. Power Chords

Power Chords are primarily used in most rock music. Progressive rock is no different. But sometimes the basic power chord gets kind of boring. That's why many progressive rock bands uses power chord extensions and inversions to add more of a variety in progressions. Extentions are simply added scale tones applied to the chord. For example, an add6 power chord adds the 6th note of the scale to the chord. Most power chord extensions still use the root and the 5th, but also add something extra.
An inverted power chord is when any note other than the root is in the bass.

This is the C Major Scale (Ionian mode):


C D E F G A B C D E F G A B C
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15
(1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) (8) (9)

The basic power chord has the root (1), 5th, and most times an 8th (octive). So a basic C power chord would be CGC. A Cadd9 power chord would be CGD, and a Cadd6 would be CEA.

Open And Movable

Basic power chords:
E|--------------------|------------3----6--|
B|--------------------|--3----6----3----6--|
G|------------2----5--|--2----5----0----3--|
D|--2----5----2----5--|--0----3------------|
A|--2----5----0----3--|--------------------|
E|--0----3------------|--------------------|

Basic power chords (inverted):
E|--------------------|
B|--------------------|
G|------------2----5--|
D|--2----5----2----5--|
A|--0----3----0----3--|
E|--0----3----0----3--|

Add6 power chords:
E|--------------------|------------0----1--|
B|--------------------|--0----1----3----4--|
G|------------0----1--|--2----3----0----1--|
D|--0----1----3----4--|--0----1------------|
A|--3----4----1----2--|--------------------|
E|--1----2------------|--------------------|

Add7 power chords:
E|--------------------|------------2----5--|
B|--------------------|--2----5----3----6--|
G|------------1----4--|--2----5----0----3--|
D|--1----4----2----5--|--0----3------------|
A|--2----5----0----3--|--------------------|
E|--0----3------------|--------------------|

AddB7 power chords:
[the B is a flat sign and indicates that the note is flatted.
So instead of B it would be Bb (B flat)].
E|--------------------|------------1----4--|
B|--------------------|--1----4----3----6--|
G|------------0----3--|--2----5----0----3--|
D|--0----3----2----5--|--0----3------------|
A|--2----5----0----3--|--------------------|
E|--0----3------------|--------------------|

Add9 power chords:
E|--------------------|--0--------1--|
B|--------------------|--3--------4--|
G|------------4----7--|--2--------3--|
D|--4----7----2----5--|--0--------1--|
A|--2----5----0----3--|--------------|
E|--0----3------------|--------------|

02. Non-Power Chords

Progressive rock uses an array of chords that are not power chords. Here are some commonly used progressive chords. Of course, the chords below are just a few examples of a open and movable forms. There are many other ways to form the same chords on your guitar, but I'm not going to show all of them.

03. Triads

Basic triads consist of the 1st, 3rd, and 5th degrees of a scale. The 3rd is what makes the chord major or minor depending on what kind of interval it uses. The 5th can be altered to make the chord augmented or diminished. A Perfect fifth is used in major an minor chords. A tritone (one semitone down from a perfect fifth) makes the chord diminished and by raising a perfect fifth up one semitone, you get an augmented chord.


Basic major triads (1, M3, P5):
E|-----------------1--|
B|------------1----3--|
G|-------1----2----3--|
D|--1----3----3-------|
A|--3----4------------|
E|--4-----------------|

Basic minor triads (1, M3, P5):
E|-----------------1--|
B|------------2----2--|
G|-------1----2----3--|
D|--1----2----4-------|
A|--2----4------------|
E|--4-----------------|

Basic augmented triads (1, M3, #5):
E|-----------------1--|
B|------------1----2--|
G|-------1----1----2--|
D|--1----2----2-------|
A|--2----3------------|
E|--3-----------------|

Basic diminished triads (1, M3, B5):
E|-----------------1--|
B|------------1----3--|
G|-------1----2----4--|
D|--1----3----4-------|
A|--3----5------------|
E|--5-----------------|

04. Major7 Chords

Major7 chords add the leadingtone, or the 7th note in a scale to the chord:
7M chords (1, M2, P5, M7):
E|--0----0----1----3--|
B|--0----0----1----3--|
G|--1----0----2----3--|
D|--1----2----2----1--|
A|--2----3----3-------|
E|--0---------1-------|

05. Add9 Chords.
Add9 chords are major or minor triads with an added 9th. The 5th is not always used. Personally, these are my favorites.


Add 9 major chords (1, M3, P5, M9):
E|--0----2----1----1--|
B|--2----5----1----3--|
G|--4----2----2----5--|
D|--2----0----5----3--|
A|--0---------3----1--|
E|------------1-------|

Add 9 minor chords (1, m3, P5, M9):
E||--0----0----1----1----||
B||--0----0----1----2----||
G||--0----5----1----5----||
D||--4----7----5----3----||
A||--2----0----3----1----||
E||--0---------1---------||
06. Add 11 Chords

Add 11 Chords are major or minor chords with an added 11th (or 4th). The 5th is not always used.
Add 11 major chords (1, M3, P5, M11):
E|-------1----1----1--|
B|--1----1----1----3--|
G|--0----0----2----3--|
D|--0----2----3----1--|
A|--2----3----1----1--|
E|--3---------1-------|

Add 11 minor chords (1, m3, P5, M11):
E|-------1----1----1--|
B|--1----1----1----2--|
G|--0----0----1----3--|
D|--0----1----3----1--|
A|--1----3----1----1--|
E|--3---------1-------|

07. Suspended Chords.
Suspended chords are neither major nor minor. Basically there are two types: sus2 and sus4. The formula for a sus2 chord is (1, M2, P5). It replaces the 3rd with a 2nd. The formula for a sus4 is (1, P4, P5). It replaces the 3rd with a perfect fourth. There is also the 7sus2 and 7sus4 chord. The 7sus2 chord has a dominant 7th, which is constructed (1, M2, P5, M7). The 7sus4 is constructed: (1, P4, P5, M7).


