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Chord Tone Essentials Module 1 Workbook

Contents
Module 1 ....................................................................................................... 2
Lesson 1-1: Interval Basics ................................................................................. 3
Lesson 1-2: Minor Intervals ................................................................................ 5
Lesson 1-3: Augmented & Diminished Intervals................................................. 6
Lesson 1-4: Alternate Fingerings ........................................................................ 7
Lesson 1-5: Triads .............................................................................................. 9
Lesson 1-6: Triad Isolated Track Practice ......................................................... 11
Lesson 1-7: Triad Progression Practice ............................................................. 12
Lesson 1-8: Seventh Chords ............................................................................. 14
Lesson 1-9: Seventh Chord Isolated Track Practice .......................................... 17
Lesson 1-10: The Essentials .............................................................................. 17
Lesson 1-11: Seventh Chord Practice ............................................................... 18
Lesson 1-12: Extensions ................................................................................... 19
Lesson 1-13: Altered Extensions ...................................................................... 24
Lesson 1-14: Added Note Chords ..................................................................... 26
Lesson 1-15: Suspended Chords....................................................................... 27
Lesson 1-16: Inversions .................................................................................... 28
Lesson 1-17: Slash Chords ................................................................................ 30
Lesson 1-18: Alternative Notation ................................................................... 31

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Chord Tone Essentials Module 1 Workbook

Chord Tone Essentials Workbook


Module 1

Welcome to the Chord Tones Essentials course. This book will provide you with
all everything you need to know about chord construction, how we see chord
tones over the entire fingerboard and how we can apply them in our bass lines.
In this first introductory module you will learn the basic principles behind
chord construction. We look at intervals, tertian harmony, triads, seventh
chords, extensions, altered extensions, added note chords, suspensions and
inversions. This should arm you with all the tools necessary to understand any
chord you might encounter.

About The Author


Mark J Smith is a professional bass player from the UK and creator of
www.talkingBass.net. During the past 25 years Mark has worked all over the UK
and the World as a sideman and bandleader, performing every style of music
from pop to rock to jazz to classical in ensembles ranging from trio to orchestra.
As a reading sideman, Mark has worked with hundreds of acts such as Jimmy
James, Susan Maughn, Peter Grant, Bucks Fizz, Ruthie Henshall, Zoe Tyler,
Gerard Kenny, Iris Williams, Elaine Delmar, Barbara Dickson and many, many
more.
Mark has a First Class BA(hons) Degree in Music from Leeds College of Music
and many years of experience teaching in music colleges and universities around
the UK.

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Chord Tone Essentials Module 1 Workbook

Lesson 1-1: Interval Basics

The most common set of intervals are based on a major scale:

We can then number the notes of the scale:

Intervals also contain a quality. The intervals of the major scale contain the
following qualities:

Remember: 1st, 4th and 5th are all Perfect Intervals. All the rest are Major.

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Chord Tone Essentials Module 1 Workbook

Try to see these intervals in every riff and line you play. Here’s an analysis of a
popular rock n roll bass line:

Learn all the intervals in isolation:

Try playing each interval up the fingerboard, one fret at a time as practice in
seeing the intervals in isolation.

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Chord Tone Essentials Module 1 Workbook

Lesson 1-2: Minor Intervals

To create a Minor Interval we simply take a Major Interval and drop the top
note by a half step.
Here we see a Major 3rd from C is E and a Minor 3rd from C is Eb:

We can apply this principle to every Major interval and create Minor 2nd, Minor
3rd, Minor 6th and Minor 7th intervals:

Minor Intervals tend to sound darker or ‘sadder’. By listening out for the
Emotive Quality of each interval we can develop our musicianship, ear and
musical vocabulary.
Try experimenting with each interval and creating your own riffs and lines. Try
writing a sad sounding melody by using these intervals. Also try to recognise
every intervals in every line that you learn.

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Chord Tone Essentials Module 1 Workbook

Lesson 1-3: Augmented & Diminished Intervals

We generally create Augmented and Diminished intervals by raising or


lowering the Perfect Intervals by a half step.
• An Augmented Interval is created by raising the top note of a Perfect
interval by a half step
• A Diminished Interval is created by lowering the top note of a Perfect
interval by a half step
Here we can see these intervals applied to the 5th:

Here we can see these intervals applied to the 4th:

With a lot of augmented and diminished intervals we can find ourselves using
the same pitch but with a different note name. For example, the Diminished
4th from C is Fb. This could also be written as C to E. However, if we look at the
notes alphabetically, D is the 2nd note from C, E is the 3rd note from C, F is the
4th note from C etc. Therefore, C to E is always a 3rd of some kind. C to F is
always a 4th of some kind, regardless of the sharps or flats involved.
For this reason, C to Fb is a Diminished 4th and C to E is a Major 3rd. They are
the same pitch and fret on the bass but the interval name is different because
of their alphabetic placement. This principle of ‘same pitch – different note
name’ is called Enharmonic Equivalency.

