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Chords Workshop

by Mark Fowler
Based mostly on:
2 straight-forward articles by David Hamburger in Acoustic
Guitar Magazine (August & September 2003)
http://acousticguitar.com/lessons/Chord_Names/1.html
http://acousticguitar.com/lessons/Chord_Names2/1.html
What Makes Music Work, a book by P. Seyer, A. Novick, & P. Harmon
http://www.lovemusiclovedance.com/what_makes_music_work.htm
An amazingly simple but effective little book!!

Chords & Progressions for Jazz and Popular Guitar, a book by Arnie Berle
Wikipedia Entry
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chord_notation

Got Questions? mfowler@binghamton.edu


Get Full-Size, Full-Color Handout:
http://www.ws.binghamton.edu/fowler
(Click on Other)

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What Well Cover


Part Ia
What notes are in the normal chords?

Part Ib
What notes are in the weird chords?

Part II
How do you play the weird chords?

Part III
When do you use the weird chords?
Next
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Part Ia
What Notes Are In The
Normal Chords?

Next
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What is a Chord?
Three or more different notes played together

What Makes a Certain Chord?


It depends on the Intervals (i.e., distance) between
the notes

What Is an Interval?
A measure of the distance between two notes
Interval names are based on positions in scales
Actually, they are really based on the # of half steps
between the notes
Note: 2 notes a half step
apart are one fret apart

Next
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Intervals within the C Major Scale


b7th
(Minor 7th)

Major
7th

Bb

Major
6th

G#

Perfect
5th

F#
F

Perfect 4th

H
Minor
3rd

Major
3rd

Eb
D

C#
C

Major
2nd
Next
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Intervals Between Strings On The Guitar


4ths

A 4th up is
a 5th down

5ths

Adjacent Strgs

Maj 3rds

Min 3rds

Skipped Strgs

Next

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Triads Simplest Chords


There are only 4 types of triads:
Major

Minor

R35

R b3 5

Diminished

Augmented

R b3 b5

R 3 #5

B
Bb
A
G#
G
Gb

B
Bb
A
G#
G
Gb

B
Bb
A
G#
G
Gb

B
Bb
A
G#
G
Gb

F
E
Eb
D
C#
C

Perfect 5th
Major 3rd

F
E
Eb
D
C#

Perfect 5th

Minor 3rd

These constitute about 99% of the chords


you see traditionally in a fiddle tune

F
E
Eb
D
C#
C

Flat 5th
Minor 3rd

F
E
Eb
D
C#

Sharp 5th

Major 3rd

We wont be needing these!


Next

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Triads-Based Guitar Chords: An Example


C Minor

C Major

4 1 0 1 x

3 2 0 1 0

Note: In a typical Guitar


Chord-Form we often
repeat triad notes
CEGCE
R 35 R3

Major
R35

C Eb G C
R b3 5 R

Minor
R b3 5

B
Bb
A
G#
G
Gb

B
Bb
A
G#
G
Gb

F
E
Eb
D
C#
C

Perfect 5th
Major 3rd

F
E
Eb
D
C#
C

Perfect 5th

Minor 3rd
Next
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Triads-Based Guitar Chords: Another Example


D Major

D Minor

0 0 1 3 2

0 0 2 3 1

In some Guitar ChordForms the triad notes dont


appear in order
A D A D F#
5 R5R 3

ADADF
5 R 5 R b3

Major
R35

Minor
R b3 5

D
C#
C

D
C#
C

B
Bb
A
G#
G
F#

B
Bb

F
E
Eb
D

Perfect 5th

Perfect 5th

Major 3rd

G#
G
F#
F
E
Eb
D

Minor 3rd
Next
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Part Ib
What Notes Are In These
Weird Chords?

