Jazz Guitar
Learn how to play jazz guitar with our eBook bundle
+ Reply to Thread
Results 1 to 10 of 10
  1. #1

    New Chord Melody Approach...need advice

    Hello! new member here, I am not a musician or a very competent player... I am self taught in music theory and few instruments... guitar, piano and the sax. little bit here and there.

    I am always fascinated at pianist and guitar players jazz chord melody. and in constant search of ways easy enough for my stubborn fingers. I recently found out an 'interesting' way to play a song ie misty. and easy enough to work.... As I am self taught, I have a number of methods book, i am learning about barry harris method, chord scales, etc, but have never heard my new way this as a valid approach... I will write a bit about this so-called 'method' below, my question is... is this a theoretically correct way to play chord melody? i tested it on piano, it sounds nice to my ears, but I am afraid of getting a black eye someday playing to sophisticated audience. if it has been written about before I would like to read up more to expand my playing as its the only thing working for me for now

    Using C major as an example:
    i am referring to highest note, melody note as top note... chords are to the 7th degree as other ir 9 11 13 just repeats itself...
    top notes CM D- E- FM G7 A- BO
    chord scales cegb dfac egbd face gbde aceg bdfa
    say if the melody note is a C, only C D F A chords contain it, in other words, C D F A notes will always work with C in C major. with C giving some of the major character, d some minor character so on ...
    following the same idea, if top note is D, I get D E G B
    if top note is E, I get C E F G A
    if top note is F i get D F B.... so on
    So, taking top note C as example, if i play C D F A with right hand playing top note C on piano, i get a F6/ D-7 on my left hand....the list continues:
    C: F6/D-7: CDFA
    D: G6/E-7: DEGB
    E: F Maj 9: CEFGA
    F: Bdim/D-6: DFB
    G: C6/A-7: CEGA
    A: D-6/B half dim: DFAB
    B: C Maj 7: CEGB
    by doing so, i can quickly play a chord and its inversion for every melody in a song. and as the fingers are in the root note for possible chords within the scale, I can switch to other chords easily. say if i am playing a top note D, I can quite quickly switch to D-7,E-7, G7, Bo......and thats why i think its working for me.

    if say the melody note is a Eb, between D and E, G is a common note, Ab is a not between A and B.... so i will play Eb top note with G, Eb Ab as base...

    As much as I want to make a sample video rather that typing all these out in a confusing way, I am limited by my dexterity and I consider myself a beginner in all instrument and music theory.

    Keep in mind this is no way a tutorial and the information may not be correct... but as it sound ok to my ear, I just want to share and maybe get feedback if its something that worth exploring to anyone. As I don't know anyone in a band or knowledge in music theory, I can only resort to forums. I hope this explains my intention for this long post...

    I am very much looking forward to what you think! and thank you in advance for taking the time!

  2. #2
    Welcome to the forum!
    None of what you are doing is incorrect; it is really good to work these kinds of things as "independent study" to really stretch your musical grasp.

    I am not much of a chord melody player (but we have some here) so I will just make general comments... things to think about...

    incompleteness (of course)

    - you are only using major harmonized scale

    - your harmonized chords stop at the 7th degree, but those extensions (9, 11, 13) will eventually appear mechanically even if you exclude them conceptually

    - so you are skipping lots of possible chord harmonies

    - system allows that top note of E can go with C, but not top note of C with E?

    this is OK, everything is incomplete until it isn't; filling it in is the valuable action, not sitting on a complete system


    - maybe on my part, depending on how you meant it, but the C note does not give a major character to C major, and the D note does not give a minor character to C major

    slash/poly chords

    - be careful about using the "/" between chords, it has a technical use that may be confusing if you mean otherwise. Polychords and chords with lowest notes other than their roots take the written form:

    chord1 / (note name or chord2)

    as in:

    slash chords
    D/F# (Dmajor over F# so 1st inversion)
    A/G (G is dominant seven of A, so in the Roman numeral system if A were the key you might see it as I/bVII)
    F#(6)/E same a F#(13)/E

    polychords (maybe move to your piano for this)

    Triads over two note chords:

    Db minor over C Bb results in C7 #5 b9 (maybe someone can verify; I think these are multi-slash chords - e.g., Db/Bb/C ???)
    D major over E Bb results in C7 #11
    Eb major over C E results in C7 #9
    F# major over C E results in C7 b5 b9
    F# minor over E Bb results in C7 b5 b9
    A major over C Bb results in C7 b9

    Triads over four note 7th chord:

    D major over C7 results in C9 13 #11 (so, D/C7)
    A major over C7 resulting in C13 b9
    Ab major over C7 resulting in C7 #5 #9
    Eb minor over C7 resulting in C7 #9 #11

    - so Eb/C7 may be easier to read, write, grasp, and play than C7#9#11

    - see how the extensions and their alterations are beginning to appear (more complex harmonies) while conceptually only working with triads and seventh chords
    "Bent my ear to hear the tune and closed my eyes to see."

