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7. Us­ing chord ex­ten­sions to add flavour

Computer Music - - Make Music Now / Music Theory Made Easy -

1 We can make our chords more in­ter­est­ing by adding ex­tra notes… but not just any. We’ve been deal­ing with ba­sic three-note tri­ads so far, but we’re go­ing to spice things up be­fore the se­cond verse hits by us­ing four-note chords. Start by du­pli­cat­ing the top note of the C ma­jor chord four semi­tones up to B. 2 This new C-E-G-B chord adds a new feel­ing to the first chord of the pro­gres­sion. If we try do­ing ex­actly the same with the G ma­jor and A mi­nor chords, though, the note wouldn’t be in key. This time, we move the top note up three steps in­stead of four. 3 We can ex­tend the F ma­jor chord by adding an ex­tra note four semi­tones up. This is a great chord to ‘lead on from’. For this rea­son, we de­cide to use this chord as the last in a group of eight, rather than in a group of four. We du­pli­cate the first four, then re­move the ex­ten­sion from the F the first time around. 4 Chord ex­ten­sions don’t have to stop there. For the se­cond G ma­jor and A

mi­nor chords, we move the top note up even fur­ther, hit­ting A for G ma­jor and B for A mi­nor. Fi­nally, we also ex­tend the se­cond C ma­jor chord in the group of eight with a higher-up D note. 5 The chords have be­come a bit too ‘jazzy’ for the track. We take the G and A chords’ high­est notes else­where, mak­ing G ma­jor ( G-B-D-B) and A mi­nor ( A-C-E-C). These chords aren’t tech­ni­cally ex­ten­sions, as the higher notes al­ready be­long to the orig­i­nal chord, but it still gives ex­tra com­plex­ity. 6 Fi­nally, we start du­pli­cat­ing these al­ter­nate, more com­plex chords out to the rest of the sec­tions in the track. They’ll fea­ture from the first break­down, into the se­cond verse, and be­yond into the track’s outro as well.

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