Next
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Bigger Intervals
(shown relative to C in C major scale)
C
1

D
2

E F
3 4

G A
5 6

B
7

C
8

D E F G A B C
9 10 11 12 13 14 15

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Nearly-Complete Jazz Chord Family Tree


For Jazz Chords: sequentially add other notes to a maj/min triad
Note the main pattern: 1 3 5 7 9 11 13
b3
b7
Major Triad
Add 6

These are the


Dominants

Add b7

Add 7

Add 6

Add b7

Maj7
1 357

7
1 3 5 b7

m6
1
5 6

m(maj7)
1 b3 5 7

Maj6/9
13569

Maj9
13579

9
1 3 5 b7 9

m6/9
1 b3 5 6 9

m(maj9)
1 b3 5 7 9

Maj13
1 3 5 7 9 (11) 13

11
1 (3) 5 b7 9 11
13
1 3 5 b7 9 (11) 13

b3

Add bb7

Add 7

Maj6
1 356

Maj11
1 (3) 5 7 9 11

Dim Triad

Minor Triad

Notes in ( ) are
usually omitted.
It is common to
leave out other
notes too,
especially on
guitar

m7
1 5 b7
b3

dim 7
1 b3 b5 bb7

m9
5 b7 9

b3

b3

m11
5 b7 9 11

b3

m13
5
9 (11) 13

= 6!!

b7

Altered Chords (e.g., A7#5b9): Raise or Lower the 5, 9, 11, or 13

Next
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Part II
How Do You Play These
Weird Chords?

Next
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An Example
C7

C Major
3 2 0 1 0

3 2 4 1 x

C E Bb C
R 3 b7 R

CEG CE
R 35 R 3

Major

R 3 5 b7

B
Bb
A
G#
G
Gb

B
Bb
A
G#
G
Gb

F
E
Eb
D
C#
C

Major 3rd

3 2 4 1 x

Dom 7

R35

Perfect 5th

For this
form we
sacrifice
the 5th !

This now
becomes
Movable
D7

F
E
Eb
D
C#
C

b7th

D F# C D
R 3 b7 R

E7

Perfect 5th

3 2 4 1 x

V
Major 3rd

E G# D E
R 3 b7 R

Next
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A Structure-Based Approach:
A

AMaj7

A7

0 2 1 3 0

0 2 1 3 0

0 2 0 3 0

A E A C# E
R5 R3 5

A E G# C# E
R5 73 5

A E G C# E
R 5 b7 3 5

CMaj7

C7

1 2 3 4 1

1 3 2 4 1

1 3 1 4 1

Find a Root and


Keep Lowering It

Make It Movable:

III

III

CGC EG
R5 R 3 5

III

CGB EG
R5 7 3 5

C G Bb E G
R 5 b7 3 5

Next
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More Examples of that Rule:


G

Gmaj7

G7

Find a Root and


Keep Lowering It
G6

3 2 0 0 0 4

3 2 0 0 0 1

3 2 0 0 0 1

3 2 0 0 0 0

GB DGBG
R 3 5 R 3R

G B D G B F#
R 3 5 R 37

GB DGBF
R 3 5 R 3 b7

GB DGBE
R 3 5 R 36

Dmaj7

D7

D6

0 0 1 3 2

0 0 1 1 1

0 0 2 1 3

0 0 2 0 3

A D A D F#
5 R 5 R 3

A D A C # F#
5 R 5 7 3

A D A C F#
5 R 5 b7 3

A D A C F#
5 R 5 6 3

Next
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Another Structure-Based Rule:


G6

G
1 3 4 2 1 1

III

G7

1 3 x 2 1 1

1 3 x 2 1 1

GD
R 5

GD
R 5

Find a 5th and


Keep Raising It

III

GDGB DG
R 5R 3 5R

B EG
3 6R

B F G
3 b7 R

Or Use Our 1st Rule:


Lowering a Root

G
1

Gmaj7

4 3 2

III

4 2 1

III

GDGB DG
R 5R 3 5R

G7
1

2 4 3

III

G
R

F# B D
7 3 5

G6
2

1 4 3

G
R

E BD
6 3 5

III

G
R

F BD
3 5

b7

Gray Circles = notes left out to make the new


chords playable playable!!!

