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Chapter 12: Filling Out Your Sound with Chords 167
Table 12-2 Chord Recipes
Chord Symbol Chord Type Scale Note Recipe
C Major 1-3-5
Cm Minor 1-1-3-5
C+ Augmented 1-3-»5
Csus2 Suspended second 1-2-5
C(add2), C(add9) Add second (or ninth) 1-2-3-5
Cm(add2), Cm(add9) Minor, add second 1-2-l’3-5
Csus Suspended fourth 1-4-5
Cl’5 Flat fifth 1-3-h5
C6 Sixth 1-3-5-6
Cm6 Minor sixth 1 -^3-5-6
C7 Seventh 1-3-5-h7
Cmaj7 Major seventh 1-3-5-7
Cm7 Minor seventh
Cdim7 Diminished seventh 1-t3_i>5-6
C7sus Seventh, suspended fourth I-4-5T7
Cm(maj7) Minor, major seventh 1-h3-5-7
C7*5 Seventh, sharp fifth 1_3-#5_b7
C71-5 Seventh, flat fifth l-3.b5.b7
Cm7^5 Minor seventh, flat fifth 1_b3-b5-b7
Cmaj?^ Major seventh, flat fifth 1-3-l’5-7
Figure 12-11 shows you exactly how to make a chord from the recipe shown in Table 12-2. I’ve applied the number recipe of l-3-#5-7 to three different root notes — C, F, G — to illustrate how chord building works with different root notes and thus different scale notes. By the way, the resulting chord is called a Cmaj7#5, because you add the seventh interval and sharp (raise one half step) the fifth interval.
Part IV: Living in Perfect Harmony
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A chord’s root is usually the bottom note of the chord, but not always. Thanks to certain civil liberties and inalienable rights, you’re free to rearrange the notes of a chord any way you like without damaging the chord’s type. This rearrangement, or repositioning, of the notes in a chord is called a chord inversion.
How many inversions are possible for a chord? It depends on the number of notes contained in the chord. If you have a three-note chord, you can make three inversions. If you have a four-note chord, you can make four inversions. Simple enough?
Putting inversions to Work
Why would you want to rearrange a perfectly good chord? Play the left-hand chords in Figure 12-12 and notice how much your left hand moves around the keyboard.
It’s in your roots.
Playing the chords in Figure 12-12 at a fast tempo becomes tiring and sloppy-sounding. The solution is to use chord inversions. Play Figure 12-13 and notice how your left hand moves around much, much less. You are playing the same chords, but without moving your left hand up and down the keyboard.
Chapter 12: Filling Out Your Sound with Chords
Making a song easier to play is just one of the various reasons you may choose to use chord inversions. Using inversions may be helpful for any of the following reasons:
» Hand position: Avoid moving your hands up and down the keyboard from one root note to the next.
• Top note: Most of the time, you hear the top note of the chord above the rest of the notes. You may want to bring out the melody by playing chords with melody notes on top.
* Chord boredom: Yep. Root position chords get boring if used too frequently. Add some variety to a song with inversions.
J The composer said so: Enough said.
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The most common chord positions are root position, first inversion, and second inversion Root position is just like it sounds: The root goes on the bottom, as shown in Figure 12-14.
Figure 12-14: C
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For the first inversion, you put the root on top, one octave higher than its original root position. The 3rd interval note is now on bottom. See Figure 12-15 for an example of a first inversion.
170 Part IV: Living in Perfect Harmony
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Second inversion puts the 3rd interval note on top (or one octave higher than its original position), so that the 5th interval note is on the bottom and the root note is now the middle note of the chord. Figure 12-16 shows you some 2nd inversion chords.
Figure 12-16: ^ ^
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Use the exact same process for four-note chords. The difference is that another inversion is possible: the third inversion It’s easy enough to guess what you do: Put the top note, or fourth note, on the bottom, an octave lower than its original position. Figure 12-17 is an illustration of a third inversion, using seventh chords as an example.
Third inversions of seventh chords
Put it on bottom
Experiment with these inversions on various types of chords. That way, when you’re playing from a fake book, you’ll know which inversions of which chords work best for you. (Chapter 19 explains what fake books are.)
Technique Counts for Everything
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