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1. THE MUSICAL SCALE

Half Step

A

A#

B

Whole Step

C

C#

Bb

D

D#

Db

E

Eb

F

F#

G

Gb

G#

Ab

# : Sharp of a note, means a tonal step higher b : Flat of a note, means a tonal step lower Important Facts!!!

- All musical notes has a # note with the exception of ‘B’ and ‘E’ (see above) - A# is also known Bb, C# = Db etc

2. MAJOR SCALE NOTATION (THE NUMBER SYSTEM)

1

2 W

3 W

4 H

5 W

6 W

7 W

8 H

W : Whole step i.e. 2 x half notes H : Half step i.e. 1 x half note For eg. the key of G 1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

G

A

B

C

D

E

F#

G

Note: 1 & 8 are of the same note, just an octave higher 1


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2.1 Exercise: Using the ‘WWHWWWH’ Formula given above, derive the notes of the Major scale in the following keys: a) Key of A

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

b) Key of D

1

c) Key of F

1

d) Key of B

1

e) Key of E

1

f) Key of Bb

1

2


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3. MAJOR CHORD THEORY A Major Chord is basically made up of these 3 essential notes:

1

3

5

4. MINOR CHORD THEORY A Minor Chord is basically made up of these 3 essential notes:

1

b3

5

Tip: Minor chord’s representation is ‘m’. For eg, Gm.

4.1 Exercise: A series of chords will be played where student(s) will try to identify a Major / Minor chord by listening Purpose is for understanding the difference in the sound a Major / Minor chord makes

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5. THEORY FOR STEP UP/DOWN PROGRESSION The progression introduced here is a typical progression commonly found in most contemporary songs these days… STEP UP PROGRESSION - Chords

1

2m

5/7

8

1/3

4

5

6m

Note: -

Step down progression is essentially the opposite

-

Chords that has a ‘/’ notation simply means that you play a chord with an alternative bass note, for example: G / B means you play a G chord but use a B bass note

-

Chords with such representation are known as Special Chords

Example of a Step Up progression in the Key of C: C Am

Dm G/B

C/E C

F

4

G


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5.1 Exercise: Write down the chords for the step up progression in the following keys: 1. Key of D

1. Key of A

1. Key of E

1. Key of G

5


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6. BAR CHORD THEORY Basically, there are 2 common shapes for Bar Chords used: Shape A : Root note reference on 6th string Shape B: Root note reference on 5th string Both Major and Minor has 2 shapes for Bar Chord, basically by moving the shape up/down the fret board, will result in different chord pressed.

6.1 Major chord Shape A:

Shape B:

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6.2 Minor chord Shape A:

Shape B:

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7. POWER CHORD THEORY A Power Chord is basically made up of these 3 essential notes:

1

5

8(1)

Power chords are essentially used for distorted rock electric playing. There are no differentiation for Major or Minor sounds for such chords. Reason: It’s the 3rd note that makes it major or minor sounding, and power chord does not involve a 3rd note. Tip: Power chord is NOT to be used as an alternative (easy way out) to playing normal chord. It should be used intentionally but is very limited, as it does not sound as full compared to a normal chord.

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8. SEVENTH CHORDS Any chord that has 4 or more notes are known as Seventh Chords. Seventh Chords add colour to the original Major or Minor Chord. Different kinds of Seventh Chords applies to different scenario of music…

8.1 Major Seventh Chord is made of these 4 essential notes:

1

3

5

7

Note: It’s a simple addition to the Major chord, but creates a total different feel to the sound, making it more jazzy and sweet. Tip: Chords like these are represented with ‘Maj7’. For eg, GMaj7.