sus2 chords (1, M2, P5):
E|--0----0----2----1--|
B|--0----3----2----4--|
G|--2----2----4----3--|
D|--2----0----4----1--|
A|--0---------2-------|
E|--------------------|

sus4 chords (1, P4, P5):
E|--3----1----1----4--|
B|--3----1----1----4--|
G|--0----0----3----3--|
D|--0----3----3----1--|
A|--3----3------------|
E|--3-----------------|

7sus2 (1, M2, P5, M7):
E|--1------3----1------1--|
B|--3------1----4------1--|
G|--0------3----3------3--|
D|--0------0----1------1--|
A|--0------3----4------1--|
E|--3------------------1--|

7sus4 (1, P4, P5, M7):
E|--3----0---------1--|
B|--1----3---------4--|
G|--2----0----3----1--|
D|--0----2----1----3--|
A|-------0----3----1--|
E|------------1-------|

Progressive Scales


Progressive rock guitarists use a variety of scales in their soloing and song writing. Some are standard, some are exotic. The exotic scales will give a song a much different feel if used right.

01. Major And Minor Scales

The basic major and minor scales are popular in most music. To make them sound a little different, start and end the scale on a different note. This will put you into a different mode, giving you a different feel. This idea is popular among many progressive guitarists. I'm only going to put the major and minor scales here. There are many other places to learn the modes.
midi sample (C Ionian + A Aeolian)


C major scale [Ionian mode] - (C, D, E, F, G, A, B, C)
E|---------------------------------7-8--|
B|----------------------------8-10------|
G|---------------------7-9-10-----------|
D|--------------7-9-10------------------|
A|-------7-8-10-------------------------|
E|--8-10--------------------------------|

A minor scale [Aeolian mode] - (A, B, C, D, E, F, G, A)
E|------------------------------5--|
B|------------------------5-6-8----|
G|------------------4-5-7----------|
D|--------------5-7----------------|
A|--------5-7-8--------------------|
E|--5-7-8--------------------------|

The Harmonic Minor Scale

The harmonic minor scale is the minor scale with a sharped 7th, also known as a leading tone. The sharped 7th makes the scale have more of a "pulling effect" at the last note. The Phrygian mode starts on the 5th note of the scale. If you play the A harmonic minor scale starting on the 5th note (E), you will get the phrygian dominant scale, also sometimes refereed to as the Spanish scale. There are, of course, other modes of the harmonic minor scale which all give off a different effect.
A lot of middle eastern music uses the harmonic minor scale, and that may be the first thing that comes to mind when hearing it. The harmonic minor can also be found in classical and Spanish music. Today, it can be found in all kinds of music, including progressive.
midi sample (A Harmonic Minor + E Phrygian Dominant)


A harmonic minor scale (A, B, C, D, E, F, G#, A):
E|----------------------------4-5--|
B|------------------------5-6------|
G|------------------4-5-7----------|
D|--------------6-7----------------|
A|--------5-7-8--------------------|
E|--5-7-8--------------------------|

E Phrygian Dominant Mode (E, F, G#, A, B, C, D, E):
E|--------------------------------------------12--|
B|-----------------------------------12-13-15-----|
G|-----------------------------13-14--------------|
D|--------------------12-14-15--------------------|
A|--------11-12-14-15-----------------------------|
E|--12-13-----------------------------------------|

The Melodic Minor Scale

The melodic minor scale, sometimes called the jazz minor scale, is the minor scale with a sharped 6th and 7th. If you want, you can also think of it as the major scale with a flatted 3rd. It can, if used right, give a jazzy feel to a solo. In formal composition, some composers will ascend with the melodic minor and descend with the natural minor. The mode of interest in this scale is the Lydian B7 mode. It is the Lydian mode with a flatted 7th.
midi sample (A Meodic Minor + A Meodic to A Natural + F Lydian B7)


A melodic minor scale (A, B, C, D, E, F#, G#, A):
E|----------------------------4-5--|
B|------------------------5-7------|
G|------------------4-5-7----------|
D|------------4-6-7----------------|
A|--------5-7----------------------|
E|--5-7-8--------------------------|

A melodic minor to a natural minor:
E|----------------------------4-5------------------------------|
B|------------------------5-7-----8-6-5------------------------|
G|------------------4-5-7---------------7-5-4------------------|
D|------------4-6-7---------------------------7-5--------------|
A|--------5-7-------------------------------------8-7-5--------|
E|--5-7-8-----------------------------------------------8-7-5--|

F Lydian B7 mode (F, G, A, B, C, D, Eb, F):
E|--------------------------------------------13--|
B|--------------------------------12-13-15-16-----|
G|--------------------------12-14-----------------|
D|-----------------12-13-15-----------------------|
A|--------12-14-15--------------------------------|
E|--13-15-----------------------------------------|

Symmetrical Scales


Symmetrical scales follow a repeating pattern and have a rather untraditional sound to them. Whole tone scales are 6 note scales that only use major seconds, or whole steps (2 half steps). The leading whole tone scale isn't symmetrical, but still takes the same basic form of the whole tone scale, up until the 7th note which is added as the leading tone. This gives it a pulling, more conclusive sound.

