Episode 1 : Blues turnaround chord melody lick.

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This episode shows you how to play a very useable bluesy lick which introduces the idea of chord substitutions; replacing a dominant chord with a minor chord and chromatic approach chords.

For more scores and other supplementary material to accompany this and the other GuitarBytes episodes visit www.guitarbytes.co.uk

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Episode 1 : Blues turnaround chord melody lick.

  1. 1. Blues turnaround chord melody lick Podcast #1 - Additional notes © Copyright Darren Dutson Bromley 2012
  2. 2. Blues turnaround chord melody lick.As a guitarist, regardless of the style of music you play, it is important to have a goodgrasp of chords and how harmony works. This is often neglected with many playerslearning a few ‘off the peg’ shapes and then devoting all their energies to learning scalesand soloing. Having an understanding of how chords are constructed and their relationshipto each other will help develop improvisational skills as well as been a satisfying andchallenging topic worthy of extended study in its own right. While many of these podcastsfocus on different soloing techniques there are a number which try to encourage anddevelop harmonic knowledge.A blues progression as we think of it today is usually a twelve-bar sequence, which in itsmost basic form consists of three or four chords. This can be developed and more chordscan be added. Over the next fifty two weeks I’ll keep returning to blues progressions andlook at ways in which they can be expanded.A blues progression in the key of Bb could be played like this.
  3. 3. One way in which a chord sequence can be embellished is with chord substitution, literallyreplacing one chord with another. This isn’t generally a random affair as the substitutechord needs to maintain the harmonic integrity of the chord it is replacing.For example:It is possible to replace the Cma7 of the original progression with Em7. Harmonically theCma7 and the Em7 have similar qualities and depending on the melody this particularsubstitution is very common.Many substitutions revolve around dominant chords such as G7.One common substitution is replacing the dominant chord with a minor 7th chord whoseroot lies a perfect 5th above. The term perfect 5th refers to the interval of the note in thescale.The C major scale for example consists of the notes C D E F G A B CThe distance between the first note C and the second note D is a major 2nd.C to E is a major 3rdC to F is a perfect 4thC to G is a perfect 5thC to A is a major 6thC to B is a major 7thC to C is a perfect 8th or octave.An easy way of finding a perfect 5th above a note is to play a note two frets above on thenext string down. This works on the sixth, fifth and fourth and second strings but note thethird as the second string is tuned different. Here it would be two frets higher.
  4. 4. Looking at the chord F7, the root note is F. The note a perfect 5th above F is C, this is theroot of the minor 7th chord we can use as a substitute for F7, it is therefore possible toplay Cm7 as a substitute for F7. Often this kind of substitute is followed by the originalchord.For example:Could be played as:The progression has more harmonic movement now and this is a good way of creatinginterest to a chord sequence.Another benefit of this technique is in creating smoother chord melody runs by alternatingeither the original dominant chord or its substitute minor 7th chord.For example here is a run which can be played over a G7 chord:The note a perfect 5th above G is D giving us the option of playing a Dm7 chord as well asG7. The run alternates between Dm7 and G7 giving the opportunity to play a harmonisedscale run while the underlying harmony remains as G7.The lick discussed in the podcast uses the above technique to create a useful bluesychord melody lick which can be used in many applications.
  5. 5. Heres the lick:The above lick fits over F7 and resolves on to Bb7 fitting rather well with bars 10 and 11 ina Bb blues sequence.As we’ve just discussed it is possible to play Cm7 as a substitute for F7. The start of thelick is based on Cm7 played in three different inversions.To these inversions of Cm7 some additional melody notes are added.
  6. 6. Its very easy to get over analytical here and start looking at them as Cm9 and Cm7sus4.Melody notes are often added to chords, particularly in chord melody playing and while it isa really good thing to have a complete understanding of the harmony (it should be a goalto achieve this) often it is more practical and more musical to see these as simpler shapeswith additional notes added which is invariably how they were conceived.The next chord is F13 which is approached by F#13 as a chromatic approach chord. Youcan approach any chord or note from one fret above or below. This is a device used a lotin soloing as well as chord playing.The Bb7 is played as Bb9. Here the root note is omitted. It is possible to omit notes andstill maintain all the relevant tonality of the chord. The 5th is often dropped from chords,particularly dominant chords. This will be covered in much more detail later.It would be a good idea to learn the lick in different keys and feel free to adapt it. Also tryusing the minor 7th substitution in other situations.See you next time

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