This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
Chord-melody playing is about solving problems: how to find the best (or hippest, or most challenging, or simplest, or most swinging-est) way of playing the chords in a tune while making sure the correct melody note is on top. Often, all you’ll need is a basic inversion of the chord, though you’ll have to be equally prepared to use substitutions, alterations, and a host of reharmonization tricks to come up with a cool arrangement. Though many players put the melody note in the middle register or bass, when beginning chord-melody, it’s best to think of the top E and B strings as your melody strings, and the bottom E and A strings as your bass. The Absolute Basics 1. Play the chord that is written in the chart, finding an inversion of that chord that has the melody note on the B or E string. It is preferable (though not essential) to have the root of the chord as the lowest note in the inversion. 2. If the melody note is not a note in the basic chord, then add an extension: 9, 11, or 13. (If there’s suddenly too many notes in your chord, the note first to drop is usually the 5th – see the “Note on Extensions”). 3. If the melody note is not diatonic to the basic chord at all, then make the chord an alteration: b5, #5, b9, #9, #11th, b13th etc. 4. If you just can’t seem to make the melody note fit with the chord, or else it just sounds pony, then consider using one of the many reharmonizations -substituting the written chord and putting another in its place. Things to Consider
Ballads are best to start with as you can play them in free time and it sounds romantic instead of just off-tempo. You don’t need to find a chord for each individual melody note. Usually an arrangement sounds better as a combination of single and chordal playing. Relentlessly using chords can sound a bit clunking. Listen to the bass line you’re making as well as the melody. Does it follow its own logic? Could reharmonization make the bass line stronger? Once you’ve grasped the basics of chord-melody playing, adding walking bass lines is the next big challenge. Don't be a slave to the chart. If you don't like what's on it, change it. Your ears are the ultimate arbiter of what sounds good.
What follows is a series of basic chords that will work when playing chord melodies, arranged according to chord type and function within a diatonic scale. All are four-note chords whose melody note is on the top E or B strings, and whose root is in the bass (though some chords don’t have a root, at all).
1 PDF created with pdfFactory trial version www.pdffactory.com
resolving to Cmajor7 in the fourth bar with an E in the melody. Some chords (like the minor7b5’s) will be chords you rarely use. you’ll find it tricky. you can lose the 5th. Second. thus keeping it all in the same octave range. 11th. simply work out what the tune requires of you. but I haven’t drawn them on. I haven’t tackled diminished chords.5. Looking at p. then play the next three notes singly (g. I’d go for the first one.12 – “Amin with C on top” – gives me three choices. all the examples are in C. That said.com . 13th). If there’s even the slightest bit of interest. There are of course a ton of limitations to this chord-finder. g) as single notes. then play the next three notes (b. Examples of this type of chord can be found on p. The next bar has Dmin7 with an F on top. simply using it a couple times and seeing how it works should provide fairly clear examples of what you need to do and how to do it.) There are three more notes in this bar (a. The chord in the first bar is Am7. you can lose either the 5ths or the 3rd. When playing an 11th. First. which can be used on any chord in whatever situation. Here are some rules for dropping some of them: • • • • • When playing a 9th. There’s two options on the bottom of p. Let’s take the first four bars of “Fly Me to the Moon” as an example. before moving into the next bar. Adding extensions to chords can leave you with way too many notes in the chord. or provided examples of altered chords when the melody isn’t being obligingly diatonic.12 (I’d go for the first option again. and if you can’t transpose. I’ll choose the middle one. Many require barres. with a C in the melody. When playing a #11th.pdffactory. with the omission of the flat-five (or “tritone”) substitution. you can lose the 1. When playing a 13th. g.To use the chords. a. so you’ll have to work out the fingerings for those ones yourself (it shouldn’t tax you too much. you can lose the 7th.3. I’ll include them in part 2. and I’m going to choose the first. c).) At the bottom of each section is a note on the most commonly used substitutions. 2 PDF created with pdfFactory trial version www. A Note on Extensions. examples of which can be found on p. a. When playing a 6th. you can lose the 5th. or the more frequently used extensions (9th. f). a G7 with a B on top. All of the chords are easily reached – no impossible or macho stretches – and most are simple inversions of 7th chords.
pdffactory.com .I Chord C major with C on top Cmaj7 Cmaj7 C6 C6/9 C major with D on top Cmaj9 C6/9 Cmaj9 Cmaj9 (no 3rd) C major with E on top Cmaj7 Cmaj7 C6 C6 C major with F on top Cmaj7add11 C6add11 Cmaj7add11 3 PDF created with pdfFactory trial version www.
and VI can be used interchangeably.pdffactory.com . iii. Use V#9 in place of I 4 PDF created with pdfFactory trial version www.C major with G on top Cmaj7 C6 C6/9 C major with A on top Cmaj7 C6 Cmaj6/9 C6 C major with B on top Cmaj7 Cmaj7 Cmaj7 Cmaj7 Common Substitutions for the I Chord Chords I.