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Chord Tone Essentials Module 1 Workbook

Lesson 1-4: Alternate Fingerings

There are many different places we can play any one note on a bass guitar. For
example we can play the same G note in these four places on the fingerboard:

So, this means we can play any interval in one of several ways. Here we have
two fingerings for a Major 3rd interval on C. The first is over 2 strings, the
second is on the same string:

The Minor 3rd from C would use the same principle of a fingering over two strings
and the same string:

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Here are the alternative nearby fingerings for every interval covered so far:

I’ve avoided the Perfect 4th, Aug and Dim 4th/5th intervals and the Seventh
Intervals because of the wider fretboard distances. These alternative fingerings
are intended as useful nearby shapes that we’ll be using over the coming
lessons.

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Chord Tone Essentials Module 1 Workbook

Lesson 1-5: Triads

A Triad is a chord containing three separate notes. The triads in general


Western music are created using a system of Tertian Harmony.
Tertian harmony is a system of creating chords by stacking 3rd intervals. We’ve
already covered the two 3rd types: Major and Minor. So, here is a basic
stacking of a Major 3rd and a Minor 3rd:

This formula of Major 3rd + Minor 3rd gives us a Major Triad. Here is the C
Major Triad played up and down:

We can also stack with the formula of Minor 3rd + Major 3rd. This gives us the
Minor Triad. Here we have a C Minor Triad played up and down:

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Chord Tone Essentials Module 1 Workbook

If we stack the Major 3rd + Major 3rd we create an Augmented Triad. Here we
have a C Augmented Triad played up and down:

If we stack the Minor 3rd + Minor 3rd we create a Diminished Triad. He we have
a C Diminished Triad played up and down:

This gives us a total of four different triads using the following 3rd
combinations:
• Major 3rd + Minor 3rd = Major Triad
• Minor 3rd + Major 3rd = Minor Triad
• Major 3rd + Major 3rd = Augmented Triad
• Minor 3rd + Minor 3rd = Diminished Triad

Even though it’s important to know we built the triads from thirds, it can be
more useful to learn the triads using intervals from the root note. This gives us
the following combinations:
• Major Triad: Root Note, Major 3rd, Perfect 5th
• Minor Triad: Root Note, Minor 3rd, Perfect 5th
• Augmented Triad: Root Note, Major 3rd, Augmented 5th
• Diminished Triad: Root Note, Minor 3rd, Diminished 5th

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Chord Tone Essentials Module 1 Workbook

As practice we can try playing through each triad in turn as follows:

Lesson 1-6: Triad Isolated Track Practice

Try playing the Triad arpeggios over the supplied practice tracks. Each track
plays a basic sustained chord.

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Chord Tone Essentials Module 1 Workbook

Lesson 1-7: Triad Progression Practice

Try playing through the supplied chord progressions using the appropriate
triads. This is good practice in seeing how we apply arpeggios in a musical
setting:
Track #1:

Track #1 Variation:

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Chord Tone Essentials Module 1 Workbook

Track #2:

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Chord Tone Essentials Module 1 Workbook

Lesson 1-8: Seventh Chords

We can stack another third onto the Triads to create a Seventh Chord. Here we
have the common seventh chords using Tertian harmony:

The chord construction rules for each of these chords are as follows:
• Major 7: Major 3rd Minor 3rd Major 3rd
• Dominant 7: Major 3rd Minor 3rd Minor 3rd
• Minor (Major 7): Minor 3rd Major 3rd Major 3rd
• Minor 7: Minor 3rd Major 3rd Minor 3rd
• Major 7#5: Major 3rd Major 3rd Minor 3rd
• Minor7b5: Minor 3rd Minor 3rd Major 3rd
• Diminished 7: Minor 3rd Minor 3rd Minor 3rd
Note: We only have one chord built from the Augmented Triad: Major 7#5. If
we build a major 3rd from the augmented 5th we find the octave so that chord
is still a basic Augmented Triad. So we can only use the minor 3rd built from the
augmented 5th. This gives us that Major 7#5.