8.2 Dominant Seventh Chord is made of these 4 essential notes:

1

3

5

b7

Note: Noticed that the only difference with this to the previous is that the 7th note is played a note flat (half step). However, it gives a totally different sound to Major Seventh Chord and has a different application altogether. Typically, it’s used to bridge between a 1st chord to the 4th chord. For eg, play a C > C7 > F, try playing and listen to how they link. Tip: For all chords which has a ‘7’ to its name, it always mean a dominant 7 i.e. flat-ed 7th note. Otherwise it would be called a maj7 chord. Dominant Seventh Chords are simply represented by a ‘7’. For eg, A7. 9


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8.3 Minor Seventh Chord is made of these 4 essential notes:

1

b3

5

b7

Note: Basically, it’s an addition of a flat 7th note to the minor chord notes. It is typically used to soften the sound of a straight minor chord. Try playing straight minor chord and a minor 7 chord, and hear the difference. Tip: Minor7 chord is represented as ‘m7’. For eg, Bm7.

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9. SUSPENDED CHORDS Basically there are 2 typical of Suspended chords, namely known as ‘sus2’ and ‘sus4’ A sus2 chord basically replaces the 3rd note with a 2nd note as shown:

1

2

5

A sus4 chord basically replaces the 3rd note with a 4th note as shown:

1

4

5

Tip: Suspended chords are used to give a certain part of a song to sound as if it’s ‘hanging’ somewhere (thus the word ‘suspended’), where after playing a suspended chord, you ‘un-suspend’ the chord i.e. the 4th note (which makes it suspended). So when to use a suspended chord? It is typically used for these 2 scenarios; a) Before ending a chorus or verse of a song using a 5th chord in the progression for an extended time, you can play a suspended chord to color the sound. For eg, In key of C: play this progression, C > Am > F > Gsus4 > G b) To end the song, before going back to the 1st chord, play a suspended chord and then resolving it back to 1st chord. For eg, in key of C: play this progression, Am > G/B > Csus4 > C 11


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10. ENHANCING THE STEP/UP PROGRESSION Having understood the various new chords, they can be applied into the already familiar step up/down progression.

Chord 1

Alternate chords that can be played 1maj7

1sus

2m 1/3

2m7 3m

3m7

4 5

4 maj7 5-7

5sus

6m

6m7

5/7

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11. Basic Guitar Scales Now that you are already familiar with basic chords and the typical progression found in most contemporary music, here are some common scales that can be played over these chords.

11.1 Playing the Major Scale

11.2 Playing the Minor Scale

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11.3 Playing the Pentatonic Scale As the word ‘Pentatonic’ denotes, this scale only consists of 5 notes in an octave. Basically, there are 2 types of Pentatonic Scale; Major Pentatonic and Minor Pentatonic. This scale is very commonly used in contemporary songs as they are very versatile and can be played over a chord progression.

Major Pentatonic Scale:

Minor Pentatonic Scale:

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12. Playing Solo There are no fixed ways to playing a guitar solo. How a solo is derived depends on the guitarist’s creativity and sense of hearing. That is why playing solo is not easy, yet incredibly fun at the same time. However, a good tip on doing a solo is to understand the term, which is called ‘Relative Chords’. Tonally, the 1st and the 6th (Minor) chord has much in common, thus the 6th Minor chord is call the relative minor of the 1st chord: For eg, Em is the relative minor of G, F#m is the relative minor of A, Bm is the relative minor of D, and so forth… Similarly, the 1st chord is known as the relative major of its 6th Minor chord: For eg, G is the relative major of Em, A is the relative major of F#m, D is the relative major of Bm, and so forth… If you notice, it’s exactly the opposite of the way a relative minor chord is related to its 1st chord.

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12.1 Putting Relative Chords into practice Exercise: Ask a friend to play a major chord continuously over a fixed groove. For eg: While he/she is playing a G chord, rotate playing a G Major scale and E Minor scale. Once familiar with interchanging between the 2 scales, try playing different sequence within each scale shape. Similarly, repeat the process, but ask your friend to play a Minor chord instead. Repeat this exercise using different keys.

12.2 Playing solo over a chord progression Exercise: Ask a friend to play this progression continuously‌ G>D>C>D At the meantime, play the G Major Pentatonic scale. Try playing different sequence within the scale shape.

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