Tuesday, June 21, 2016

"Breaking Out of the Box" #4 - Alan Robinson

The Power of "Power Chords": Part 4
Alan Robinson


The Power Chord Matrix 


Using the grid below you can select various “power chords” to play the desired chord tones/tensions.


The column on the left side indicates the chord quality and function within the key. The row at the top identifies the power chord (5 chord) from each scale degree/note within the key. The blocks highlighted in red are poor choices and will most likely change the chord function. These combinations should be avoided. The blocks highlighted in grey are available but either contain the root or 5th of the chord. Neither the root or 5th define the quality or add any true color. These can be used but leave a bland sound. The blocks in white, without highlights are possible choices which will add essential chord tones (3rd/7th) and/or tensions (9/11/13) to color the chord.




Using the grid below you can select various “power chords” to play the desired chord tones/tensions.
For an example let’s say we need to play a CMaj7(13) chord. We are in the key of “C” and therefore the chord will function as the I Maj7. (see example below)






Now let’s find the essential chord tones (3rd/7th). (see example)
Follow the column to the top and notice that an E5 will produce the 3rd and 7th of the chord.


Now let’s find the 13th. You could select the block that contains the 13/3 as shown with the red
arrow. (see example) However, we already have the 3rd in the E5 so let’s look for another option.
The other available option is the block with 9/13 as shown by the green arrow. Note that when a
chord symbol has tensions identified like the 13 in the CMaj7(13), you can add any other tension
below it (i.e. 9/11) as long as it is an available tension.
Follow the column to the top and notice that an D5 will produce the 9th and 13th of the chord.




One final thought as we close out this session. You are not limited to using only one power chord through this process. By combining the process and using two or more you can create larger voice forms. These are often substitutes for a variety of chords as well...but that's another lesson.



If you would like a free PDF of this lesson visit my website at www.alanrobinson.me. Simply sign up for the mailing list and request The Power of “Power Chords”: Part 4.



Have fun and create your own exercises because that’s where you start to own the process!
Play on…

Alan

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