Scales Modes And Chords Made Easy

author: Stuckinthe90's date: 05/10/2011 category: music theory tips
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Hello everyone I would like to share my thoughts onnchords and how they are arranged for guitar. Basic music theory can go a long way with guitar, it's all based on patterns say for instance you learn an open position chord well that chord has specific notes that make up that pattern that as you move down the fretboard they still have the same relation they are just in a different key. This will be a series starting with chords, barre chords, scales and modes. Now I should start that there are 12 notes total for 24 (or 22) frets and six strings (sometimes more or less) on your guitar. These are A A# B C C# D D# E F F# G G#. That's it, now a long time ago some Greek musician played a certain pattern of notes and said hey those sound pretty good so he wrote down this pattern as a guide to play around. This would be the major scale which takes those twelve notes and breaks it into steps. This is the backbone to western music and has been. Learning the major scale means you know many others too which will make more sense as you read I hope, but anyway these steps are W W H W W W H. With W=Whole and H=Half notes. So for instance lets take the popular C scale as an example so starting on C we have : C (Whole step) D (Whole step) E (Half Step) F (Whole Step) G (Whole Step) A (Whole Step) B (Half Step) C. You'll notice it starts and ends on the same note C thus making it the C scale. Ok now we want to play in the key of C well if I'm on an acoustic guitar or playing rythym I would want something loud, something that involves many strings aka a chord but I want it in the key of C, now you could take any of those notes and play them together and your in the key but the most basic chord formation is the triad and all you do to form a triad is take every other note starting with which one you want. So lets say C: For C in C major we start at C and every other note so C, E, G. And 7th chords are taking another one so C, E, G, B (the 7th note in the scale) hence 7th chords. For those of you who like a little math if we numbered the notes of this scale:
I ii iii IV V vi vii I
C  D  E   F G  A  B  C
There we go, I'm using roman numerals and there is a reason some are capital and others are not this is because the capital I IV and V are major chords within the key of C and ii, iii, and vi are minor with vii being diminished. Taking our triad chord we get C, E, and G remember; in the scale degrees up there this makes it where a major chord is 1 3 5 in the scale this is our formula for our major chord. Therefore if you took each note C D E F G A and B and wrote them out in there major scale you would see that within our C scale the only 3 chords which fit into that major chord formula (1 3 5) would be C F and G. Therefore in the key of C there are three major chords C F and G. What about the rest of the notes why are they lower case? well the D, E, and A notes are minor and the B is a diminished chord. I won't talk about the dimished chords or augmented in this lesson but why are these minor you say? Well it requires some information on modes... A major scale is what you see above starting at the root note and ending on the same. A mode is changing this pattern, so if I wanted A minor also called A aeloian mode I would take that sixth chord start and end on it its the "natural" minor. Therefore, doing this
vi vii  I  ii iii IV  V
 A   B  C   D   E  F  G
(Note that they are still in the same order in order to be a mode it has to be those notes in correspondence with their roman numeral to bring it into playing you could play any of those notes on your guitar and still be in the key of C but starting and ending on these patterns evokes a certain tone and this is how you can come to recognize music e.g. is it major or minor a certain progression etc. but focus on the basics first.) Notice that the roman numerals are changed in which one starts first but the I through vii is still intact. You can do this with each note and get the same result and they all have different sounds; try it, play just on the A string starting at the 3rd fret (C) and do the major scale formula. Take a listen to it and now start at the A and do W H W W H W which is the C major scale starting at A, sounded completely different didnt it? That's A minor, so in relation C major=A minor they are the same notes and the different modes can be played by starting at different notes within the scale in the same manor I won't name them all in this lesson. This also goes for any other scale not only C, for example I mostly play in E minor (or G major) so E minor=G major check it write the major scale out its always the 6th note in the scale. Now that we know that the 6th is the minor scale what is a minor chord? Well lets do our triad again, every other note in the C major scale starting at A therefore: A C E. this is a minor chord formula in numbers (6 1 3) if you took the ii, iii, and vi chords of any major scale and wrote there corresponding minor scales out you would see that those chords are (6 1 3) which is a minor chord. Those are you major and minor basic chords in theory I will get into bar chords and positions on the fretboard in the next lesson with scale theory and modes again expanded on. Thanks for reading and just work at it, eventually it becomes natural and you can play in any key, change keys, and come up with other chords of your own and develop your own sound... Anyway
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