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If we look at each chord in terms of intervals from the root note we find the
following:
• Major 7: Root Maj 3rd Perf 5th Maj 7th
• Dominant 7: Root Maj 3rd Perfect 5th Min 7th
• Minor (Major 7): Root Min 3rd Perfect 5th Maj 7th
• Minor 7: Root Min 3rd Perfect 5th Min 7th
• Major 7#5: Root Maj 3rd Aug 5th Maj 7th
• Minor7b5: Root Min 3rd Dim 5th Min 7th
• Diminished 7: Root Min 3rd Dim 5th Dim 7th
This is a much easier way of memorizing the chords.

We also have some less common seventh chords built from non-tertian
harmony:

The intervals within these chords are as follows:


• Dominant 7#5 Root Maj 3rd Aug 5th Min 7th
• Dominant 7b5: Root Maj 3rd Dim 5th Min 7th
• Dim (Major 7): Root Min 3rd Dim5th Maj 7th

The Dominant 7#5 (also called the Augmented 7 chord) is the most common of
these 3 non-tertian seventh chords so we’ll include it in our practice list.

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Chord Tone Essentials Module 1 Workbook

We can practice through these chords by just playing through them in the order:
• Major 7
• Dominant 7
• Minor 7
• Minor (Major 7)
• Major 7#5
• Dominant 7#5
• Minor 7b5
• Diminished 7
This gives us the following exercise:

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Chord Tone Essentials Module 1 Workbook

Lesson 1-9: Seventh Chord Isolated Track Practice

Play through each of the supplied backing tracks, playing each appropriate
arpeggio up and down.

Lesson 1-10: The Essentials

Working all 8 seventh chords through all of the upcoming extensions can
become a little overbearing. Instead, it’s much easier to simply deal with the 4
most common seventh chords: Major 7, Dominant 7, Minor 7 and Minor 7b5.
We can try playing our previous seventh chord exercise through these essential
4 seventh chords as follows:

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Lesson 1-11: Seventh Chord Practice

We can now play through the supplied chord progression backing tracks with
our seventh arpeggios. We’ll include the octave for each arpeggio just to fit
with the time signature:
Track #1:

Track #2:

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Lesson 1-12: Extensions

When we stack thirds beyond the seventh, we introduce Extensions.


The extensions beyond the 7th are the 9th, the 11th and the 13th .We can see
these in the following sequence of notes starting from C:

We can work through each of the extensions of the C Major 7 chord in order:
CMaj9:

CMaj11:

CMaj13:

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Chord Symbols
When we add the extensions to a chord we simply exchange the 7 in the chord
symbol for the extension.
So for a C7 chord we would have:
• C9
• C11
• C13.
For a Cm7 chord we would have@
• Cm9
• Cm11
• Cm13
The same principle applies to chords with an altered fifth. So, for a Cm7b5 we
would have:
• Cm9b5
• Cm11b5
• Cm13b5
For a Cmaj7#5 we would have:
• Cmaj9#5
• Cmaj11#5
• Cmaj13#5

Compound Intervals
It’s also important to understand that the 9th, 11th and 13th are the same as the
2nd, 4th and the 6th. They are only labelled as compound intervals above the 8th
because we’re extending the chord beyond the 7th.
• 9th = 2nd
• 11th = 4th
• 13th = 6th

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Natural Extensions
The extensions of any seventh chord are major and perfect intervals by
default. So the 9th is always a major 9th, the 11th is always a perfect 11th and
the 13th is always a major 13th unless otherwise stated with altered extensions
(see next lesson).

Extended Arpeggios
Here are the arpeggios for each extension of the C Major 7, dominant 7 and
minor 7 chords:
CMaj7 Extensions

C7 Extensions:

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Cm7 Extensions:

Extensions Within One Octave


We don’t have to play the extensions of a chord in the upper octave. We can
play the 2nd, 4th or 6th in place of the 9th , 11th or 13th . This means our arpeggio
shapes can be played all within a single octave.
Cmaj7 Extensions:

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C7 Extensions:

Cm7 Extensions:

Removing Extensions
Chords can be voiced in many different ways and it’s important to understand
that we can remove any unnecessary extensions. The only essential extensions
are those stated in the chord symbol. For example, a C13 chord could be
played as a C7 with an added 13th. We don’t have to include the 9th and 11th
even though they are a part of the original chord construction principles we
covered earlier in the lesson.