There are also the half-whole and whole-half scales that are frequently used along with the whole tone scale. The half-whole uses one half step, one whole step, one half step, one whole step, etc. The Whole-half is the same idea, but backwards. Since these scales are neither minor, nor major, they have no modes and will make the song sound neutral and rather untraditional. They can easily be used over chords that are unresolved or neutral (such as sus chords), or diminished. I think they make good fills, but there are endless possibilities of how they can be used.
midi sample (Symmetrical Scales)


C whole tone scale (C, D, E, F#, G#, A#, C):
E|-----------------------4-6--|
B|-------------------5-7------|
G|---------------5-7----------|
D|-----------6-8--------------|
A|-------7-9------------------|
E|--8-10----------------------|

C leading whole tone scale (C, D, E, F#, G#, A#, B, C):
E|-------------------------4-6-7-8--|
B|---------------------5-7----------|
G|-----------------5-7--------------|
D|-----------6-8-9------------------|
A|-------7-9------------------------|
E|--8-10----------------------------|

C half-whole scale (C, C#, D#, E, F#, G, A, A#, C):
E|------------------------------------6-8--|
B|-----------------------------7-8-10------|
G|-----------------------6-8-9-------------|
D|----------------7-8-10-------------------|
A|---------7-9-10--------------------------|
E|--8-9-11---------------------------------|

C whole-half scale (C, D#, F, F#, G#, A, B, C):
E|--------------------------------------7-8--|
B|-------------------------------7-9-10------|
G|------------------------7-8-10-------------|
D|-----------------7-9-10--------------------|
A|----------8-9-11---------------------------|
E|--8-10-11----------------------------------|

Rhythms In Tablature

4/4 is most likely the most common time signature in music. It means that there are four beats in a measure and each quarter note gets one beat. Some examples:
midi sample (4/4 Rhythms)


Duration Legend
---------------
W - whole
H - half
Q - quarter
E - 8th
S - 16th
|-n-| - n-tuplets

W
E||-------------------||
B||-------------------||
G||-------------------||
D||-------------------||
A||-------------------||
E||--3----------------||
1 2 3 4

A whole note (W) takes up the whole measure. It is sustained for four beats.


H H
E||--------------------||
B||--------------------||
G||--------------------||
D||--------------------||
A||--------------------||
E||--3--------3--------||
1 2 3 4

A half note (H) takes up half the measure and are sustained for two beats.


Q Q Q Q
E||----------------------||
B||----------------------||
G||----------------------||
D||----------------------||
A||----------------------||
E||--3----3----3----3----||
1 2 3 4

A quarter note (Q) takes up a quarter of the measure are are sustained for one beat.


E E E E E E E E
E||--------------------------||
B||--------------------------||
G||--------------------------||
D||--------------------------||
A||--------------------------||
E||--3--3--3--3--3--3--3--3--||
1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &

An eighth note (E) takes up an eighth of the measure and is sustained for a half a beat. They can be played in between a beat (called an offbeat) and are represented with &'s. Two of them can be played within one beat.


S S S S S S S S S S S S S S S S
E||----------------------------------||
B||----------------------------------||
G||----------------------------------||
D||----------------------------------||
A||----------------------------------||
E||--3-3-3-3-3-3-3-3-3-3-3-3-3-3-3-3-||
1 e & a 2 e & a 3 e & a 4 e & a

A sixteenth note (S) takes up a sixteenth of a measure. They are represented with e's, &'s, and a's (ah)'s. Four of them can be played within one beat.


|--3--| |--3--| |--3--| |--3--|
E E E E E E E E E E E E
E||--------------------------------------||
B||--------------------------------------||
G||--------------------------------------||
D||--------------------------------------||
A||--------------------------------------||
E||--3--3--3--3--3--3--3--3--3--3--3--3--||
1 la le 2 la le 3 la le 4 la le

A triplet (indicated by the |--3--|) means there are 3 notes within each beat. The offbeats are represented with la's and le's (spoken as lee).

Odd Time Signatures



Although 4/4 is the most common time signature in most rock music, it can get a little old. Composing music in an odd time signature gives your music more originality and complexity, which is what progressive music is all about. It's not easy to jump right into composing using an odd time signature at first. It takes practice. Odd time signatures are called "odd" because they use numbers (on the top) that are not divisible by two, such as 5/4, 7/4, 3/4, etc.

3/4 Time Signature

3/4 means there are 3 beats per measure and each quarter note gets one beat.


H. H Q Q Q Q E E E E E E
E||---------------|----------------|-----------------|--------------------|
B||---------------|----------------|-----------------|--------------------|
G||---------------|----------------|-----------------|--------------------|
D||---------------|----------------|-----------------|--------------------|
A||---------------|----------------|-----------------|--------------------|
E||--3------------|--3--------3----|--3----3----3----|--3--3--3--3--3--3--|
1 2 3 1 2 3 1 2 3 1 & 2 & 3 &

|--3--| |--3--| |--3--|
S S S S S S S S S S S S E E E E E E E E E
--------------------------|-----------------------------||
--------------------------|-----------------------------||
--------------------------|-----------------------------||
--------------------------|-----------------------------||
--------------------------|-----------------------------||
--3-3-3-3-3-3-3-3-3-3-3-3-|--3--3--3--3--3--3--3--3--3--||
1 e & a 2 e & a 3 e & a 1 la le 2 la le 3 la le

Above are examples of completed measures. The (H.) means a dotted half note, which adds a quarter note to the length of the half note.

3/4 Rhythms In Progressive Music

midi sample (3/4 Rhythms)
In the below example, full chords are played on the first beat in quarter notes and appeggeated with eighth notes on the second and third beats.


Emadd9 Emadd9 Em
Q E E E E Q E E E E Q E E E E
E||--0------0-----------|--2------2-----------|--0----0-----------|
B||--0---------0--------|--0---------0--------|--0-------0--------|
G||--0------------0-----|--0------------0-----|--0----------0-----|
D||--4---------------4--|--2---------------2--|--2-------------2--|
A||--2------------------|--2------------------|--2----------------|
E||--0------------------|--0------------------|--0----------------|
1 (&) 2 & 3 & 1 (&) 2 & 3 & 1(&) 2 & 3 &

Am9 Em
Q E E E E H.
--3----3-----------|--0------------||
--1-------1--------|--0------------||
--4----------4-----|--0------------||
--2-------------2--|--2------------||
--0----------------|--2------------||
-------------------|--0------------||
1(&) 2 & 3 & 1 2 3

Below is a triplet pattern, when the arpeggio is changed every first beat.


|--3--| |--3--| |--3--| |--3--| |--3--| |--3--|
E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E
E||-----------------------------|-----------------------------|
B||-----------------------------|-----------------------------|
G||--------0--------0--------0--|--------0--------0--------0--|
D||-----9--------9--------9-----|-----9--------9--------9-----|
A||--7--------7--------7--------|--9--------9--------9--------|
E||-----------------------------|-----------------------------|
1 la le 2 la le 3 la le 1 la le 2 la le 3 la le

|--3--| |--3--| |--3--| |--3--| |--3--| |--3--|
E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E
-----------------------------|-----------------------------||
-----------------------------|-----------------------------||
--------0--------0--------0--|--------0--------0--------0--||
-----9--------9--------9-----|-----7--------7--------7-----||
--7--------7--------7--------|--5--------5--------5--------||
-----------------------------|-----------------------------||
1 la le 2 la le 3 la le 1 la le 2 la le 3 la le

The last 3/4 example uses a pattern of eighth notes and sixteenth notes. The "e" is left out of the rhythm, possibly giving a "galloping" effect.


