Major Chord Walks

It so often happens in music that you start out with an idea, a good idea, you begin to work on it and the whole concept travels in another direction. We'll call that creativity, randomness, inspiration, experimentation. That's a little like what happened with the exercise shown here. Originally we took a bass line from bass guitar and played it at a high register on piano. That's pretty much exactly what you see in the music score.

 Walking through chords

Let's briefly go over what's going on. The E-D-A progression just screams rock, but it could be taken anywhere from classical to jazz to blues. Actually, this progression was inspired by techno dance music! Bar 3 is a breaking of following strict music rules. If this song is in the key of E (as suggested by the first chord) then the D chord just does not fit! That's especially highlighted by bar 2 emphasizing the C# note by using it inverted below the root note of E. Those two bars have set up a strong E tonality. Which is why when you play this you might get a 'something's not quite right here' feeling. The G# note from the two bars of E wants to be included with the D chord, but sticking to the note structure of the D chord on just that one bar (the 3rd bar) means there's no room for a G# - it has to be G. Now, we say has to be, but that's not entirely true. A G# note for bar three could have been used in as a passing tone. We purposely did not do that to give the D Major chord increased tonal clarity. Warning, you may feel some angst on bar 3.

This lesson was also designed as a finger workout on piano. You should be able to play this with minimal hand movement and lots of finger activity. Then... we thought what will this play like on guitar? Looking at the bars chordally (if that's a word). A guitarist would probably play the last note of bars 1 and 2, the B note, as an open note. However, we noticed that with the open B string ringing out some clarity was lost moving into bar 2 so the fingering was adjusted to use only fretted notes for bars 1 & 2. And, guess what, we virtually came back to the original bass line, except played an octave higher.

So, there you go. Amazing what you can get out of a few simple notes. See how you go breaking a few rules and adjusting your playing to get the most out of your music.

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#bassguitar #songwriting #chords