"Chord Tones"


Page 1.

Ken dreams of an F sharp diminished chord shape. Ken in... CHORD TONES. A World On A String Guitar Lesson. No. 3: Chord Tones. 1/17/2023. cc by-sa 2023 Ken Alleman. TheWorldOnAString.Neocities.Org.

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Ken gestures madly. He says, "I started out learning rock guitar. In rock, as long as your melodies and leads are even kind of in the right key, you'll be fine. Or even if they're not!"

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But it's hard to come up with something you can sing or play on a single instrument that sounds like a whole composition. You need a band, or at least a backing part. Image of a single guitarist separated from band by brick wall.

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Ken holds a guitar. Caption indicates he's "preparing to show off." He says, "That is, unless you're using chord tones."

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Chord tones are the notes contained in whichever chord you're playing over at the moment. The more notes the chord contains, the more chord tones there are. Block diagrams of two chords: E minor and E minor 7.

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Any time the backing part moves from one chord to the next, the chord tones also change. Any notes that are present in two consecutive chords are called common tones. Block diagrams of two chords: E minor and G major. The block diagrams appear again, with common tones highlighted.

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Try leaning on chord tones in your melodies and solos. Here's an example that goes over a two chord backing part. Did you spot the common tones? Tablature of a lead guitar part over an E minor, G major vamp. Ken is pictured at the bottom in sunglasses.

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The more you employ chord tones, the more clearly you'll imply the chords! Your part will sound more composed, and more connected to the composition. End.

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