E S S E S S E S S E S S E S S E S S
E||-----------------------------|-----------------------------||
B||-----------------------------|-----------------------------||
G||-----------------------------|-----------------------------||
D||-----------------------------|-----------------------------||
A||--5--------4--------5--------|--2--------1--------2--------||
E||--3--0--0--3--0--0--3--0--0--|--0--0--0--0--0--0--0--0--0--||
1 & a 2 & a 3 & a 1 & a 2 & a 3 & a

5/4 Time Signatures

5/4 means there a 5 beats in a measure and each quarter note gets one beat. You can think of it as 4/4 plus one quarter note, or 3/4 and 2/4. Another way is to count quarter notes as: 1, 2, 3 - 1, 2 or 1, 2 - 1, 2, 3. Here are a few examples of completed measures.


W Q Q Q Q Q Q
E||------------------------|---------------------------|
B||------------------------|---------------------------|
G||------------------------|---------------------------|
D||------------------------|---------------------------|
A||------------------------|---------------------------|
E||--3----------------3----|--3----3----3----3----3----|
1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5

E E E E E E E E E E S S S S S S S S S S S S S S S S S S S S
--------------------------------|------------------------------------------||
--------------------------------|------------------------------------------||
--------------------------------|------------------------------------------||
--------------------------------|------------------------------------------||
--------------------------------|------------------------------------------||
--3--3--3--3--3--3--3--3--3--3--|--3-3-3-3-3-3-3-3-3-3-3-3-3-3-3-3-3-3-3-3-||
1 & 2 & 3 & 4 & 5 & 1 e & a 2 e & a 3 e & a 4 e & a 5 e & a

5/4 Rhythms In Progressive Music

midi sample (5/4 Rhythms)
Below is a whole note for 4 beats and a quarter note for the last.


Dm D7sus2/5-
W Q
E||--1----------------0---------||
B||--3----------------1---------||
G||--2----------------1---------||
D||--0----------------0---------||
A||-----------------------------||
E||-----------------------------||
1 2 3 4 5

Below is an example of Dream Theater's "Beyond This Life" intro. It uses eighth notes. You can break this song up as 1-2-3, 1-2-3, 1-2, 1-2.


E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E
E||--------------------------------|--------------------------------|
B||--------------------------------|--------------------------------|
G||--------------------------------|--------------------------------|
D||--6--6--6--9--9--9--5--5--4--4--|--6--6--6--9--9--9--5--5--4--4--|
A||--6--6--6--9--9--9--5--5--4--4--|--6--6--6--9--9--9--5--5--4--4--|
E||--4--4--4--7--7--7--3--3--2--2--|--4--4--4--7--7--7--3--3--2--2--|
1 & 2 & 3 & 4 & 5 & 1 & 2 & 3 & 4 & 5 &

E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E
--------------------------------|-----------------------------------||
--------------------------------|-----------------------------------||
--------------------------------|-----------------------------------||
--6--6--6--9--9--9--5--5--4--4--|--10--10--10--9--9--9--8--8--7--7--||
--6--6--6--9--9--9--5--5--4--4--|--10--10--10--9--9--9--8--8--7--7--||
--4--4--4--7--7--7--3--3--2--2--|---8---8---8--7--7--7--6--6--5--5--||
1 & 2 & 3 & 4 & 5 & 1 & 2 & 3 & 4 & 5 &

Here is another example using eighth notes. In this example, the last note could resolve back to the root.


E E E E E E E E E E
E||------------------------------------------|
B||------------------------------------------|
G||------------------------------------------|
D||------------------10--12--10--------------|
A||--------------12--------------12----------|
E||--10--12--13----------------------13--12--|
1 & 2 & 3 & 4 & 5 &

E E E E E E E E E E
---------------------------------------|
---------------------------------------|
---------------------------------------|
-----------------8--10--8--------------|
-------------10------------10----------|
--8--10--11--------------------11--10--|
1 & 2 & 3 & 4 & 5 &

E E E E E E E E E E W Q
-------------------------------------8--|--10----------------------||
---------------------------------10-----|--------------------------||
--------------------------9--10---------|--------------------------||
------------------10--12----------------|--------------------------||
--------------12------------------------|--------------------------||
--10--12--13----------------------------|--------------------------||
1 & 2 & 3 & 4 & 5 & 1 2 3 4 5

The last example, using the whole tone scale, has quarter notes and sixteenth notes in it.


