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  1. #26

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    Another point is, you don't have to harmonize every melody note inside a bar with a different voicing of the same chord.

    Observe that if the melody note is not a chord tone, it will belong to the dominant (secondary or primary) or the related diminished of the chord. You can use these as passing chords instead of using an extended version of the chord. (Say if the chord is A minor, melody note D can be harmonized as Ab diminished instead of using an A min11 voicing).

    If the melody note is chromatic, parallel voicing of the chord can be used and resolved parallel from above or below to the next chord tone.

    Non-chord tones can also be harmonized with other diatonic chords without disturbing the harmonic function (especially if the note occurs on a weak beat).

    You can also use model interchange chords as passing chords (to create inner moving lines) or substitutes to add interest.
    Last edited by Tal_175; 04-25-2021 at 01:06 PM.

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  3. #27

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    if you can play with others all this will go much faster, more so the smaller the group " pauln


    Fastest approach to learning. Period!
    Play live . . . Marinero

  4. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tal_175
    If the melody note is chromatic, parallel voicing of the chord can be used and resolved parallel from above or below to the next chord tone.
    .
    Two excellent posts. I don't think I understand the quote above though. Might you be kind enough to give an example?

  5. #29

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    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar
    Two excellent posts. I don't think I understand the quote above though. Might you be kind enough to give an example?
    Sure. This is actually the simplest of the devices I mentioned, you probably used it a million times. If the melody note approaches a chord tone chromatically, then you can use the same voicing you use for the chord tone over the chromatic note and slide it over to the chord tone.

    Say if the chord in the moment is A minor 7 and melody notes are F E. You can play Bb minor 7 over F ( with F on top) and an identically voiced , parallel A minor 7 over E.

    Of course you can also use the same idea from below: D# E can be harmonized using identically voiced G# minor 7 A minor 7 with a parallel move.

  6. #30

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    Quote Originally Posted by vsaumarez
    I'm curious what guitarists want from chord melody instruction. I see several posts asking about books, courses, lessons, but no real consensus about the best way forward. What are the main things players want to focus on? ...
    To Vsaumarez, I feel there are excellent posts in this thread. I do feel Mr. Beaumont hit it on the head as far as my personal experience. Sitting down and working songs is the best way to start down this road. To be more specific, I'd suggest considering the following steps if this is a new area for you.

    1. Find songs that you really like (as you're going to be spending a lot of time with them) and obtain lead sheets. You'll likely need to raise the melody line an octave, but not always.

    2. Put each song in a key that keeps the high and low notes of the melody at frets that make sense for you and sound good. If needed use sotware to do the transpositions and try the keys to pick the best.

    3. Start working the melody and incorporate the indicated chord voicings on the lead sheet to the extent you can. Have a chord reference guide nearby if you need it.

    4. Try and play each piece as a performance piece and work on memorizing each tune. Go as far as you can and only refer to the lead sheet when you get stuck.

    5. Keep working this on as many songs as possible. You will suddenly find the various chord forms falling under your fingers and your own style will start to emerge. You will find you are learning by doing and deriving a lot of enjoyment from the process.

    6. As you get more comfortable with the basics, incorporate tips you learn from as many sources as you can to continue to improve. For example, there are great tips from some of the excellent posts in this thread, or materials from the masters mentioned. For example you likely saw that Jake Reichbart posted an excellent video lesson in this sub-forum about using secondary dominants. There is so much you can learn to expand your knowledge and refine your playing. I'm always amazed at how much satisfaction the guitar can deliver.

  7. #31

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    Here's another idea for chord melody which I think is helpful.

    Find the absolutely perfect chord for each situation. Great players can spend surprising amounts of time looking for exactly the right voicing for a chord. One view is that you find it and play it, no matter how hard it is. Remember how hard it was to play an F chord the first time you tried? Think of it like that.

