Harmony in five levels of difficulty

ModellistaModellista Frets: 896
This has been doing the rounds on my Facebook and I thought it was useful enough to share here.



I'll confess I'd struggle to define the concept of harmony in precise words even though anyone who plays a polyphonic instrument is in the business of harmony and instinctively knows what it is.

Having said that, the undertow of the more advanced parts of the video is: any chord goes with any melody note - there are no right or wrong answers, just a challenge to make a coherent and meaningful musical journey.

(on a personal note I was pleased I didn't start thinking "how did he do *that*!!!" until the professional musician stage.  Even the pro pianist having the lesson seemed genuinely impressed to be learning new concepts.)

Also it shows the polyphonic limitation of the standard guitar.  Try playing that run of 5ths like he does on the keyboard and you soon run out of fingers and notes.

I do wonder about the final jam he has with Herbie Hancock.  Spoiler alert - I cannot discern any of the original melody in their playing.  A bit like how I feel about jazz most of the time - it becomes such a dense tangle of harmony that it genuinely sounds to me as if they are playing any note they want to, and it fits into some sort of obscure harmonic structure or other.  Not that I have much of a choice, but I think I'll stick to aspiring to level 4!
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Comments

  • merlinmerlin Frets: 1477
  • ModellistaModellista Frets: 896
    Great video.  Not seen that one before.  "Chromatic porridge"  =)

    I had to look up minor plagal cadence.  I suppose "the Beatles thing" isn't accepted musical language yet!
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  • ModellistaModellista Frets: 896
    A cool chord that I came up with for the second bar of Amazing Grace, inspired by the F/A chord he played, is x01243, which I believe is something like a F7add9/A.  Perhaps not that useful on its own, but works beautifully as a leading chord to the IV (Bb).
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  • ArchtopDaveArchtopDave Frets: 448
    Thanks for the Video in your first post. Personally, I can hear elements of the melody in the final jam with Herbie Hancock, though I accept they are fragmented.

    I've done a bit of this kind of study with my regular guitar teacher - i.e. you can play any note over any chord. However it does mean that you've got to have a reason for playing each note in a solo, and it becomes important as to how you create phrasing, and how you resolve the notes in each phrase. Additionally, you have to consider how much to play "outside" and how much to play "inside" - playing "outside notes" a lot can become wearing for most people.
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  • ClarkyClarky Frets: 3028
    edited July 14
    A cool chord that I came up with for the second bar of Amazing Grace, inspired by the F/A chord he played, is x01243, which I believe is something like a F7add9/A.  Perhaps not that useful on its own, but works beautifully as a leading chord to the IV (Bb).
    question: isn't F7add9/A just F9/A?
    wouldn't you only use 'add9' if the 7th was not present??
    play every note as if it were your first
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  • ModellistaModellista Frets: 896
    Clarky said:
    A cool chord that I came up with for the second bar of Amazing Grace, inspired by the F/A chord he played, is x01243, which I believe is something like a F7add9/A.  Perhaps not that useful on its own, but works beautifully as a leading chord to the IV (Bb).
    question: isn't F7add9/A just F9/A?
    wouldn't you only use 'add9' if the 7th was not present??
    Yep, that is right.  In defence of my (probably incorrect) chord name, I was thinking about the chord as an F7/A x01241 and then adding the 9th, hence the add9.  Plus it has two 7ths in it which to me makes it more of a 7th add9 rather than a straight 9 if that makes sense?  But I'm almost certainly being too colloquial there.  Having said that, I haven't found any version of F9 online that has two 7ths in it.  How would that be denoted in a chord name if at all?

    Just goes to show how ambiguous chord names can be - there's always a number of different ways to play them.  If was to see F9/A on a chord sheet I'd probably play x08999, which isn't really the same feel as the x01243 chord because the highest note is higher than the melody note.  x0899x would be closer but I couldn't know which is best just from the name.
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  • ClarkyClarky Frets: 3028
    Clarky said:
    A cool chord that I came up with for the second bar of Amazing Grace, inspired by the F/A chord he played, is x01243, which I believe is something like a F7add9/A.  Perhaps not that useful on its own, but works beautifully as a leading chord to the IV (Bb).
    question: isn't F7add9/A just F9/A?
    wouldn't you only use 'add9' if the 7th was not present??
    Yep, that is right.  In defence of my (probably incorrect) chord name, I was thinking about the chord as an F7/A x01241 and then adding the 9th, hence the add9.  Plus it has two 7ths in it which to me makes it more of a 7th add9 rather than a straight 9 if that makes sense?  But I'm almost certainly being too colloquial there.  Having said that, I haven't found any version of F9 online that has two 7ths in it.  How would that be denoted in a chord name if at all?

    Just goes to show how ambiguous chord names can be - there's always a number of different ways to play them.  If was to see F9/A on a chord sheet I'd probably play x08999, which isn't really the same feel as the x01243 chord because the highest note is higher than the melody note.  x0899x would be closer but I couldn't know which is best just from the name.
    what you're talking about is voicing...
    voicing don't impact the chord's name..
    so no matter how many 7th's you have in a E11, it's still E11
    the only thing a chord name can tell you is the root, what intervals the chord contains, and if it's a slash chord, the inversion..
    beyond that, how you voice the chord is up to you and what you believe sounds / functions best..

    you're right in the sense that naming chords somehow falls short..
    that said, if you wanted to be really explicit then I guess the only other option is scoring, tab or charts
    cos then you're essentially saying 'bung your fingers here and the specific noise I intend you to make will happen'.. lol..

    play every note as if it were your first
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