Next
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And More:
A

1 3 4 2 1 1

V
A E A C# E A
R 5R 3 5R

Find the Maj 3rd


and lower it

Ammaj7

Am
1 3 4 1 1 1

1 3 2 1 1 1

AEA C EA
R 5 R b3 5 R

2 x 1 3 3 3

1 3 1 1 1 1

Am6

Am7

A E G# C E A
R 5 7 b3 5 R

V
AEG C EA
R 5 b7 b3 5 R

A F# C E A
R 6 b3 5 R

2 x 3 3 3 3

Find a Root and


keep lowering it

V
A
R

G C EA
5R

Certified
Jazzers
Form

Next

b7 b3

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Another Rule: Making the dom 9th Chord


C7

Find a Root and Raise It

3 2 4 1 x

Dom 9
R 3 5 b7 9

D
C#

9th

C E Bb C
R 3 b7 R

Recall:
For this
form we
sacrificed
the 5th !

This form is movable


D9
2 1 3 3 3

IV

C
B
Bb
A
G#
G
Gb

b7th

F
E
Eb
D
C#

3rd

C9
2 1 3 4 x

C9

D F# C E A
R 3 b7 9 5

2 1 3 3 3

5th

E9
2 1 3 3 3

V
C E Bb D
R 3 b7 9

Here we
gain back
the 5th !

C E Bb D G
R 3 b7 9 5
E G# D F# B
R 3 b7 9 5

Next

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Part III
How Do You Use These
Weird Chords?

Next
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Triads Harmonize the Scale


Choose triad type so that each chord uses only scale tones
I:G

ii:Am

iii:Bm

IV:C

V:D

vi:Em

vii:F#o
C

B
Bb
A
G#
G

F#

F#

A
G#
G

F#

F#

F#

F#

E
Eb

E
Eb

D
C#
C
B
Bb
A
G#
G

5th
3rd

D
C#
C
B
Bb
A
G#
G

5th

b3rd

5th

5th

E
Eb

E
Eb

E
Eb

D
C#
C

D
C#
C

D
C#
C

D
C#
C

B
Bb

B
Bb

B
Bb

B
Bb

B
Bb

A
G#
G

A
G#
G

A
G#
G

A
G#
G

A
G#
G

D
C#
C

b3rd

3rd

b5th

b3rd

F#
F

E
Eb

3rd

b3rd

Bb
A
G#
G

E
Eb

5th

5th

Next
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Typical Places to Use Jazz Chords


Recall: Number System for Chords (Example - Key of G)
I ii iii IV V vi vii
G Am Bm C
D Em F#o
Jazzy Replacements
I

Maj7, Maj6 ( in blues the I is played as Dom7)

IV

Maj7, Maj6, ( in blues the IV is played as Dom7)

Dom7

ii, iii, vi

min7

To see why see next two slides


Numbered Chords with Replacements:
I
ii
iii
IV
V
GM7 Am7 Bm7 CM7 D7

vi
Em7

vii
F#o7

Next
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Pick Extensions to Stay in Scale


Why I is either Maj7 or Maj6:
I:Gmaj7

I:Gmaj6

Why IV is either Maj7 or Maj6:


IV:Cmaj7

IV:Cmaj6

Maj 7th
B
Bb
A
G#
G
F#

Maj 7th

F#

F#

E
Eb

E
Eb

D
C#
C
B
Bb
A
G#
G

5th
3rd

D
C#
C
B
Bb
A
G#
G

Maj 6th
5th
3rd

B
Bb
A
G#

5th

F
E
Eb

G
F#

Maj 6th
5th

3rd

E
Eb

C#
C

C#
C

B
Bb
A
G#
G

B
Bb
A
G#
G

3rd

Next
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Pick Extensions to Stay in Scale