    Chuck Wayne approached chord melody by harmonizing every melody note with a separate 4 note chord. Then, when soloing he tried to play on every one of those chords.

  8. #32
    Quote Originally Posted by pauln
    That doesn't work; internal mental abstract representations that comprise how things are done can't be translated into an external syllabus, method, text book, or lesson plan. The whole theory of learning that suggests pouring a bucket of teacher's knowledge into the student's head is fundamentally wrong in both directions between teacher and student. It does not matter what the attributes of the bucket or the contents proposed to be transferred - the substance of external public representations is profoundly unlike the internal private representations which require being constructed inside from within, not transferred from outside. People used to understand this.
    I hear what you say, but I believe you miss an important point. I agree education has its flaws. There are obvious mismatches between what a student needs to know and what he or she is often taught. The world of academia often seems at odds with the real world, especially in the Arts. However, learning music is not all "internal mental abstract representations" as you put it. There are very useful skills that can be imparted, offering a faster route to achieving ends than a student would otherwise have been able to achieve unaided. Formal education has its merits and has been generally successful in imparting knowledge, skills etc. If it wasn't we'd have given up on it a long time ago. However, when it comes to inner development, or innate talent—which is what I believe you are referring to—that may well be largely down to the individual's own creative strengths, or genes. That said, I still think education can help in those areas as well.

  9. #33
    Thanks to everyone for all the great contributions.

    Just a polite reminder to some posters that the purpose of the post isn't asking how to play chord melody. It is asking how players are going about learning how to play chord melody. What they find useful and what they don't. Where things could be improved. What do players want that isn't being provided currently.

  10. #34

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    Ok so you're doing some marketing research?

    Then we need folks who are in the (beginning stages of the) learning process to answer here...

    The answer to your last question is a book/video/course/magic pill that you go through once and *bam* you got it down.

  11. #35
    Quote Originally Posted by Dave70
    Ok so you're doing some marketing research?

    Then we need folks who are in the (beginning stages of the) learning process to answer here...

    The answer to your last question is a book/video/course/magic pill that you go through once and *bam* you got it down.
    Dave, I'm more curious than anything. A book, video, course can be provided. The magic pill is the elusive one. Want to take a stab at what the ingredients might be? Something that perhaps binds the other three elements together? Different strokes for different folks so it's got to be a catch-all. I personally have always found structure ie a course to be most motivating. Something you pay for and that gives you a qualification. In the case of music, an end performance (and exam) focusses the mind. Delivery involves teachers, feedback, and regular tasks. A mixture of theory and practical exercises that takes the path of least resistance ie to reach the goal, in the shortest time possible, of a performance standard of playing and musical independence. With Zoom this could be done online. I also like the money-see-monkey-do approach ie imitation. Small chunks of concise info that builds on itself. Slowed down videos backed up by simultaneous notation, TAB, and verbal explanation. I see much of this happening already. What I don't see is that elusive glue that binds it all together into a coherent whole. This is why, in my humble opinion, many players remain in a state of suspended theoretical animation and never cross the independence/performance threshold.

  12. #36

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    Quote Originally Posted by vsaumarez
    What I don't see is that elusive glue that binds it all together into a coherent whole.
    That would be the "internal mental abstract representations" which you seem to deny are absolutely fundamental.

  13. #37

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    Quote Originally Posted by vsaumarez
    Thanks to everyone for all the great contributions.

    Just a polite reminder to some posters that the purpose of the post isn't asking how to play chord melody. It is asking how players are going about learning how to play chord melody. What they find useful and what they don't. Where things could be improved. What do players want that isn't being provided currently.
    What is elusive in your posts is, are you a beginner who's trying to find a good approach to learn chord melody style, or are you considering publishing a resource on chord melody playing and this thread is part of your pedagogical research?
    Last edited by Tal_175; 04-26-2021 at 07:59 PM.