  3. #3
    why not post audio or video?

  4. #4
    Soon as I hear the word 'new' I get the shakes...

  5. #5
    Many roads lead to Rome.
    "As for me, all I know is that I know nothing." - Socrates
    “Man suffers only because he takes seriously what the gods made for fun.” - Alan Wilson Watts

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Louisville, KY
    Here are a couple of quick tips, because your terminology is somewhat confused.

    What you're calling "top notes" are actually called "chord symbols." Your use of CM is what I (and many others) call "C major 7," which I abbreviate to Cmaj7. Other symbols for this chord are CMA7, C "delta" 7 (I can't make the delta/triangle sign), or C with a European 7 with the line through it. I use Cmaj7 because to me it's unambiguous. The other chord symbols in your example would be Dm7, Em7, Fmaj7, G7 (which is G B D F, BTW, not G B D E), Am7, and Bm7b5.

    What you're calling "chord scales" are actually "chord spellings." When you list the notes in a chord you're "spelling it out." The term "chord scale" is what type of scale you can use to improvise over a particular chord type, as in "D Dorian fits over Dm7."

    It sounds to me like you're saying that as a long as a chord contains the note C that you can use it to harmonize the melody if the note is C. That's partially, but not completely correct. You were talking about the song Misty. Usually it's in Eb, and the first two notes (intro) are Bb and G. The third note is D, and the chord is Eb or Ebmaj7 if you want to be specific. D is also in Bb7, but you wouldn't want to play that chord in that part of the song because it's wrong.

  7. #7
    Here are some suggestions that I'm familiar with: check out Frank Vignola's "1-2-3 Chord Melody" or Robert Conti's chord melody courses "Assembly Line" and "The Formula".

    I was gonna say more, but I didn't want to come across as the grumpy old man that I am.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    St.Petersburg, Russian Federation
    I tried to dig your idea.. maybe I partly did but I do not want to comment unless I am sure i know what you mean.

    But you explanation is too messy for me in concern of terms.. it's all mixed and used a bit incoventional... for example

    So, taking top note C as example, if i play C D F A with right hand playing top note C on piano, i get a F6/ D-7 on my left hand....
    what do you mean in practical sense? what is 'i play C D F A'? playing these notes? these chords? how exactly?

    It is not to answer.. just as an example...

    Make a video...

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Chicago, IL
    My basic principle is this: to play *piano-style* solo guitar, you have to fundamentally divide the fingerboard into two: the top, Soprano melody line, which always takes precedent; (2) the bottom bass-tenor section, that provides harmonic richness with small voices (guide tones, dyads, small voices) and/or linear counterpoint. Basically, try to envision the guitar like the Left hand and Right of the piano player, try to generate *independence* between LH and RH within the framework of the guitar fingerboard.

    Easiest way to create opposite, contrary motion counterpoint on the guitar (figured this out studying Steve Herberman, who is the absolute master at thee kind of things): broken DYADS that move from M6 to P10 to 13th. top line moves up P4 and M3, bottom line moves down stepwise, diatonically.


    M6: C as top voice, E as bottom voice
    P10: F as top voice, D as bottom voice’
    13th: A as top voice, C as bottom voice.

    Top line moves from C to F to A (P4 to M3)
    Bottom voice moves down step wise: E to D to C.

    I have really tried to internalize a lot of stuff like this, on the instrument. It’s taken a LONG time.
    Navdeep Singh.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Wilmore, KY USA
    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1 View Post
    Soon as I hear the word 'new' I get the shakes...
    you and I definitely need to have dinner some time.
    - Lawson
    "Whenever you come near the human race, there's layers and layers of nonsense." - Thornton Wilder, Our Town

Join our Facebook Page

Get in Touch

Jazz Guitar eBooks
How To Get a Jazz Guitar Tone?
Privacy Policy



Follow us on:

Jazz Guitar Online on FacebookJazz Guitar Online on TwitterJazz Guitar Online on YoutubeJazz Guitar Online RSS Feed