Why the V chord is Dom7:

Why ii, iii & iv chords are min7:


ii:Am

V:D

iii:Bm

vi:Em
Eb
D

C#

b7th

C#

B
Bb
A
G#

5th

G#

b7th

Bb
A
G#
G

F#

F#

F#

b7th

3rd

E
Eb
D

E
Eb
D

C#
C

C#
C

C#
C

B
Bb
A
G#
G

B
Bb
A
G#
G

5th

b3rd

b7th

F#

5th

E
Eb

B
Bb
A
G#
G

B
Bb
A
G#
G

5th

b3rd

F
E
Eb

b3rd

D
C#
C
B
Bb
A
G#
G

Next
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Golden Slippers in G: Standard Progression


Lets use our replacement rules (and a couple other
jazz ideas) to spice up the chords for this tune.
I
V
I
A Part: | G / / / | / / / / | / / / / | D / / / | / / / / | / / / / | G / / / |
I
IV
V
I
B Part: | G / / / | / / / / | C / / / | / / / / | D / / / | / / / / | G / / / | / / / / |
IV
V
I
I
|G///|////|C///|////|D///|////|////|G///|

A good place to start is with the V chords


Next
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First Step: Change V to dom7


Jazzy Replacements
I

Maj7, Maj6 ( in blues the I is played as Dom7)

IV

Maj7, Maj6, ( in blues the IV is played as Dom7)

Dom7

ii, iii, vi

min7

This first step doesnt make things too jazzy

Next
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Some Jazz Dom7 Chord Forms for the V in G


D7

D7

D7

3 2 4 1 x

1 3 1 4 1

2 4 3

This one isnt quite


as jazzer-approved
as the other two

X
III
D F# C D
R 3 b7 R

D
R

C F# A
b7 3 5

D A C F# A
R 5 b7 3 5

A simpler form to use for now but it


just doesnt have that nice jazz texture:
D7
0 0 2 1 3

A D A C F#
5 R 5 b7 3

Next
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Golden Slippers in G: w/ Dom 7th on V


Could use this, for now

D7

D7
3

I
V
I
A Part: | G / / / | / / / / | / / / / | D7 / / / | / / / / | / / / / | G / / / |
Could use this, for now
D7

D7

I
IV
V
I
B Part: | G / / / | / / / / | C / / / | / / / / | D7 / / / | / / / / | G / / / | / / / / |
IV
V
I
I
| G / / / | / / / / | C / / / | / / / / | D7 / / / | / / / / | / / / / | G / / / |
Next

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Second Step: Change I to Maj6


Jazzy Replacements
I

Maj7, Maj6 ( in blues the I is played as Dom7)

IV

Maj7, Maj6, ( in blues the IV is played as Dom7)

Dom7

ii, iii, vi

min7

Changing the I chord to Maj7 makes things


very loungy-jazzy not so good for
fiddle tunes.
Changing the I chord to Maj6 makes things
more western-swingy-jazzy

Next
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Some Jazz Maj6 Chord Forms for the I in G


G6

G6

1 3 x 2 1 1

III

1 4 3

G
R

E BD
6 3 5

III

GD
R 5

B EG
3 6R

Leave out the


gray circles
they are there
only to show
where this
came from!

A simpler form to use for now but it


just doesnt have that nice jazz texture:
G6
3 2 0 0 0 0

GB DGBE
R 3 5 R 36

Next
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Golden Slippers in G: w/ Maj 6th on I


3

G6

G6

1 3 x 2 41

3 2 0 0 00

Could use this, for now


D7

Could use this, for now

I
V
I
A Part: | G6 / / / | / / / / | / / / / | D7 / / / | / / / / | / / / / | G6 / / / |

I
IV
V
I
B Part: | G6 / / / | / / / / | C / / / | / / / / | D7 / / / | / / / / | G6 / / / | / / / / |
IV
V
I
I
| G6 / / / | / / / / | C / / / | / / / / | D7 / / / | / / / / | / / / / | G6 / / / |
Next

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3rd Step: Change IV to Maj6 with a twist


Jazzy Replacements
I

Maj7, Maj6 ( in blues the I is played as Dom7)

IV

Maj7, Maj6, ( in blues the IV is played as Dom7)

Dom7

ii, iii, vi

min7

Changing the IV chord to Maj6 gives: C6 = C E G A


But imagine re-arranging these same notes:

AECG

Hey that is an Am7 which is the iim7 of G!!!