  14. #38

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    Quote Originally Posted by vsaumarez
    From what people are saying, here and on other posts, it seems players are divided between DIY and online lessons and using books. Matt has come up with a interesting perception. If I understand him correctly, he's saying the main problem is a disconnect between available information and practical uses. In other words, there's a gap between material, theory etc and its application. So you have all this information, but how do you use it? One suggestion is a good teacher, who may be able to fill that gap. How many competent teachers are there in this tiny niche? Probably not enough to service the demand.

    Berklee College's Solo Jazz Guitar course would be an obvious place to look. I had a look at the accompanying book, which seemed like many other books. Maybe the course has a performance aspect to it. It's a pity that all the strands out there in the ethos can't be pulled together into a comprehensive performance-driven whole. Take three or four of the best practitioners, put them in a room with the best educationalists, lock the door and return in a week to see what they came up with.
    Accompanying book? There ain't one. What are you looking at?

  15. #39

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    The Berklee course does indeed have a performance aspect to it, lol. They all do!

    It's an online version of the master class format:

    • students play - not the teach. It's not a concert.
    • everybody gets to hear their fellow student's performances
    • everybody gets to see/hear "the masters" feedback (but not grade)


    The challenging part is that the weekly assignments are exposed at midnight on Friday night, and the uploaded video performance is due the next Sunday night by 10:00 p.m. ET. A couple of assignments allow multiple weeks prep in this particular course, which is good, critical even.

    And there is lesson material to last. If you know your guitar, and you have fundamental chord knowledge (at least a few voicings for all chord qualities) you'll be good to go. You will likely find that PRESSURE enables you to do things you thought not possible for you.

    In hindsight, it was easy theoretically speaking (i already knew theory though, TBH). It was the work and performance aspect of playing CM that busted everyone's butt.

    Oh - if I recall, out of twelve weeks there are precisely two arrangements from the instructor, and they're very nice. The rest are yours. :0

  16. #40

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    Quote Originally Posted by vsaumarez
    Dave, I'm more curious than anything. A book, video, course can be provided. The magic pill is the elusive one. Want to take a stab at what the ingredients might be? Something that perhaps binds the other three elements together? Different strokes for different folks so it's got to be a catch-all... <snip> ... What I don't see is that elusive glue that binds it all together into a coherent whole. This is why, in my humble opinion, many players remain in a state of suspended theoretical animation and never cross the independence/performance threshold.

    The main ingredients for the "glue" are probably: Time Spent + Musical Skill + The Will

    Time Spent meaning putting in the work, like Mr. B said earlier. You gotta do it, it may be slow and frustrating at first but gets easier if you keep at it.

    Musical Skill meaning your chops and knowledge, talent whatever...

    And The Will meaning you're not going to give up.

    Probably no way to guarantee success to anyone just because they buy something, it's up to the player to make it happen.

  17. #41
    Quote Originally Posted by Donplaysguitar
    The Berklee course does indeed have a performance aspect to it, lol. They all do!

    It's an online version of the master class format:

    • students play - not the teach. It's not a concert.
    • everybody gets to hear their fellow student's performances
    • everybody gets to see/hear "the masters" feedback (but not grade)


    The challenging part is that the weekly assignments are exposed at midnight on Friday night, and the uploaded video performance is due the next Sunday night by 10:00 p.m. ET. A couple of assignments allow multiple weeks prep in this particular course, which is good, critical even.

    And there is lesson material to last. If you know your guitar, and you have fundamental chord knowledge (at least a few voicings for all chord qualities) you'll be good to go. You will likely find that PRESSURE enables you to do things you thought not possible for you.

    In hindsight, it was easy theoretically speaking (i already knew theory though, TBH). It was the work and performance aspect of playing CM that busted everyone's butt.

    Oh - if I recall, out of twelve weeks there are precisely two arrangements from the instructor, and they're very nice. The rest are yours. :0
    Thank you Don for that very useful information.So it sounds like the Berklee course ticks many of the boxes. 12 weeks doesn't sound long enough to me, but I guess it's a start. Were the arrangements for finger style, pick, or either or both?