A#7
Q S S S S Q S S S S Q
E||---------------------------------||
B||---------------------------------||
G||---------------------------------||
D||--6----6-4-----6----6-4-----7----||
A||--5--------7-5-5--------7-5-5----||
E||--6------------6------------6----||
1 2 e & a 3 4 e & a 5

7/4 Time Signatures.
7/4 means there are 7 beats in a measure and each quarter note gets one beat. You can think of 7/4 as 3/4 + 4/4 or 2/4 + 2/4 + 3/4. Here are some completed measures:


W H. Q Q Q Q Q Q Q
E||--------------------------------|-------------------------------------|
B||--------------------------------|-------------------------------------|
G||--------------------------------|-------------------------------------|
D||--------------------------------|-------------------------------------|
A||--------------------------------|-------------------------------------|
E||--3----------------3------------|--3----3----3----3----3----3----3----|
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 1 2 3 4 5 6 7

E E E E E E E E E E E E E E
--------------------------------------------|
--------------------------------------------|
--------------------------------------------|
--------------------------------------------|
--------------------------------------------|
--3--3--3--3--3--3--3--3--3--3--3--3--3--3--|
1 & 2 & 3 & 4 & 5 & 6 & 7 &

S S S S S S S S S S S S S S S S S S S S S S S S S S S S
----------------------------------------------------------||
----------------------------------------------------------||
----------------------------------------------------------||
----------------------------------------------------------||
----------------------------------------------------------||
--3-3-3-3-3-3-3-3-3-3-3-3-3-3-3-3-3-3-3-3-3-3-3-3-3-3-3-3-||
1 e & a 2 e & a 3 e & a 4 e & a 5 e & a 6 e & a 7 e & a

7/4 Rhythms In Progressive Music.
midi sample (7/4 Rhythms)
One of the most popular examples of 7/4 is Pink Floyd's Money.


Q E E E E Q Q E E Q
E||----------------------------------------||
B||----------------------------------------||
G||-------4--------------------------------||
D||----------4-----------------------------||
A||--2----------2---------------2-----5----||
E||-------------------2----5---------------||
1 2 + 3 + 4 5 6 + 7

The next example uses quarter notes and eighth notes, a common mixture when using 7/4.


Q E E Q Q Q E E Q
E||---------------------------------------|
B||---------------------------------------|
G||---------------------------------------|
D||-------6--4-----------------4--6--7----|
A||--4----------4----6----7---------------|
E||---------------------------------------|
1 2 + 3 4 5 6 + 7

E E E E Q Q Q Q Q
---------------------------------------||
---------------------------------------||
---------------------------------------||
--6--4--------4------------------------||
--------7--6-------6--------------4----||
------------------------7----7---------||
1 + 2 + 3 4 5 6 7

Another example using quarter and eighth notes.


Q E E Q E E Q E E Q
E||----------------------------------------||
B||----------------------------------------||
G||----------------------------------------||
D||--3----3-----5----5-----8----8-----6----||
A||--3-------3--4-------4--6-------6--6----||
E||--1----------3----------4----------4----||
1 2 + 3 4 + 5 6 + 7

7/8 Time Signatures

In 7/8, the eighth note gets one beat. It's 4/4 without one eight note. 7/8 has 7 eight notes per measure. A good way to make up eighth note rhythms is counting 1, 2 - 1, 2 - 1, 2, 3 or 1, 2 - 1, 2, 3 - 1, 2 or 1, 2, 3 - 1, 2 - 1, 2.
Here are some completed measures. Don't forget the counting is based on eighth notes.


H Q E Q Q Q E E E E E E E E
E||-------------------|--------------------|-----------------------|
B||-------------------|--------------------|-----------------------|
G||-------------------|--------------------|-----------------------|
D||-------------------|--------------------|-----------------------|
A||-------------------|--------------------|-----------------------|
E||--3--------3----3--|--3----3----3----3--|--3--3--3--3--3--3--3--|
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 1 2 3 4 5 6 7

S S S S S S S S S S S S S S
------------------------------||
------------------------------||
------------------------------||
------------------------------||
------------------------------||
--3-3-3-3-3-3-3-3-3-3-3-3-3-3-||
1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 5 + 6 + 7 +

7/8 Rhythms In Progressive Music

midi sample (7/8 Rhythms)
This example uses each pattern of counting eighth notes.


1 2 1 2 1 2 3 1 2 1 2 3 1 2 1 2 3 1 2 1 2
E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E
E||-----------------------|-----------------------|-----------------------||
B||-----------------------|-----------------------|-----------------------||
G||-----------------------|-----------------------|-----------------------||
D||-----5-----5--------5--|-----5--------5-----5--|--------5-----5-----5--||
A||-----------------5-----|-----------5-----------|-----5-----------------||
E||--3-----3-----3--------|--3-----3--------3-----|--3--------3-----3-----||
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 1 2 3 4 5 6 7

The next example is a very common rhythm pattern for 7/8 in progressive rock.


H. E H. E H. E H. E
E||------------------|------------------|------------------|------------------||
B||------------------|------------------|------------------|------------------||
G||------------------|---------------4--|--3------------6--|--8---------------||
D||--2------------6--|--4------------4--|--1------------6--|--6---------------||
A||--2------------6--|--2------------2--|--1------------4--|--6---------------||
E||--0------------4--|--2---------------|------------------|------------------||
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 1 2 3 4 5 6 7

This next example uses the 1, 2 - 1, 2 - 1, 2, 3 pattern in sixteenth notes.


S S S S S S S S S S S S S S
E||--------------------------------------------|
B||--------------------------------13-12-------|
G||--------11-12-------12-11-------------12-11-|
D||--10-12-------10-12-------10-12-------------|
A||--------------------------------------------|
E||--------------------------------------------|
1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 5 + 6 + 7 +

S S S S S S S S S S S S S S
----------------------------------------|
-----------------------------10---------|
----------11---------12---------12-11-9-|
--9-10-12----9-10-12----9-10------------|
----------------------------------------|
----------------------------------------|
1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 5 + 6 + 7 +

S S S S S S S S S S S S S S
--------------------------------------------||
--------------------------------------------||
--------11-12-------12-14-------14----11----||
--12-14-------12-14-------12-14----14----10-||
--------------------------------------------||
--------------------------------------------||
1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 5 + 6 + 7 +

5/8 Time Signatures

5/8 means there are 5 beats in a measure and each eighth note (not quarter note) gets one beat. 5/8 is like 4/4 minus three eighth notes. There are many ways to count the eighth notes, on of the most popular is 1, 2 - 1, 2, 3. Here are some completed measures (don't forget, the counting is based on eighth notes).


