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Chord Progressions and Voice Leading Course
  • Hi,

    I just went though the audio for the first time and have a question that isn't too silly but....Jim keeps mentioning chords with various notes "on top". I'm not seeing it. I thought he meant the lowest note but that doesn't work. What am I mission? Thanks, Dan
  • The note on top is the highest note in pitch within the chord. For example, if you strummed an open C "cowboy" chord, the note on top would be the high e. If you strummed an open Am "cowboy" chord, the note on top would also be the high e. The Voice Leading course has exercises to string chords together that share a high note to promote continuity, but mostly it just sounds good. Hope that helps.
  • Thanks for the response. I guess I confused it. He's saying on the bottom. Don't know where I got top from. So, he's referring to the root note.

    I was really confused. We're both right. In one instance he's describing the note on the bottom ( the root) and then as you described he refers to the note on top when referring to voice leading.

    OK, now back to the lesson. Thanks again!
  • Thanks for explaining- yes, it's the "top" note in pitch...
  • Thanks for responding Jim. I think the voice leading part of the course is a little above my pay grade right now. I generally understand the concept of voice leading but am not well versed in how many variety of chord voicings result from changes in the pedal tone. I'll work on playing through them for a bit to see what unfolds in my understanding or ability to apply the idea. The chord progression part was very helpful for me at this point in my journey.
  • The concept is basically "simple" and it helps the guitarist not think in "grips" but in terms of music. And we can leave those uninspired wanka wanka chord grips...
    I know this helped me greatly and that's why I share it -and I learned this while my pay grade was fairly low! ha ha Anyway- Keep at it and give yourself a chance to learn it.
    I might suggest playing the chords as written and trying to name the notes in the chord too... thank you for ordering the lesson and have a great day- Jim
  • Jim, thanks for sharing that. I like the way you put that ( thinking in terms of music) and that is a goal for me. Thinking that you were once at my pay grade gives me hope :-). I'll use you're suggestions and and persevere.

    By the way I've thoroughly enjoyed every lesson of yours that I've worked on. You're music is an inspiration and being able to engage with your work through the lessons is a joy. Dan
  • I just went through the Understanding Chord Progressions and Voice Leading course, and while about two thirds of it was material I learned back when I was in my high school stage band, the section on voice leading was well worth the money. Starting with that exercise, I’m working through ii-V-I-vi progressions and scales in different keys. It’s an excellent exercise for developing the ability to create chord melodies on the fly, as Jim suggests.

    I can also see why it’s graded level 3-10. The concepts coved range from skills for advanced beginners to concepts for players well beyond my skills. That’s true of all the lessons I’ve purchased.

    I notice that the suggested follow on lessons are various chord melody arrangements. I have the Over the Rainbow lesson, which I’ve been practicing; it combines mostly easy grips with a few stretches, and teaches some nice voicings. It’s a great place to start.

    Which lessons deal further with techniques and theory for developing voice leading? Or should I just work through the different chord melody arrangements?
  • All and none of these - ha ha. Unfortunately, nothing I offer deals specifically with voice leading other then the lesson you have, but all these lessons below might demonstrate how you would apply chords and melody with harmonic movement. At the very least (Sleepwalk - Wishful Thinking - Tennessee Waltz) you'll see how one can develop single note lines with chords.
    Thank you for buying my lessons - I hope you're having fun and learning. - Jim

    Amazing Grace Chord Melody
    SAMPLE CLIP http://youtu.be/BjvSGHF-iok 
    Chord melody galore – four choruses of Amazing Grace played in traditional chord melody then expands to steel guitar bends, jazz chord voicings, behind the nut bending and more. A unique take on a timeless melody presented in a straightforward and easy to understand manner. 
    Difficulty: 4-8 intermediate-advanced. Proceed to Stardust, Polkadots and Moonbeams, When You Wish Upon a Star, Smoke Get's in Your Eyes, Danny Boy...
    Intermediate / Advanced

    My Funny Valentine
    SAMPLE CLIP: https://youtu.be/7mK4NeAD4Qg 
    Chord Melody of the timeless jazz classic
    Intermediate / Advanced

    Charlie Christian "Rose Room" Note for Note
    SAMPLE CLIP https://youtu.be/U24H1SowQhk
    In this lesson we learn the great Charlie Christian's solo on "Rose Room". Included in this lesson is a note for note transcription of Charlie’s solo, a chord melody of Benny Goodman playing the melody and instruction on the Freddie Green style of swinging rhythm. Additionally, I break down the solo to relatable scales and mnemonic devices that allow the Jazz novice to jump off to free uninhibited jazz improvisation.

    Sleepwalk concepts
    SAMPLE CLIP: https://youtu.be/1lEy8PORCHg 
    Santo and Johnny’s classic tune is a melodic showpiece for most guitarists and it’s a great vehicle to learn new techniques. On Sleepwalk I first demonstrate the basic melody and then elaborate on the many ways to embellish it. I’ll slowly show, phrase by phrase - tone and volume swells, steel guitar bends, jazz chord substitutions, harmonics and Buchanan-like string bends. It’s a fun lesson and people always seem to love hearing Sleepwalk, no matter the place or venue.
    Intermediate / Advanced

    Stardust Chord Melody
    SAMPLE CLIP: https://youtu.be/HGUDVfnDBBE 
    A chord Melody of the classic Hoagy Carmichael song. Although Jim performed Stardust on Live at The DuNord this is a departure and in the style of beautiful solo guitar. Also, comes with an added bonus of some loose solo concepts.
    Intermediate / Advanced

    Tennessee Waltz
    SAMPLE CLIP: https://youtu.be/iNk9mGxvCYM 
    Explains and demonstrates the application of 3rds and 6ths while retaining the spirit and melody the classic song. A people pleaser...for people.
    Intermediate / Advanced

    Wishful Thinking
    SAMPLE CLIP: https://youtu.be/G6LbSBeDWY4 
    A beautiful Ry Cooder style guitar piece Note For Note from "Table For One"
    Intermediate / Advanced
  • Thanks, Jim. I purchased My Funny Valentine- a favorite melody- and I’m working on that.
  • When creating a chord melody arrangement do you have any strategies you find particularly useful?
  • This might seem contrary to your question, but it's how I do it.

    I play the single note melody (without chords). Then I add chords where I think support might be needed, or sound nice. But I don't lose sight that if I was playing trumpet, or saxophone, the melody would be enough.

    Ultimately, I make the arrangement simple enough so I can PLAY it. I'm guilty of composing a chord melody so demanding, I can't play it smoothly, or remember it. It is a tree that falls in the forest, that nobody hears! ha ha

    That said, the last few years, I'm inclined to add one or two chord tones to support the melody, instead of classic chord grips. This has a lovely "music box" quality. If I'm adding one or two notes it frees me to play the melody, with supporting notes beneath on strings 4, 5, 6 - the melody on the 3rd, even 4th string. When adding classic chord grips one is usually focusing on playing the melody on the the top two strings. Remember- the melody is usually the highest note.

    Renegotiating where the melody is played, while accommodating other supporting notes, or chord grips is sometimes a mind bending journey. I will come up with an option, or two - and this exercise expands how I see the fingerboard more clearly.

    But again, I simply play and memorize the single note melody to start. If it's a song with a strong melody ("Stardust", "I Want to Hold Your Hand" for example) the bare bones melody will suffice - and to me, this is a legitimate piece.

    Have a great day - Jim
  • Thanks Jim. Your insights are always appreciated.

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