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Leading to Modulation
Wow, this is going to get really intense. I believe the most confusing component of music is chord and scale substitution. I receive questions all the time wondering if you should or should not switch scales while improvising? Switching scales while improvising or writing a master piece, will come in time. It's like a weight lifter slowly increasing the weight to lift. It all depends on how far you would like to advance. If you like the sound of blues, then you may be happy playing the standard 12 bar blues. Or if you like the heavy metal sound and all the obscure scales you will achieve that sound. I personally like to play them all. It is a mood driven habit. If I have a few brews and got stuck in traffic, I crank out some heavy music. But, knowing how to play, is the main objective here. If you don't understand music, then you can't express your feelings. Or at least on the guitar.
From the beginning of these lessons I've stated that I do nothing the conventional way. I have always been a rebel and not much of a follower. So, once again I will explain music from my point of view. It may not be the point of view of scholars, I didn't learn the way they did. I don't play the way they play. I only care about giving everyone the opportunity to learn. If I can spark an interest and help, then I have achieved my goal. I will make a difference, so you can.
These next few chapters are going to take some time to finish. Along the way, I will give you ideas to ponder and assignments to complete. It's up to you to do them. I can explain these topics with large words, which in turn would require you to have your dictionary handy, but I am not here to impress you and more than likely can't anyway.
Modulation is way of combining scales like a road map to create a harmonic or pleasing tonal creation. If your ears don't like it, many others won't either. The illustration below shows the major keys on the left and each note and chord of that particular key. You should know how to construct the Major keys by now. If not, you may need to go back and review that chapter. By the way, consider the definition of the major key to be a TONAL CENTER, or a starting point. If the music you're playing is signatured with 1 #, then it is based in the key of G major. Look below at the key of G major and find that one #. This sharp is the F#. The key of A has 3 sharps, check that out.
You should also know that G major is the only major key or scale with 1 sharp, check out key signatures. However, the relative minor to each major key shares the same signature. Look below at the key of G and find the Em. The Em is relative to G major. The Em scale shares the same exact signature. Both of these scales have 1#.
key of G: G, A, B, C, D, E, F#, G -------------- Em scale or Aeolian, E, F#, G, A, B, C, D, E
The Em scale and all relative minor scales are called the natural minor. The Em scale is also called the Aeolian mode. The Aeolian mode is the relative minor to the major key it is in. In the key of C major, the Am is the relative or natural minor and will always be the sixth degree of the major key. There are a number of different scales out there, but for the moment we will only concentrate on the major keys and the diatonic chords within each key. Diatonic means, the notes within the key. Each of the chords listed below in each key are diatonic triads. A triad is a 3 note chord. Remember, the major, minor and diminished chords are built upward in thirds. Also remember that every major key has 3 Major, 3 minor and 1 diminished chord.
I will give a basic understanding of each chord and its purpose. There are three basic chord sounds in every key. These sounds are as follows. Tonic, sub dominate and Dominant. Each of these are illustrated with the colors blue, white and red.
Notice the chords that are under the blue boxes. Each of these chords are referred to as tonic chords. The definition of tonic means the first note or keynote of the diatonic scale. The I, iiim and vim all can produce a tonic sound. The iim and the IV produce the sub dominant sound and the V and VII produce the Dominate sound. Each of these sounds must be experimented with to see how they all relate to each other. To see how these chords and notes relate to each other we need to learn the definition for Cadence.
What does cadence mean? The dictionary refers to this word as, Inflection or modulation in tone. A simpler definition to cadence is, any rhythmic flow of sound or the harmonic ending, final trill of a phrase or movement. There are two types of cadence that I would like to explain. The first cadence explained will be the Authentic cadence. This will be illustrated as the progression I, V, I or C, G, C. There is also a combined authentic cadence, I, VI, V, I. The second cadence is the Plagal cadence. The meaning of Plagal is, the sub dominant chord immediately preceding the tonic chord. Or, with its keynote in the middle of the compass, as a mode. You really need to print out this table to have instant access to all of the major keys, chords and modes.
To better understand this we need to construct a chord sequence. In major keys this sequence can be,
example in C: (I IV I) or (C F C). Check this sequence out below in the key of C major below. There's also one more sequence that is referred to the Authentic cadence, (I, iim, V, I), (C, Dm, G and C). Play each of these progressions and listen to how they resolve back to the C or tonic chord.
There are also other technical names for each note of the major key and here they are. We will incorporate these soon. Each major key is numbered below and listed as tonic subdominant and dominant.
It' a good idea to print out this table for quick reference to each major key and all the chords and modes.
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