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7. Using chord extensions to add flavour
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.