H E Q Q E E E E E E S S S S S S S S S S
E||--------------|---------------|-----------------|----------------------||
B||--------------|---------------|-----------------|----------------------||
G||--------------|---------------|-----------------|----------------------||
D||--------------|---------------|-----------------|----------------------||
A||--------------|---------------|-----------------|----------------------||
E||--3--------3--|--3----3----3--|--3--3--3--3--3--|--3-3-3-3-3-3-3-3-3-3-||
1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 5 +
5/8 Rhythms In Progressive Music

midi sample (5/8 Rhythms)
This example uses a pattern of a quarter note (1, 2) and three eighth notes (3, 4, 5).


Q E E E Q E E E Q E E E Q E E E
E||-------------0--|----------0--2--|-------0--4--5--|--0----2--4--5--||
B||-------0--3-----|--0----1--------|--3-------------|----------------||
G||--2-------------|----------------|----------------|----------------||
D||----------------|----------------|----------------|----------------||
A||----------------|----------------|----------------|----------------||
E||----------------|----------------|----------------|----------------||
1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5

The next example emphisizes the 5/8 time signature by playing a 5 chord on the first beat in the measure.


E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E
E||-----------------|-----------------|-----------------|-----------------|
B||-----------------|-----3-----------|-----1-----------|-----------------|
G||--7--8--7--------|--5-----5--3-----|--3-----3--1-----|--0--1--0--------|
D||--5--------8--6--|--3-----------6--|--1-----------3--|--0--------3--1--|
A||-----------------|-----------------|-----------------|-----------------|
E||-----------------|-----------------|-----------------|-----------------|
1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5

H E
--------------||
--------------||
--------------||
--0-----------||
--------------||
--------------||
1 2 3 4 5

The last example uses eighth notes and sixteenth notes.


E E E S S E S S E E E E
E||------------------|------------------||
B||------------------|------------------||
G||---------------2--|------------------||
D||-----------3-5----|--5-3-------------||
A||-----2--5---------|------5--2--------||
E||--3---------------|------------5--3--||
1 2 3 4 + 5 1 + 2 3 4 5

11/8 Time Signatures


11/8 is 11 notes per measure and eighth notes get one beat. 11/8 is 4/4 plus three eighth notes. There are many ways to count the eighth notes in 11/8, one of the most popular is 1, 2, 3, 4 - 1, 2, 3, 4 - 1, 2, 3. You can also use 1, 2, 3 - 1, 2, 3 - 1, 2, 3 - 1, 2. These are my favorite way to count 11/8, but in order to make the music sound as original as possible you should make up your own ways of counting the eighth notes. It doesn't take much math to find numbers that, when added, give you 11. So the possibilities are endless. Here are some completed measures:


W Q. W Q E
E||--------------------------|---------------------------|
B||--------------------------|---------------------------|
G||--------------------------|---------------------------|
D||--------------------------|---------------------------|
A||--------------------------|---------------------------|
E||--3----------------3------|--3----------------3----3--|
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

W E E E Q Q Q Q Q E
----------------------------|------------------------------|
----------------------------|------------------------------|
----------------------------|------------------------------|
----------------------------|------------------------------|
----------------------------|------------------------------|
--3----------------3--3--3--|--3----3----3----3----3----3--|
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

E E E E E E E E E E E
-----------------------------------|
-----------------------------------|
-----------------------------------|
-----------------------------------|
-----------------------------------|
--3--3--3--3--3--3--3--3--3--3--3--|
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

S S S S S S S S S S S S S S S S S S S S S S
----------------------------------------------||
----------------------------------------------||
----------------------------------------------||
----------------------------------------------||
----------------------------------------------||
--3-3-3-3-3-3-3-3-3-3-3-3-3-3-3-3-3-3-3-3-3-3-||
1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 5 + 6 + 7 + 8 + 9 + 10+ 11+

11/8 Rhythms In Progressive Music.
midi sample (11/8 Rhythms)
This example uses a whole note and a dotted quarter note.


Fm Gm7 Am Bm6
W Q. W Q.
E||--1----------------1------|--0----------------2------||
B||--1----------------3------|--1----------------3------||
G||--1----------------3------|--2-----------------------||
D||--3----------------0------|--2----------------6------||
A||--3-----------------------|--0----------------2------||
E||--1----------------3------|--------------------------||
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

This rather dark sounding progression uses quarter notes, eighth notes, and a dotted quarter note at the end.


Q Q E E E E Q E E E E E Q E E Q.
E||--------------------------------|--------------------------------||
B||--------------------------------|--------------------------------||
G||--------------------------------|-----------6--5----4--7---------||
D||--6----5----9--8--7--6--2----4--|--6--7--9--6--4----3--6--7------||
A||--6----5----9--8--7--6--2----4--|--6--7--9--4--3----2--5--6------||
E||--4----3----7--6--5--4--0----2--|--4--5--7----------------5------||
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

The next example is a melody using the 1, 2, 3, 4 - 1, 2, 3, 4 - 1, 2, 3 pattern.


E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E
E||-----------------------------------|-----------------------------------||
B||-----------------------------------|-----------------------------------||
G||-----------------------------------|-----------------------------------||
D||-----------------------------------|--------------------------8--7-----||
A||-----------6-----------6--8--6-----|-----------6-----------6--------9--||
E||--6--8--9-----5--6--8-----------8--|--6--8--9-----5--6--8--------------||

This very complex rhythm is made up of eighth notes, dotted eighth notes, and sixteenth notes. Unless you are very good with dictating rhythm, I strongly suggest you use the midi or guitar pro file to listen to this.


E. E S E. E S E. E S E E
E||-----------------------------------||
B||-----------------------------------||
G||-----------------------------------||
D||--7---5--5-5---5--5-7---5--5-2--2--||
A||--7---5--5-7---5--5-7---5--5-2--2--||
E||--5---5--5-7---5--5-5---5--5-0--0--||



Practicing Odd Time Signatures



It takes a lot of practice to be able to fluently compose music in an odd time signature. A good way to practice is to take some songs you have written and add or subtract notes from them. If you're playing a chord progression, maybe add a quick arpeggio to the measure. If you're playing the same chord for 4 beats, why not take a beat out and put it in 3/4? This gives your music variety.