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Lesson 1-13: Altered Extensions


Extensions to a seventh chord are the major 9th, perfect 11th and major 13th by
default. If we want to use any other extensions we can specify them using flats
or sharps.
The common altered extensions are the b9, #9, #11 and b13. We simply add
them to the seventh chord in the same way as the natural extensions.
So for a C7b9 we would play a C7 and then add a Db. For a C7#9 we would play
a C7 and add a D#. For a C7#11 we would play a C7 and add an F#. For a C7b13
we would play a C7 and add an Ab.
The b5 and #5 are not altered extensions because they are a part of the
original triad. Only the 9th, 11th and 13th are classed as extensions.
Here we have the set of altered arpeggios from the video lesson:
C7b9

Cmaj7#11

Cm7b13

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Chord Tone Essentials Module 1 Workbook

Cm7b5b9

Cmaj9#11

C7b9b13

C7#5b9#9#11

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Chord Tone Essentials Module 1 Workbook

Lesson 1-14: Added Note Chords

The extended chords we’ve looked at so far require a 7th to be present in the
chord. When we add a note to a chord without a 7th we have an Added Note
Chord.
The most common added note chords are those with the added 9th and 6th.
The 9th could also be labelled as a 2nd but it is common to refer to it as a 9th.
So, this gives us the six chord, the add9 and the 6/9 chords.
• Six Chord: Major triad with an added Major 6th
• Add9 Chord: Major triad with an added Major 2nd (major 9th)
• 6/9 Chord: Major triad with an added Major 6th and Major 2nd
We can also add these notes to the Minor triad:
• Minor 6 Chord: Minor triad with an added Major 6th
• Minor Add 9 Chord: Minor triad with an added Major 2nd
• Minor 6/9 Chord: Minor triad with an added Major 2nd and Major 6th
Just as with the extended seventh chords, the major 2nd and major 6th intervals
are used by default.
Here are the lesson examples of each Added Note Chord from a root note of C:

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Chord Tone Essentials Module 1 Workbook

Lesson 1-15: Suspended Chords

Suspended chords are used to create tension by shifting the major 3rd of a
chord and moving it up to the perfect 4th. As the name suggests this gives us
the feeling of suspension.The basic suspended chord is called the sus4. This is
constructed as follows:
• Sus4: Root Note, Perfect 4th, Perfect 5th
Csus4

We can also suspend the seventh chords:


• 7sus4: Root Note, Perfect 4th, Perfect 5th, Minor 7th
• Major7sus4: Root Note, Perfect 4th, Perfect 5th, Major 7th

We can also create a suspended 2nd chord by shifting the 3rd of a chord down
to the Major 2nd.
• Sus2: Root Note, Major 2nd, Perfect 5th
C sus2

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Chord Tone Essentials Module 1 Workbook

Lesson 1-16: Inversions

Inversions are simply chords played starting from a note other than the root
note. If we look at a C major triad we could play it in 3 different ways. Root
position is the most common way of starting on the root note. For 1st
Inversion we start on the 3rd of the chord. For 2nd Inversion we start on the 5th
of the chord.
A C major triad inversion would be as follows:
• Root Position: CEG
• 1st Inversion: EGC
• 2nd Inversion: GCE

These inversions are more useful when played in different positions on the
neck:

The Minor Triad inversions would be as follows:

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When we invert seventh chords we also have a 3rd inversion chord built from
the 7th:

The most important aspect of inversions is understanding how the lowest note
decides the inversion. When applied to a band, the bass guitar can change the
inversion of a chord by simply playing a different chord tone, regardless of the
voicing of the chord used by the other instruments.
Therefore if the chord played by the band is C major and the bass plays an E
then the chord has changed to 1st inversion.

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Lesson 1-17: Slash Chords

Slash chords are chords where the bass note is different to the root note and a
slash is used in the chord symbol to show this.
Slash chords have two parts divided by a slash symbol: /. The first or top note
is the chord, the second or lower note is the bass note.
• C/E would indicate a C major chord with an E in the bass. As a bass
player we would play the E. This would indicate a 1st inversion C major
chord.
• Cmaj7/G would indicate a Cmajor7 chord with a G in the bass. In a band
, the bass player would play the G.
It’s important to note that even though, as bass players, we emphasise the
bass note written in the slash chord, if we want to play any other notes then
we have to use the chord tones related to the chord.
For example, if we see a C/E chord in a band situation, we would play the E on
the first beat of the bar but if we want to play any other notes, we have to use
the notes of the C major chord.

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Lesson 1-18: Alternative Notation

There are several common ways to write any one chord.


• Major is often abbreviated to maj, or M
• Minor is often abbreviated to min or m

We also have shape notation in a lot of jazz writing:


• Major is written as a triangle eg. C▵
• Minor is written as a minus sign eg. C-
• Augmented is written as a plus sign eg. C+
• Diminished is written as a small circle eg. Co

These shapes can be combined with any numbers to create seventh chord:
CMaj7 can be written as C▵7, Cm7 can be written as C-7 etc.

There is also another shape used for the m7b5 chord (also called the half
diminished chord). This is the circle with a dash.

• Cm7b5 would be written as Cø

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