  18. #42
    Quote Originally Posted by Tal_175
    What is elusive in your posts is, are you a beginner who's trying to find a good approach to learn chord melody style, or are you considering publishing a resource on chord melody playing and this thread is part of your pedagogical research?
    You are right to call me out if it's not clear. Yes, I have published three books on the subject. When I was learning there really wasn't very much material, so you picked up bits and pieces here and there. I believe things have moved on so much more, but I hear the same old questions being asked. That tells me there's room for improvement. I have no intention of trying to fill this gap myself because a) I am not a master of the form, and b) I have no teaching experience. I do, though, have an interest in seeing this art form continue to develop as jazz has been an all consuming part of my life. If there's a tiny contribution I can make, even if it's only to the debate, then I've given back something. It's an age thing.



  19. #43
    Quote Originally Posted by vsaumarez
    That's insightful, thank you. Can you explain what you mean by a disconnect between melodic playing and chord melody? Just not enough material in general and little in the way of a structured approach?
    Years of posts similar to:

    "I can play chord melody (CM), and I can solo over the form... but I can't seem to solo between phrases of my own chord melody playing."

    "I can solo over the form or comp over the form, but I can't manage to comp for myself while soloing ."

    I would view these as "integration problems" basically. Anyway, seems to be a common complaint /frustration. I DON'T think it's unrelated to "basic phrasing" issues which a lot of guitarists have.

  20. #44

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    Quote Originally Posted by vsaumarez
    Thank you Don for that very useful information.So it sounds like the Berklee course ticks many of the boxes. 12 weeks doesn't sound long enough to me, but I guess it's a start. Were the arrangements for finger style, pick, or either or both?
    Most people used a pick.

    These 12 week courses are like any other semester course (except they're not 16 weeks). They cover what they cover for as long as they cover it. There are prerequisites and as with all courses of study there is a path afterwards as well. If you want to sign up for the degree plan you'll have 9 more semesters to play chord melody and can play as much as you want.

    The thing is, with this course you will emerge on the other side being able to play about 10 chord melody performances, albeit a bit rough in spots. Can you show me another 12 week period where you'll be able to say the same? (i.e. it's not self-paced)

  21. #45

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    Absolutely the most important part should be, but never is, playing something that is musical. Before you worry about incredible harmony and voicings, you should internalize the tempo, then learn how to use the tempo with the most basic voicings you can come up with. Learn how to make music and use emotion to make great music. The coolest chords, with the longest stretch mean absolutely nothing if you can't make music with them.

    Once you do that, record it then actually listen to it with a critical ear. Chances are that it sounds a lot worse than you think. Don't ask people for opinions, because they will tell you it sounds great.

  22. #46

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    Quote Originally Posted by matt.guitarteacher
    Years of posts similar to:

    "I can play chord melody (CM), and I can solo over the form... but I can't seem to solo between phrases of my own chord melody playing."

    "I can solo over the form or comp over the form, but I can't manage to comp for myself while soloing ."

    I would view these as "integration problems" basically. Anyway, seems to be a common complaint /frustration. I DON'T think it's unrelated to "basic phrasing" issues which a lot of guitarists have.
    Yes; analogous to, "Unit testing passed, but integration testing failed."

  23. #47

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    What I am looking for is Music.
    I am trying to transcribe and learn Bobby Broom's home made youtube chord melody videos. Amazing what with some triads, and three note cluster chords Bobby Broom creates

  24. #48

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    Chord melody is a nice way to enjoy playing guitar on my own.
    The past 30 years the guitar was me playing in a band. If there was no band. there was no guitar. After a brake I wanted to pick up making music, but without a band. Just on my own. And chord melody is a great way to enjoy this and to challenge myself.
    My playlist is growing.