Grouping For Odd Time Signatures.
A simple way to compose in an odd time signature is to group quarter notes. For example, 5/4 has 5 quarter notes in a measure and 2 + 3 = 5. So, you can group the quarter notes by 2 and 3. Here is an example in 5/4:


Q Q Q Q Q
E||---------------------------||
B||---------------------------||
G||---------------------------||
D||----------------------5----||
A||-------5---------5---------||
E||--3---------3--------------||
1, 2- 1, 2, 3

See how they are grouped? 1, 2 - 1, 2, 3. It can also be grouped as 1, 2, 3 - 1, 2. In fact, it can be grouped as anything as long as it is equal to 5 (in 5/4).


Q Q Q Q Q
E||---------------------------||
B||---------------------------||
G||---------------------------||
D||------------5--------------||
A||-------5--------------5----||
E||--3--------------3---------||
1, 2, 3- 1, 2

It can get complicated when you add eighth notes because they would be equal .5. I prefer not to get that complicated, but if it works for you, use it. Here are some grouping ideas commonly used (they can all be reversed or put into different order):


5/4
---------------
1, 2 - 1, 2, 3
---------------
1, 2, 3 - 1, 2
---------------
1, 2 - 1, 2 - 1
---------------


6/4
------------------
1, 2, 3 - 1, 2, 3
------------------
1, 2 - 1, 2 - 1, 2
------------------
1, 2 - 1, 2, 3 - 1
------------------
1, 2, 3, 4 - 1, 2
------------------


7/4
---------------------
1, 2 - 1, 2 - 1, 2, 3
---------------------
1, 2, 3, 4 - 1, 2, 3
---------------------


(the eight notes are counted instead of the quarter notes)


5/8
---------------
1, 2 - 1, 2, 3
---------------
1, 2, 3 - 1, 2
---------------
1, 2 - 1, 2 - 1
---------------


7/8
---------------------
1, 2 - 1, 2 - 1, 2, 3
---------------------
1, 2, 3, 4 - 1, 2, 3
---------------------


11/8
------------------------------------
1, 2, 3 - 1, 2, 3 - 1, 2, 3 - 1, 2
------------------------------------
1, 2 - 1, 2 - 1, 2 - 1, 2 - 1, 2 - 1
------------------------------------
1, 2, 3, 4 - 1, 2, 3, 4 - 1, 2, 3

Every time you practice your guitar, try playing in an odd time signature by counting and grouping the notes. That way, you can get two things done at once. Another good idea is to make up beats in odd time signatures in your head while you are away from your guitar. This will get your mind used to hearing odd time signatures, and hopefully give you some original ideas. I hope you learned a lot from this lesson. If you found some of the material confusing, you ming want to consider taking a music theory class or getting help from a professional. Remember, there is no good substitute for a good teacher.

Files



The next part will be about:


- Changing time signatures (metric modulation)
- Chord progressions
- Changing the key of the song (harmonic modulation)
- Using untraditional scales
- Soloing in odd time signatures

Good luck, and keep creating original progressive music.