Can substitute iim7 for IVmaj6!!!

Next
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Some Jazz min7 Chord Forms for the ii in G


Am7

Am7

2 x 3 3 3 3

x 0 3 3 3 3

V
A
R

G C EA
5R

b7 b3

A G C EA
R b7 b3 5 R

A simpler form to use for now but it


just doesnt have that nice jazz texture:
Am7
x 0 2 0 1 0

A E G CE
R 5 b7 b3 5

Next
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Golden Slippers in G: w/ ii min7th sub for IV


G6
3 2 0 0 00

for now

I
V
I
A Part: | G6 / / / | / / / / | / / / / | D7 / / / | / / / / | / / / / | G6 / / / |
G6

for now

for now

3 2 0 0 00

Am7

Am7

2 x 3 3 33

x 0 2 0 10

D7

for now

I
ii7
V
I
B Part: | G6 / / / | / / / / |Am7 / / / | / / / / | D7 / / / | / / / / | G6 / / / | / / / / |
V
I
ii7
I
| G6 / / / | / / / / |Am7 / / / | / / / / | D7 / / / | / / / / | / / / / | G6 / / / |
Next

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4th Step: Insert Passing Chords


For now lets forget that we substituted iim7 for IV6
Notice how in the B part we have IV = C going up to V = D:
I
IV
V
I
B Part: | G6 / / / | / / / / | C / / / | / / / / | D7 / / / | / / / / | G6 / / / | / / / / |
IV
V
I
I
| G6 / / / | / / / / | C / / / | / / / / | D7 / / / | / / / / | / / / / | G6 / / / |
A cool thing would be to go chromatically up through C#!!
But what chord type??!!
Next
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Dim7 Chord Forms


So lets take a C7 chord and move the root up to a C# but leave
everything else the same that gives us a passing chord that
provides some chromatic motion:
C7

C#o7

1 3 1 4 1

1 3 1 4 1

III

III

C G Bb E G
R 5 b7 3 5

C7

C# G Bb E
R b5 bb7 b3

Everything but the


root from a C7
chord plus the C#

C#o7

3 2 4 1 x

3 2 4 1 x

Bb

Bb

Cool Things about Dim7 Chords


1. Root can be taken as
ANY note in the chord.
2.

CE C
R 3 b7 R

C# G

E
b3 bb7 R b3

Shift it three frets and you get the


same chord again!!!
Next

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Golden Slippers in G: w/ dim7 passing chords


Example #1
I
V
I
A Part: | G / / / | / / / / | / / / / | D7 / / / | / / / / | / / / / | G / / / |
C# 7

C# 7

Could use this, for now

I
IV
IV#7
I
B Part: | G / / / | / / / / | C / / / | / / C#7 / | D7 / / / | / / / / | G / / / | / / / / |

IV#7 V
IV
I
I
| G / / / | / / / / | C / / / | / / C#7 / | D7 / / / | / / / / | / / / / | G / / / |
Next

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4th Step Revisited: Insert Passing Chords


But we substituted iim7 for IV6 So our B part looks like this:
V
I
I
ii7
B Part: | G6 / / / | / / / / |Am7 / / / | / / / / | D7 / / / | / / / / | G6 / / / | / / / / |
ii7
V
I
I
| G6 / / / | / / / / |Am7 / / / | / / / / | D7 / / / | / / / / | / / / / | G6 / / / |
A cool thing would be to go chromatically up through G#!!
But what chord type??!!
G7
1

