Be­gin­ner to Ad­vanced

Guitar Techniques - - PLAY: CHORDS -

The har­mony found in pop and rock songs is of­ten dis­missed as ‘sim­ple’ be­cause a song may have only a few chords and those chords might not have long, com­pli­cated names. It can, in fact, of­ten take a con­sid­er­able the­o­ret­i­cal knowl­edge in or­der to ad­e­quately un­der­stand a seem­ingly ‘sim­ple’ song. Like the english lan­guage with its var­i­ous roots, pop­u­lar mu­sic har­mony is lay­ered with dif­fer­ent con­cepts and in­flu­ences and it can be dif­fi­cult to grasp all of its char­ac­ter­is­tics and its seem­ing in­con­sis­ten­cies. Iron­i­cally, when a pop song is dis­missed as sim­ple, it is of­ten be­cause it has a hid­den com­plex­ity. Be­cause the har­mony does not ap­pear com­pli­cated, it’s mis­taken for be­ing un­so­phis­ti­cated. This ar­ti­cle will ex­plain a very par­tic­u­lar har­monic con­cept that should of­fer con­sid­er­able in­sight and make sense of the mu­sic you know or will en­counter, as well as pro­vid­ing tools for your own writ­ing. do re­mem­ber that we are fo­cus­ing on one par­tic­u­lar con­cept in this ar­ti­cle, and by do­ing so we can dig deep into its im­pli­ca­tions. It is, of course, just one con­cept in the com­pli­cated world of pop har­mony so it’s best to in­te­grate (rather than re­place) what you al­ready know with the ideas here. Tech­ni­cal play­ing de­mands for this ar­ti­cle are kept at a min­i­mum so that we can fo­cus on the­ory rather than tech­nique.

We are all fa­mil­iar with the idea of play­ing in a key so, for ex­am­ple, if we are in C ma­jor, then we are us­ing notes and chords from the C ma­jor scale, and C is our root – a sort of grav­i­ta­tional rest­ing point that feels like a kind of home. most of us are also fa­mil­iar with the idea of mod­u­la­tion; that is when a key changes at some point in the tune. a mod­u­la­tion means the root of the scale (and some­times the type of scale) is al­tered. We might, for ex­am­ple, move from C ma­jor to e ma­jor, or C ma­jor to a mi­nor. In short, we are switch­ing from one key to another key. how­ever, there is a har­monic ap­proach that

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