Soul Food!

Jon Bishop un­veils the won­der­ful world of soul and looks at chords and pro­gres­sions that cre­ated some of the best-loved songs of the 20th cen­tury and beyond.

Guitar Techniques - - Play: Chords -

The aim of this les­son is to pro­vide you with some clas­sic chords and pro­gres­sions to help you sound more au­then­tic in the soul and R&B mu­si­cal styles. It is also in­tended to give your rhythm play­ing and chord knowl­edge a good work­out. Soul mu­sic is a unique blend of jazz, blues, pop and gospel and is the key style from which the ‘funk’ genre blos­somed. R&B gen­er­ally fea­tures more ad­vanced jazz-type har­mony and chord types.

The gui­tar is one of the key in­stru­ments in the soul en­sem­ble, pro­vid­ing the back­bone of the groove and also play­ing fills and sin­gle note lines. Other in­stru­men­ta­tion used in soul mu­sic in­cludes: strings, brass, pi­ano, Fen­der Rhodes, or­gan, bass, drums and per­cus­sion.

This month’s ex­am­ples use sim­ple chords like ma­jor and mi­nor tri­ads and then build in com­plex­ity as we move on to ex­tended, al­tered and slash chords. In this ar­ti­cle we may some­times re­fer to the var­i­ous chord fin­ger­ings as ‘voic­ings’. The word voic­ing is just a fancy name for how many notes there are in a chord and the low to high string or­der­ing th­ese notes are placed. For ex­am­ple, the C ma­jor chord con­tains the notes C, E and G, but the gui­tarist can choose how to play (voice) this chord on the fret­board. The notes can be re­peated and placed in dif­fer­ent or­ders to cre­ate new sounds. Many of the ex­am­ples in this fea­ture sound good be­cause of the par­tic­u­lar voic­ing that has been cho­sen.

The chord types used in the ex­am­ples can be grouped into the fol­low­ing ar­eas: tri­ads, 7th chords, ex­tended chords (9th, 11th ,13th), al­tered dom­i­nants and slash chords.

The chords in the ex­am­ples (with the ex­cep­tion of the al­tered dom­i­nants) are cre­ated by har­mon­is­ing the ma­jor scale in di­a­tonic 3rds. This process in­volves stack­ing 3rds from a given scale (di­a­tonic sim­ply refers to any scale made up of tones and semi­tones) to cre­ate chord types. Take for in­stance the C Ma­jor scale, (C D E F G A B); if we stack up 3rds from the root note C, we get C, E and G which cre­ate the C Ma­jor triad. If we con­tinue this process we can add B (the ma­jor 7th), D (9th) etc, right up to A (13th). If we then start this process on the sec­ond note of the C Ma­jor scale, D, then we cre­ate a D mi­nor chord (D, F and A) - and so on.

When we come to use slash chord no­ta­tion, re­mem­ber that the first let­ter is the triad (the three-note chord on top) and the sec­ond let­ter is the bass note. There­fore C/D would be a C ma­jor triad (C, E, G) with a D bass note. All of the fin­ger­ings have been tabbed so check out how th­ese re­late to the voic­ing in the no­ta­tion.

The other chord type we’ll be look­ing at here is the al­tered dom­i­nant. This chord con­tains the root, ma­jor 3rd and mi­nor 7th in­ter­vals. But in ad­di­tion to th­ese we can add al­tered 9th and al­tered 5th scale tones - namely the b9, #9, b5 and #5.

You’ll find an audio demon­stra­tion of the eight-bar ex­am­ples which draw in­spi­ra­tion from some of soul and R&B’s big­gest names. As a bonus, and to put the work from the ex­am­ples into con­text, there is a fi­nal soul-styled jam track for you to learn. The demon­stra­tion gui­tar part has been tabbed out for all of the ex­am­ples and then re­moved so you can play along with the back­ing tracks. Why not chal­lenge your­self to come up with a part of your own over the back­ing track, us­ing some of the ex­am­ples as jumping off points along the way? Some of the best pop songs ever recorded are based around the soul feel and chord reper­toire, and any gig­ging gui­tarist worth his salt will want to add them to his own are­se­nal.

As ever have fun with it, and see you next time. Thanks to James Comp­ton for per­form­ing the key­board parts.

Soul and R&B is a unique blend of jazz, blues, pop and gospel and is the key style from which the ‘funk’ genre blos­somed.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.