G#o7

2 4 3

III

1 3 1

G7

G#o7

0 0 0 2

0 1 0 2

D GBF
5 R 3 b7

Next

III

G
R

F BD
3 5

b7

38/44

Golden Slippers in G: w/ dim7 passing chords


G6
3 2 0 0 00

D7

for now

Example #2

for now

I
V
I
A Part: | G6 / / / | / / / / | / / / / | D7 / / / | / / / / | / / / / | G6 / / / |
for now
Am7

for now

G6
3 2 0 0 00

G#7
x x 0 1 02

I#7

x 0 2 0 10

for now
D7

for now

ii7

V
I
B Part:| G6 / / / | / / G#7 / |Am7 / / / | / / / / | D7 / / / | / / / / | G6 / / / | / / / / |
ii7

V
I
|G6 / / / | / / G#7 / |Am7 / / / | / / / / | D7 / / / | / / / / | / / / / | G6 / / / |
I

I#7

Next

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5th Step: Further Jazzify the Chords


Our first step didnt make things too jazzy
We made the V chords dom7
Jazzy Replacements
I

Maj7, Maj6 ( in blues the I is played as Dom7)

IV

Maj7, Maj6, ( in blues the IV is played as Dom7)

Dom7

ii, iii, vi

min7

Now to make things even jazzier


use jazzy extensions: add in the 9
(& maybe 11, 13)

Next
40/44

A Jazz Dom9 Chord Forms for V in G


D9
2 1 3 3 3

IV

D F# C E A
R 3 b7 9 5

A simpler form to use for now but it


just doesnt have that jazz texture:
D7
0 0 2 1 0

ADAC E
5 R 5 b7 9

Next
41/44

Golden Slippers in G: w/ Dom 9th on V


G6
3 2 0 0 00

for now

D9

D9

for now

I
V
I
A Part: | G6 / / / | / / / / | / / / / | D9 / / / | / / / / | / / / / | G6 / / / |
G6
3 2 0 0 00

D9

for now

D9

for now

I
IV
V
I
B Part: | G6 / / / | / / / / | C / / / | / / / / | D9 / / / | / / / / | G6 / / / | / / / / |
IV
V
I
I
| G6 / / / | / / / / | C / / / | / / / / | D9 / / / | / / / / | / / / / | G6 / / / |
Next

42/44

Golden Slippers: Complete


G6

For Now Forms

D9

G6

3 2 0 0 00

3 2 0 0 00

I
V
I
A Part: | G6 / / / | / / / / | / / / / | D9 / / / | / / / / | / / / / | G6 / / / |
The ii V I progression shows up all over in Jazz!!!
G6
3 2 0 0 00

G#7

Am7

x x 0 1 02

x 0 2 0 10

I#7

D9

G6
3 2 0 0 00

ii7

V
I
B Part:| G6 / / / | / / G#7 / |Am7 / / / | / / / / | D9 / / / | / / / / | G6 / / / | / / / / |
ii7

V
I
|G6 / / / | / / G#7 / |Am7 / / / | / / / / | D9 / / / | / / / / | / / / / | G6 / / / |
I

I#7

Next

43/44

Golden Slippers: Complete To Work On Forms


G6

D9

G6

3
5

I
V
I
A Part: | G6 / / / | / / / / | / / / / | D9 / / / | / / / / | / / / / | G6 / / / |
The ii V I progression shows up all over in Jazz!!!
G6
3

G#7

Am7

3
5

G6

D9

I#7

ii7

V
I
B Part:| G6 / / / | / / G#7 / |Am7 / / / | / / / / | D9 / / / | / / / / | G6 / / / | / / / / |
ii7

V
I
|G6 / / / | / / G#7 / |Am7 / / / | / / / / | D9 / / / | / / / / | / / / / | G6 / / / |
I

I#7

STOP 44/44