Improvising Over Chord Changes When beginning to improvise on the guitar, students almost invariably learn what is called a “key-centered” approach. This entails determining the key of a song or chord progression, then using its corresponding scale as a pallete with which to improvise. This is a useful and entirely valid approach that guitarists at
Lydian Mode Formula W W W H W W HF Lydian F G A B C D E F Intervals R M2 M3 +4 P5 M6 M7 P8 Characteristic Pitches: NoneCharacteristic Progressions: I-II or I-VIIm The mode built off the fourth degree is an soaring, ethereal mode. While it technically doesn’t have a characteristic avoid
Structuring Song Sections: Two Equal Length Progressions Per Section While repeating one progression for the entirety of a verse, chorus, or bridge can be quite effective, adding a second progression to a section can have interesting effects. This technique can be used to provide contrast or push the song into a new section, or both.
Harmonic Rhythm When coming up with a chord progression, many less experienced songwriters fail to value the rhythmic placement of the chord changes as much as other elements. However, when and how often a chord change occurs has a dramatic effect on the overall perception of a chord progression. The frequency and rhythmic placement of
Major Key Cadences Musical composition is built on the convention of tension and resolution. A melody or a harmony progressively cycles between these two ends of the spectrum. In harmony, this convention is best embodied in the technique of cadencing, where tension from a dominant or subdominant chord is resolved into a tonic chord.
Triadic Chord Families The diatonic chords in a given key share certain pitches and characteristics which allow them to be grouped into families. These chord families capitalize on the hierarchy of melodic stability of the individual pitches in a key to create different effects in a chord progession. Understanding these families is helpful in creating
Phrygian Mode Formula H W W W H W W E Phrygian E F G A B C
The Dorian Mode Formula W H W W W H W D Dorian D E F G A B