118 comments sorted by best / new / date

comments policy
    pigglesworth
    What an awesome article, it looks like a hell of a lot of effort went into it. Good work blu999.
    Nickleback1192
    DUDE great u put a bunch of Effort into this and it shows 5 stars! I actually learned something from this lesson
    guitar-7777
    wow nice leson dude thhis is wikid long and its all good. one of the best lesons i have ever seen thats this long and in depth
    blu9999
    Good work in the lesson overall, but there are errors all over the place. For example, when you're discussing triads, you referred to major and minor thirds with an 'M'. To clear things up, a minor third is written as m3 and a major third is written as M3. Major and augmented triads have a major third (M3), and minor and diminished triads have a minor third (m3).
    I was just trying to keep it as simple as possible for those who don't understand music as well.
    Also, when you wanted to flatten things, you used a capital 'B' which is NOT the symbol for flat. The symbol for flat resembles a lowercase 'b', but it is not the same thing.
    Yeah... I have no idea why those B's came out as capital letters. I remember putting them in as lowercase, oh well. But I think everyone can figure out what was ment.
    Ironflippy
    To clear things up about power chords: It should really be called the power interval, since anything with less than 3 different notes is not a chord. This includes the octave. Playing a power chord with 3 fingers does not make it a chord! You'r just doubling the root. The add6 is a chord since it is made up of 3 different notes, the 1, 5, and 6 (as shown in this lesson). This goes for all the altered "power chords" in this lessons except the inverted power chord. Good work in the lesson overall, but there are errors all over the place. For example, when you're discussing triads, you referred to major and minor thirds with an 'M'. To clear things up, a minor third is written as m3 and a major third is written as M3. Major and augmented triads have a major third (M3), and minor and diminished triads have a minor third (m3). Also, when you wanted to flatten things, you used a capital 'B' which is NOT the symbol for flat. The symbol for flat resembles a lowercase 'b', but it is not the same thing. There are some other syntaxual errors, but i digress. Nice effort!
    metalicg5
    Great lesson, it goes really into detail. One of the better lessons I've ever seen!
    unce_trev
    is that mosquito and its constant buzzing pissing off anyone else, or is it just me??? and nice lesson too
    guitarmanzac
    THANK YOU FOR INTRODUCING ME TO THE WHOLE TONE SCALE. I WRITE FALL OF TROY TYPE STUFF ANDCAN DEFINATLY USE THAT!!!
    Guitarmanmatt
    wow thanks man this really taught me something about composing better songs you should do a lesson about prog rock on bass guitar
    _zac_
    definitely one of the best lessons ive seen on this site. 10
    lanearndt
    2 things: in your example of extension numbers in the second octave ablove the tonic, you showed the numbers corresponding to the compound intervals as beginning on the 'B' instead of the 'C'. the Tonic in the 2nd octave would correspond to the '1' the Supertonic (or D in this case) would be the'2' and the '9' etc. surely just a typo. but as a veteran jazz guitarist and teacher with a masters in music theory I must throw my support behind any of the folks who say that a three note aggregate is a chord, and is no longer a power-chord. if you are calling them 'extended power-chords' to make the idea of a 3rd-less chord more digestible to the younder player, that's cool too. One person made the mistake of associating number fingers, with number of 'notes' but whether the power-chord has the octave added to it or not, it is still a PC and it is still just two 'unique' notes, i.e. C-G. Good luck everyone in your pursuit to know more, this is inspiring me to contribute a lesson of my own, someay soon.
    bass012
    b]Shut the hell up huitnlaaa. Youre just jelous you didn't make an awsome lesson.[[/b] Anyway, i had a question. At the end of your lesson, you say metric modulation is the changing of time signatures. Isnt metric modulation when you change the tempo?
    Caseguitar
    you forgot evh's scale but never the less sick, and i agree with blu that theory is the best way to improve oyur chops. unless your jimi or something. but there is more stuff to art rock than that and there will continue to be more stuff evolving.
    blu9999
    amir_ : What part of guitar theory is good to learn to fully understand this article?
    You should learn all you can about theory, but in this lesson it would help to understand scales, time signatures, and chord structure.
    blu9999
    Huh? By "sharping" a G the G# makes it G harmonic minor? You probably made a mistake. A-B-C-D-E-F-G# would make A harmonic minor.
    Where did I say anything about the G harmonic minor? Or even the G minor scale? I was talking about the NATURAL minor scale, which is A-B-C-D-E-F-G. See the G? The G in the A MINOR SCALE. Sharping that G would make it an A harmonic minor scale. I said NOTHING of the G minor, or G harmonic minor scale.
    amir_
    What part of guitar theory is good to learn to fully understand this article?
    guitarmanzac
    DUDE! i am so stoked for part 2. its so much help for my guitar playing. i listen fall of troy type stuff and i used to wonder what scales and stuff they play but now it makes so much sense! thanks!!!!! when is part to comin out?
    blu9999
    You're right blu9999, I guess the natural minor scale only contains the notes in the key of A minor, and is not applicable to the various other 11 minor keys. Stop saying the natural minor scale is A-B-C-D-E-F-G. That statement is incorrect.
    That was the example I was using while I was talking about the minor scale. It is the natural minor scale because all the notes are natural, meaning no sharps or flats. Thats why I was calling it the natural minor scale. Of course A-B-C-D-E-F-G isn't the only minor scale. Sorry If I didn't state that it was the "A MINOR SCALE." I figured you would assume that. Got any other complaints? There are a few spelling errors in my lesson if you want to complain about that too.
    huitnlaaa
    What I'm referring to is the G in the natural minor scale. It goes A-B-C-D-E-F-G.
    You're right blu9999, I guess the natural minor scale only contains the notes in the key of A minor, and is not applicable to the various other 11 minor keys. Stop saying the natural minor scale is A-B-C-D-E-F-G. That statement is incorrect.
    blu9999
    Anyway, i had a question. At the end of your lesson, you say metric modulation is the changing of time signatures. Isnt metric modulation when you change the tempo?
    Multiple meanings. It can be either one.
    the_pazzo
    Awsome, looked for such info so long and you gave me so many ideas to explore!
    AndrewMuller
    This was really incredible. A lot of this stuff I already do in music just while being creative, it's incredible that you've actually got all that down on paper now.
    theGlitch
    decent article, a little deeper into beat explanation than I think is necessary. but good nonetheless
    larkguit
    The 7 isn't the same as the 1, it's the 8 (It's called OCTave, not SEPTave) Why am I the first to notice?
    MeekuhlMatter
    Wow. So helpful on so many levels. prolly on of the most helpful articles i have ever come across! learned alot and verified what i thought abput many things to. great for ideas, as i am learning and using progressive ideas, but this just takes it to a whole new level. thanks so much!!!
    De la Sol
    Awesome article man been at a plateau in my guitar playing and this has been just the info that i needed to incorporate into my musical repertoire
    Virtuosofreak
    Good,but a little misleading. Apart from heavy metal branch,rock'n'roll does not use exotic scales much. Actually,the scales most used for soloing in art rock,and rock music as such(not counting heavy metal,since it uses bluesy scales to a lesser extent) are the 5 pentatonic shapes,major and minor blues scale,sometimes extended blues scales,andsometimes also the major and minor scale(in soloing,apart from heavy metal,the usage of major and minor scales shows mostly in passing tones,bends.and some legato runs)
    ironwolg
    larkguit wrote: The 7 isn't the same as the 1, it's the 8 (It's called OCTave, not SEPTave) Why am I the first to notice?
    yeah, the 7 is called the leading tone, just for anyone who was curious
    ironwolg
    good lesson to introduce people to progressive music, the chord section and time signature section was very good, looking forward to the next part. if you could put Hirojoshi in the next lesson i'd appreciate it, i know all of its modes but i can't quite figure out how to use it
    reelerbigfish
    Great lesson! there was some technical music theory errors but nothing that will make any difference in understanding. (flat sign being lower case as oppose to B because its not actually a "b" at all the lower case b just looks the closest.)
    peanut head wrote: oh, and any two notes (that arent the same)played together can be called a chord! look it up liam177lewis!
    and sorry peanut head but your actually wrong... Two notes played together is an "interval" a chord must have 3 different notes to be a chord. ACE = chord, AE = perfect fifth, AEA = perfect fifth with 3 fingers but still just an interval. Power chord is just a "street name" for the perfect fifth interval it is not a chord at all.
    fagelamusgtr
    We all knew dream theater was good, but know we understand how good they are. Nice job man.
    guitar_freakgr
    L|----- A|-----5----14-15-----0-----15-- I|-----4-----21-- ---3-0-----x-- H|-----2-0-----5-- O|-----3-----0-----0---- -1-----2--- Z|-1-2-----0---0-----1-- play this