chord theory

Discussion in 'Beginner's Q&A Forum' started by Sumanovo razor, Nov 11, 2011.

  1. Sumanovo razor

    Sumanovo razor New Member

    will anyone explain me the difference between tension and resonant chords...and different ways to embellish a song...
  2. bjr

    bjr Lady of the Evening

    Are you talking about tension creating and resolving chords? Or is resonant something else?
  3. Sumanovo razor

    Sumanovo razor New Member

    i dont know exactly but its something like that sir was trying to tell someone...perhaps he will tell me if i pay my fees regularly on time;) far as i can remember the relation was between major 7th with a minor 7th or a dominant 7th with a maj7...sorry just forgot
  4. Vader

    Vader New Member

    dude this is more of a science question than a music one
    but unfortunately science has a lot to do with music
    the answer to this is so boring that i dont really remember all of it
    and we never use it much in music

    anyway in short and simple
    resonance is the tendency of a system to oscillate at a greater amplitude at some frequencies than at others
    so if you are asking what resonance is then its a sound of a E(330Hz) with an A(440hz)
    cause the third overtone of A and fourth overtone of E are both 1320Hz(this is always the most common example in all books)
    but it only occurs in Sitars or a guitar with more than ten strings

    now if you mean tension and resolution
    thats a completely different story :)
    for that you need to be very good at
    Dissonanec and Consonance
    and intervals
    i'm assuming that you are a so i'll continue
    playing a chord in dissonance creates an state of discomfort in the listener
    whereas playing a chord in consonance takes thats away and gives sudden comfort
    so the first chord is called a tension chord and second is called its resolution

    P.s different ways to embellish what song
    give me examples of songs or the genre of music
  5. Sumanovo razor

    Sumanovo razor New Member

    autumn leaves by nate king cole...i have got the notations of the jazz version too but still want to know the way to embellish...
  6. Vader

    Vader New Member

    havent heard it
    i'll get back to you when i do
  7. Sumanovo razor

    Sumanovo razor New Member

    will this be a good example of what you explained...fmaj7(3rd shape)-b dominant 7th(1st shape),or b dominant 7th(1st shape)-Bbmaj7(6th shape), or Bbm7 (7th shape)-Eb7(5th shape)...from the song blue moon by dean f scale...the chord progession is 1-6-2-5
  8. bjr

    bjr Lady of the Evening

    Okay, I'll first try to explain embellishment using music theory

    You question about tension creation and resolution. These aren't things that I've learnt myself or even understood properly:

    A song is normally sung in a key. The human ear tends to get used to the key in which the song is being played. When you go outside the key, it creates a bit of tension because it is unexpected to the ear. The tension is resolved by coming back into familiar territory- home to the key. There are many ways to do this. I know a few. I don't think I can use too many.

    Before we understand embellishment, let us first understand what chords really are. Chords are just a bunch of notes, one on top of the other. They create a harmony when they are played together. There is no rule regarding harmonies hence no rules regarding chords. You can play anything on top of anything when you experiment. Some things are known to sound good and these are accepted as standard techniques and become a part of music theory. However, it is important to remember that theory usually comes after the experiment....we tend to make theories to understand why a particular way of playing sounds good.

    I've seen a few threads on chord theory so I won't start right from the beginning. Let's start off assuming that everyone reading this knows at least the Major 7th, m7th and dom7th chords.

    Improvising on these chords can be as easy or difficult as you want it to be. I've made a few recordings on the C major scale with these 4 chords:


    I'm just trying to play a simple melody on these chords each time. Here is the first attempt:

    It's not the best tune in the world but hey, all of these are one take recordings. I didn't think too hard for this. I used the C major scale. I let one cycle of chords go on so you can hear what chords I'm playing.

    Now I want to embellish my playing. Embellishment is merely the adding of harmonies on to my melody. The purpose is to make your playing sound more interesting. There are various ways to do it. One is to use different scales or modes. I cannot do this yet. I prefer to take a approach which thinks in terms of chords and not scales as I find it easier.

