Learn to improvise. 2003-2004. Lesson 19: intermediate chords and second part.
When I learned my first guitar chords I had to help my left hand
with my right to get the fingers in the right place. I put them in
position one by one, which gave beautiful intermediate chords.
Every intermediate chord turned out to be nice, because it
solves naturally to the new chord. Listen how C goes to G7 and F
(g-c-e > g-c-f > g-b-f en g-c-e > g-c-f > a-c-f):
Intermediate chord from C to F.
Intermediate chord from C to G7.
It reminds one of the way Bach connects voices polyphonically. This
may be used for improvisation on the one hand to discover nice chords
and changeovers and on the other hand to derive a second part from
In lesson 13 we have met bass lines in chord schemes. These are a
simple form of a second part. Preferably the second part must go in the
opposite direction of the first part, so if the latter rises the second part
For improvising we can use our knowledge of chords. We may
emphasize one note of the chord with the left hand. This way a melody
is originated from the chords.
Just chords and then emphasized notes of the chords.
If we choose from the successive chord those notes which follow a
certain rule, e.g. rising, then the melody of the second part gets an
understandable structure. We will experience this as better than notes
which seem to appear at random.
Some possible structures in left hand melody.
The next step is to introduce the notes, selected for emphasizing, by
another note or some notes in anticipation, e.g. a forefall. This makes
the second part more complete.
Emphasized notes together with some introducing notes.
Just like the bass lines, mentioned in lesson 13, also here some notes are
more important than others. The emphasized notes have to be correct,
the introducing ones are less critical.
It is clever to prepare a number of these second parts for chord
combinations you often meet. This depends on the style and the initial
key you mostly play. After a while you will have a lot of standard
melody lines you can apply on many occasions.
If there is no binding chord scheme, another approach is possible. We may
alter one note in a chord, e.g. one key step. The new chord often has no
standard name, but it is not necessary to know that.
During one of the lessons someone played the chords Cm (in the
position g-c-eb) and Ab (in the position g#-c-eb), but he had not
considered Ab as such, but as Cm with an altered (just temporary
raised) note g.
Scheme Cm Ab Cm G7 Cm.
This approach is very efficient for improvising. It is fast, surprising, and
yet it is easy to keep the broad outlines in mind. After the alteration one
may go back to the previous chord or one may be inspired for a further
adventure. The latter may not seem probable, but will often turn out to
be easier than expected.
Experiment with intermediate chords, second parts and alterations.
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