com .pdffactory.ii Chord D minor with C on top Dmin7 Dmin7 Dmin7 Dmin7 D minor with D on top Dmin7 Dmin7 Dmin7 D minor with E on top Dmin9 Dmin9 (no root) Dmin9 (no root) Dmin9 D minor with F on top Dmin7 Dmin7 5 PDF created with pdfFactory trial version www.
replace Dmin7 with Fmaj7).D minor 7 with G on top Dmin11 Dmin9add11 Dmin11 Dmin11 D minor with A on top Dmin7 Dmin7 Dmin9 (no root) Dmin7add11 (no root) D minor with B on top Dmin6 Dmin6add11 Dmin6 Common Substitutions for the ii Chord Use ii and IV interchangeably (ie.com . As long as the 5th (A) is not the top note. This creates a “V of V” as D7 would be the V chord in the key of G. change the ii chord to a dominant chord (ie. 6 PDF created with pdfFactory trial version www.pdffactory. the ii chord can become a min7b5 chord (ie. In a ii-V progression. you may flat the 5 in any of the above D minor chords. Dmin7-G7 becomes D7-G7). Dmin7-G7 becomes Dmin7b5-G7). In a ii-V progression.
com .iii Chord E minor with C on top Emin7#5 (play bottom E open) Emin7#5 Emin7#5add11 Emin7#5 E minor with D on top Emin7 Emin7 Emin7 Emin7 E minor with E on top Emin7 Emin7 Emin7 Emin7 (play top E open) E minor with F on top Emin7b9 Emin7b9 Emin7b9 7 PDF created with pdfFactory trial version www.pdffactory.
and vi can be used interchangeably (eg.com .pdffactory. iii. all Emin7s with C on top are in effect C majors).E minor with G on top Emin7 Emin7 Emin7 E minor with A on top Emin11 Emin9add11 Emin11 Emin11 E minor with B on top Emin7 Emin7 Emin9 (no root) Emin7add11(no root) Common Substitutions for the iii Chord I. 8 PDF created with pdfFactory trial version www.
IV Chord F major with C on top Fmaj7 F 6/9 (no root) F6 Fmaj9 F major with D on top F6 Fmaj 9/6 (no root) F6 F major with E on top Fmaj7 Fmaj7 Fmaj7 Fmaj7 F major with F on top Fmaj7 Fmaj F6 Fmaj7 9 PDF created with pdfFactory trial version www.com .pdffactory.
F major with G on top Fmaj9 Fmaj9 Fmaj9 (no 3rd) F 6/9 F major with A on top Fmaj7 Fmaj7 Fmaj7 F major with B on top Fmaj7b5 Fmaj7b5 Fmaj7b5 (play top B open) Fmaj7b5 Common Substitutions for the IV Chord ii and IV can be used interchangeably. 10 PDF created with pdfFactory trial version www.pdffactory.com .
com .pdffactory.V Chord G Dominant with C on top G11 G11 G Dominant with D on top G7 G7 G9 G7 G Dominant with E on top G13 G9add13 G13 (play top E open) G Dominant with F on top G7 (play middle 3 strings open) G7 G7 11 PDF created with pdfFactory trial version www.
#9. #11. 12 PDF created with pdfFactory trial version www. play diminished whose root a one step higher than the V chord. ie play G#diminished for G7.pdffactory.com . As a diminished chord is similar to a V chord with a flat nine.. Add colour tones and alterations such as.G Dominant with G on top G7 G13 G7 G6 G Dominant with A on top G9 G7#5add9 G6/9 (no root) G9 (no root) G Dominant with B on top G7 G7 G7 Common Substitutions for the V chord V and vii can be used interchangeably. b9. b5. #5. sus. etc.b9. sus.
vi Chord A minor with C on top Amin Amin7 Amin7 A minor with D on top Amin11 Amin11 (no root) Amin11 A minor with E on top Amin7 Amin7 Amin7 (play top E open) A minor with F on top Amin7#5 Amin7#5 13 PDF created with pdfFactory trial version www.com .pdffactory.
pdffactory. 14 PDF created with pdfFactory trial version www. or play A open) Common Substitutions for the vi Chord I.A minor with G on top Amin7 Amin7 Amin7 Amin7 A minor with A on top Amin7 Amin7 A minor with B on top Amin9 Amin9 Amin9 (no root. iii and vi can be used interchangeably.com . vi chords may be converted to Dominant 7th chords. adding colour tones and alterations.
pdffactory.vii Chord B minor7b5 with C on top Bmin7b5b9 Bmin7b5b9 B minor7b5 with D on top Bmin7b5 Bmin7b5 B minor7b5 with E on top Bmin7b5add11 (play top E open) Bmin11b5 (play top E open) Bmin11b5 (play bottom A open) Bmin11b5 B minor7b5 with F on top Bmin7b5 Bmin7b5 Bmin7b5 15 PDF created with pdfFactory trial version www.com .
16 PDF created with pdfFactory trial version www.com .B minor7b5 with G on top Bmin7b5addG Bminb5addG B minor7b5 with A on top Bmin7b5 Bmin7b5 B minor7b5 with B on top Common Substitutions for the vii Chord Substitute vii for V.pdffactory.
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
We've moved you to where you read on your other device.
Get the full title to continue reading from where you left off, or restart the preview.