    The first time I try to embellish my playing, I try to use slightly more complex chords. Let's take a look at the chords that I was playing so far:


    The 1 6 2 5 of the C major scale. A very common chords structure for songs.

    I extend these chords. Instead of a CM7, I play a CM9 (therefore, I add a D making the whole chord CEGBD[x3243x]. Guitarists often do not play the whole chord and leave out the unimportant notes...usually the 3rd and the 7th are the most important notes in the definition of the chord since they decide whether the chord is Major, minor or dom7th.

    So, I play a CM9. after this I decide that I want my shift in chords to be a little subtle. So, I play an Am9 whose notes are ACEGB [5x5557]. I choose this chord because:
    (a) It is a logical sequence. Since I extended CM7 to CM9, surely I should also extend the Am7 to Am9?
    (b) analyze the notes. An Am9 has the same notes as a CM7 with an A note in the bass....therefore this change is a little subtle. All I'm doing is changing the root note of the chord and the whole chord changes.
    (c) Because it sounds nice. The human ear tends to like slow step-by-step movement and even anticipates what comes next.

    So I'm on Am9 now. I do not change anything for the Dm7. There are 2 reasons for this:

    (a) The ear/mind is anticipating a similar change because it's getting used to the 9th sound. I don't do it this time and give it a Dm7.
    (b) I use this shape [x57568] because it is close to the Am9 that I played and the last note ringing out goes from B to C. Again, a small change.
    (c) By doing this, there are 2 chromatic movements in the notes. The B in the Am9 goes to C and the E goes to F. The movement sounds pretty cool.

    This creates a bit of tension even though I'm in the scale because I changed the routine a little.

    Now comes the dom7th chord. This is potentially the most tension creating place in the whole chord cycle because I'm going to go back to C after this and come home. The more tension you create, the nicer it sounds when you come back into the key. You have to be careful about not sounding totally off key. Even if you go outside the key, the ear/mind still hunts for a logical sequence. Here, I use 2 chords in the bar. A G13th instead of a G7, then a G9 with a flat 13th. This is because:

    (a) I've planned it this way. I know that the next chord is CM9 which has a D ringing out. Therefore, I choose a G13th [3x345x] that has an E, then I flatten the 13th note [3x344x] and make it Eb and then the whole sound resolves into D. This creates tension yet creates a musical structure where the melody goes from E->Eb->D. The tension is highest at Eb.

    See if you can make it out in this recording. I am no expert therefore often cannot explain concepts very well because I struggle to actually play them. Here I play 2 bars of chords, the first with no movements [CM9|Am7|Dm7|G13|] and then with movement [CM9|Am7%Am9|Dm7|G13%G9b13]

    The melody I play on it is a simple one. I'm not really trying to do much more than keep playing the major scale on it. It sounds different because the chords add much more color to the music.

    This is typically what a lot of pop music does. It has unbelievably complex music in the background while the basic melody is a very simple one. Usually sounds better than what I played but anyway, I hope it communicates the idea.

    Now, I go back to simple chords. I don't put any colors in the chords, instead I put them in the melody. I concentrate on hitting certain notes at certain times so that they sound very cool with the chord playing at that point. eg- I play a D over the Cmaj7 so it sounds like a CM9, B over an Am7 so the overall sound is that of Am9 etc etc.

    It is the same concept as the last time except that instead of on the chords, I play the embellishment on the solos.

    I like how this sounds honestly. I haven't played this way in a long time and I find it difficult but I love how much nicer the same melody sounds.

    Once I have done this, I now try to extend the level of embellishment. I now try to think of a complex chord as a combination of 2 simple chords. Take for example the CM9.

    The notes of this chord are CEGBD. What if I wrote them separately? CEG, GBD. CEG is a C major chord and GBD is a G major. Therefore, if I play a G major arpeggio over a C major chord, I should get a CM9 sound.

