Announcing: The Book of Chord Tones, Book 1, Major Chords

Well, "someone" got the bright idea to collect a bunch of patterns, (well, all the patterns actually) that are possible for arranging the notes of major 7 chords and to put them all on paper and in a book.

For bass, no less. Clearly, "someone" has way too much time on their hands.

And so, for your perusal and harmonic edification I give you the first installment in The Book Of Chord Tones - Book 1, Major Seven Chords.

Okay, so here is probably what you want to know.

Q: So what is this thing?
A: This is a book that lists all 24 patterns that are possible for each of the 12 major 7 chords, over at least two octaves, using standard notation (bass clef) and tablature for four string bass. It's about 105 pages long, has a really simple, short, explanation up front and then just lots and lots of notes. Not a lot of talky-talky, but a lot of little black dots.

Q: So are they licks?
A: Not really, no, but they are the things that licks are made from. For instance, a song most of us recognize is "The Star Spangled Banner" and the melody for that song uses just the notes from a major chord, but with some repetition, variation and specific rhythmic values. So these patterns can be turned into licks with all the various techniques used to create melodies - repetition, using just fragments, changing rhythmic values, combining parts from different ones etc. etc. As you play through the different exercises you will recognize a lot of snippets or phrases of melodies from pop songs, standards and classical music. How you turn these patterns into music is where your own creativity takes over.

Q: Chord tones, huh, why those?
A: Because in improvised music, usually one is given a set of chords to play over and when we have to make bass lines or play a solo, the most powerful way that we can indicate what chord is going by is by playing the notes of that chord. But playing the chord from the root on up in order is just one way to do it, there are 23 other ways you can play the notes of a chord and thus really outline the harmony. This book is a repository of all those other ways so you can get them together for bass lines or for soloing.

Q: So is this a method book?
A: No, not really, it is more like a reference volume. Just like writers have dictionaries and thesauruses for reference, sometimes it is useful to have reference volumes for music as well, a place where you can look up things. But just like a writer doesn't open a page of the dictionary and just start picking words to put into a sentence, you probably wouldn't just pick any random pattern from this book and just, bam, drop it into a solo. Maybe you could, but it takes getting familiar with what a word means and sounds (in this case) and how it would work in a sentence and where it would make sense first. But, when you want some new musical words for major seven chords, they are all here. There are some other famous reference volumes that explore patterns that musicians have worked from throughout history, Coltrane and his use of Slonimsky's book for instance or Jerry Coker's books. The trick is not to just play licks out of a book, it is to take the musical information and personalize it and be creative with it. Hopefully, these patterns will help with that when it comes to major chords.

So that's the quick and dirty on this first volume. Currently there are plans for more volumes featuring dominant, minor, and diminished chords, as well as some other goodies. You may not need all of them, (the crafty ones among you who know what notes to change could figure it out) but if you want some new patterns for your fingers to chew on, in all the keys, and all over the neck, you might like just like this.

It is available now on Lulu for about the price of an imported 12 pack of decent beer, and soon on Amazon and other fine online outlets.

You can read the intro and see the first examples at the link below in pdf.

The Book Of Chord Tones at Lulu.


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