Tonics, Keys, and Modes For Dummies

Category : Blog, Guitar Theory For Dummies, modes, podcast

Major and Minor Keys
Every piece of music has a tonal center called a tonic. The tonic is the primary pitch or chord that everything else revolves around. It’s where a piece of music sounds resolved or complete and usually where the music begins and ends. Generally speaking, the tonic also determines a song’s key. When music centers on a major chord, it’s said to be in a major key. When music centers on a minor chord, it’s said to be in a minor key.

Guitar Modes
Traditionally, music has been taught as being in either the major or minor scale. The major scale is based on the first degree, and the minor scale, the 6th. But in fact, any degree (or any chord) in the major scale can function as the starting point and serve as the tonic. Because the major scale has seven degrees and chords, it also has seven possible starting points, or modes. Each mode has a unique sound and special Greek name. You may have heard of Ionian, Dorian, Phrygian, Lydian, Mixolydian, Aeolian, and Locrian modes.

Free Guitar Lesson
Listen to this podcast episode to hear examples of modal scales. Click on the link below to start the audio or go to the Guitar Theory podcast at iTunes.

Podcast Episode 29: Key Changes For Dummies Continue Reading

Key Changes For Dummies

Category : Guitar Theory For Dummies, key, podcast

When you play songs, sometimes seeing how a chord progression fits into a key is really easy. Other times the chords used in a piece of music seem to be completely unrelated. The main reason for this variation is that a song doesn’t need to stay in one key or one type of scale. In fact, composers often switch from one key to another within the same song or combine chords from different keys to form one chord progression.

In this free guitar lesson, you hear examples of modulations, modal interchange, borrowed chords, and the circle of fifths. Click on the link below to start the audio or go to the Guitar Theory podcast at iTunes.

Podcast Episode 29: Key Changes For Dummies Continue Reading

Guitar Chord Progressions For Dummies

Category : Blog, chord progressions, Guitar Theory For Dummies, podcast

In music, songs typically follow well-worn paths by using common types of chord changes. On the fretboard, these chord changes make patterns that guitarists visualize and follow by number, like I-IV-V (1 4 5) and I-vi-ii-V (1 6 2 5). The chords and numbers are based on the degrees and triads of the major scale. This sequence of major and minor chords is one of the most important concepts in music. Knowing chord progressions and how to play by numbers is essential to knowing music theory, understanding song construction, improvising, and composing.

Get to know more about guitar chord progressions, including major and minor varieties, and listen to acoustic and electric guitar playing examples in this free guitar lesson. Click on the link below to start the audio or go to the Guitar Theory podcast at iTunes.

Podcast Episode 27: Guitar Chord Progressions for Dummies Continue Reading

Chord Tones and Extensions For Dummies

Category : chords, Guitar Theory For Dummies, podcast

Chords are constructed from roots, 3rds, and 5ths. These intervals come from the major scale where the scale degrees produce different triads, some major and some minor (and one diminished).

Guitar players add chord tones and extensions to triads by incorporating the other degrees from the major scale. These added scale degrees include 2nds, 4ths, 6ths, 7ths, 9ths, 11ths, and 13ths.

Get to know more about chord tones and extensions, including how to use pedal point or pedal tones, and listen to acoustic and electric guitar playing examples in this free guitar lesson. Click on the link below to start the audio or go to my Guitar Theory podcast at iTunes.

Podcast Episode 26: Chord Tones and Extensions For Dummies Continue Reading

Let Love Rule Chords Guitar

Category : Blog

“Let Love Rule” by Lenny Kravitz has chords that don’t all fit together in one key, or rather, one parent major scale. This is because the music is composed using secondary dominants and, at one point, even modal interchange and voice leading. Continue Reading

CAGED Chord Shapes and Arpeggio Patterns For Dummies

Category : Guitar Theory For Dummies, podcast

In my free guitar theory podcast episode 25 I discuss how the CAGED system is used to play chord shapes, inversions, and arpeggio patterns on the guitar fretboard and demonstrate how various chord voicings are featured in popular music. Listen now at the links below.

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Harmonized Major Scale, Triads, and Chords For Dummies

Category : Blog, Guitar Theory For Dummies, major scale, podcast

In my free guitar theory podcast episode 24 I discuss how the major scale is used to play triads and build chords, and I demonstrate some of the different ways that triads are used in popular music. Listen now at the links below.

Podcast Episode 24: Harmonized Major Scale, Triads, and Chords Continue Reading

Navigating the Fretboard like a Pro For Dummies

Category : Blog, Guitar Theory For Dummies, podcast

In my free guitar theory podcast episode 23 I discuss and demonstrate how guitarists learn the notes on the fret board, play sharps and flats, and use intervals. Listen now at the links below.

Podcast Episode 23: Navigating the Fretboard like a Pro

Guitar Theory podcast at iTunes

Guitar Theory podcast at Talkshoe

This free guitar lesson is based on my book, Guitar Theory For Dummies, Chapter 2. Click the link to learn more about the book and watch a free video trailer. Continue Reading

Pharrell Williams Happy Chords Guitar

Category : Blog, jazzy

The song “Happy” by Pharrell Williams has sold in the millions and racked up hundreds of millions of views on YouTube. It features a unique chord progression that mixes major and minor tonalities and borrows chords from two different scales. If you’re interested in knowing how the music breaks down from a theory perspective, and you want to know what scales to play over the chord changes, then read on (and clap along if you feel like that’s what you wanna do). Continue Reading

Fretboard Theory Volume II Video Download

Category : Blog, fretboard theory, Volume II

I’m please to announce the completion of a new video program that corresponds to my book (sold separately), Fretboard Theory Volume II. Watch the first thirty minutes FREE!

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