    Similarly, an Am9 is ACEGB. ACE, CEGB. A minor, CM7. Therefore, if I play a CM7 arpeggio over the Am, I should get a Am9 sound.

    The Dm7 is DFAC. FAC is F major. I can therefore play an F major arpeggio over this chord.

    I leave the G7 alone for now.

    Let's look at the new chords I plan to play:

    G over CM7, CM7 over Am7, F over Dm7 and then G7 by itself.

    Now I embellish the chords that are embellishing the original song. So, I change G to GM7, let CM7 be the way it is, change F to FM7. I now see that I can, with a small chromatic movement, switch from FM7 to CM7 by putting an F minor in between them.

    I just switch from [x.] to the standard Fm shape [x.] and then to CM7 [x.x.].

    Keeping this whole structure in mind, I try to use these arpeggios in my solo. You can see what I've done in this recording:

    The first bar I play the melody as chords and then I play it as a solo. You can hear some of the notes are outside the scale yet I don't think they sound too bad.

    The chords I play are


    GM7 contains an F# and Fm has a G# in it. The G# gives the G7 a flat 9th sound which somehow always sounds cool and high-tension-ish. I don't think either sound bad in my solo but you decide.
    raga2303 likes this.
  9. bjr

    bjr Lady of the Evening

    I can imagine this is hard to understand, especially because I don't think I've been very clear in what I've said. Let me know if it makes sense. And if you want ideas to embellish Autumn Leaves, I might be able to help but its better to do it yourself. I have never actually looked at the actual chords so maybe you need to give me the correct ones. I use a different set since I picked it up by ear.
  10. Sumanovo razor

    Sumanovo razor New Member

    great man ...but some where i feel embellishing is somewhat substituting chords...for eg...the song'untitled' by charlie christian and benny goodman....the song is in Bb scale...chords...c7th,f7th....this can be substituted as c7th, are right...the notes 3rd and 7th are really important notes...adding a b7 note in a major 3 note chord will give a dominant 7th chord and flattening the 3rd,6th,7th. Note in a major scale will convert a major scale into minor scale...gosh remembering chords with different shapes is so hectic ...i miss those days when i used to think there are only major and minor 3 note chord...and thought i was a guitar god...hehe...but as far as i know ...when you use modes in a song you have to strictly use the notes used in the mode in you cant use passing notes
  11. Sumanovo razor

    Sumanovo razor New Member

    thanks alot...i knew you were the only one who could help me learned all these stuffs in csm or wat...and upto which grade you learnt in csm...i heard those clips...they are simply ausumn...even i want your autograph....i could hear two guitars playing together...i may be wrong...which guitar were you was too sweet....btw can i want to buy a classical guitar not now but later...after i complete my engineering course and get a sir always warns me ...dont go for any indian brand...when it comes to classical guitar...hey bjr...are you from kolkata...last year a went to s.s music in laal bazaar chattawala lane ...there prices are damn reasonable zoom g2.1u for 7k whereas in braganza and reynolds its 11k...i know laal bazaar is famous for keeping indian brand guitars...but thats the only shop which keeps imported ones ...including epiphones and fender mexican...sorry for asking rm many questions ...but m really excited in knowing their answers
  12. Sumanovo razor

    Sumanovo razor New Member

    was the guitar connected to an amplifier...and i could here some drum kinda beats in the starting of each clip...btw all the rhythm patterns were not desi as in hindi songs style which i really liked...these bhajan,kirtan people ...which ever song they play...they 'll use the naagin riff...imagine they are playing hanuman chalisa's jazzy version...hehe...
  13. bjr

    bjr Lady of the Evening

    haha, thank you. I'll try answering your questions. Yes, there are 2 guitars plays the chords and I solo over it. The guitar is an Epiphone acoustic. It cost me about 140 euros...the most expensive guitar I have ever purchased and probably the most expensive I'm ever going to.

    I used to live in Calcutta till 2007. I then shifted to Bombay and am now in Germany for some time. I learnt most of my basics at CSM and then went to Amyt Dutta. He taught me all of the music theory I know and was a huge influence on me in terms of thinking. He never teaches licks which really helps you have your own style....though it does make it harder to learn to play rock music. He knows a lot about music and talks more than he plays during class and it really helps. The brilliant thing about him is that you're never scared to ask him questions or challenge things that he says. I absorbed most of what I now know in his class...and I used to be a pretty good student. However, I stopped playing guitar for a while and have started practising again after a gap of about 3 years or so. The only good thing about my playing is that I have a nice sense for melody...which I think cannot really be learnt. It's more instinct than anything else...and that's what makes good guitarists so different from each other.

    I agree with your teacher that foreign guitars are usually better but also much more expensive. If you really really want to play a nylon string and have the money to spare, you can buy one now and then buy a better one later? Usually, its better to buy a good one but it also depends on how much money you have. I bought a Granada nylon string guitar...its not brilliant but I quite liked it.

    At CSM, I was put in Grade 4 but I never sat for an exam so I am ungraded. I don't know the store you're talking about but I know there's a store called Signature in Kalighat which is supposed to be good. I have never gone there so I don't know. I usually went to Braganza but I was a regular customer so Tony usually gave me decent deals. He's a pukka salesman though so you need to be careful there.
  14. bjr

    bjr Lady of the Evening

    No, it was just the guitar. The beats are made by my right hand and my foot tapping. I delibrately hold the plectrum a little loose in my hand so it drags and gives me a bit of a beat.

    and don't knock Hindi music. They use great chords and there's a lot to learn from it.
  15. Sumanovo razor

    Sumanovo razor New Member

    is that epiphone hummingbird or ej200...i feel you were playing a dreadnought or a jumbo...btw how much is 140 inr....any must be having your own teaching website...the sound clips were quite similar to the song 'maa' from the movie 'taare zameen par'...can you give the address of amyt dutta...i have friend of mine ...he goes to amyt dutta ...but never gives me amyt dutta's address or phone number...hate that guy...
  16. Sumanovo razor

    Sumanovo razor New Member

    thanks to your partner also for playing those beautiful chords....i really enjoyed those chords...please mention his guitar model also...
  17. Sumanovo razor

    Sumanovo razor New Member

    i understood the full concept of embellishment...btw i have a question...cmaj9 chord tones are cegbd can we use an Em chord...if you look into the chord tones you will find egb...also which is nothing but Em.....maybe a bassist can play those notes in order to make up a cm9...i may be wrong though
  18. Sumanovo razor

    Sumanovo razor New Member

    but i really couldnt find much difference between a passing note and embellishment...and 1 more thing can i use relative major and minor chords for embellishing as in c and Am
  19. bjr

    bjr Lady of the Evening

    Yes! That is how it's done...! Of course, the sound you get will be different. Not everyone changes everything all at once...if you're messing around with chords, maybe the bass player will be hitting the root note to accentuate the original chord at that point.

    Passing notes are chromatic notes that you can play to link two melodies together. You don't need to be thinking of chord structures to play an Eb between a D and an E. It is a different approach to a similar concept. However, you won't always be playing only passing notes. if you want to really go outside the scale, you'll normally be needing to substitute chords over each other.

    Can you use the relatives to embellish? I'm not sure...try it out. You'll just have to figure it out yourself. I can't think at this point tonight. If I find something out, I can let you know.

    edit: and I'm the one playing the chords for myself. I use a software to record one track over the other.
  20. Sumanovo razor

    Sumanovo razor New Member

    well i came to the conclusion that passing note and embellishing a melody is quite similar...but dont you think that if we use a chromatic movement lets say from d to e...eb will come in between which is out of scale note ...if we consider that we are playing in c scale.....i have a question ...hope you can help me out...suppose am playing a song in f scale...and i am writing staff notation for that if i come across the note Bb in the song ...i will be writing Bb instead of A# right because f scale has a Bb in it...but if i come across a note lets say Db ...what will i write ...Db or C#...

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