TIP OF THE DAY

Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Kalimba and Guitar Lessons
Adding a Third Chord

Here are the basic triads for the alto, treble, pentatonic, and 8-note kalimbas in their standard tunings.

Playing music based on two chords is possible. The Grateful Dead seemed to spend a significant fraction of their time doing just that, and jam bands inspired by that kind of music continue to do that today. It is a worthy goal to find freedom within the confines of strict structure. Zen Buddhists do this in their meditation. So, while you can approach the two chord thing with the discipline of a Zen monk, you should also be aware that there are more than two chords available for you to use.

This is a really simple way to get yourself to add a chord to your pairs of beloved chords.

Let's say you have identified these pairs of chords that you love: G and C; Am and G; D and C. Your home-play assignment today is to take just one of those pairs, and find a third chord for it. Make up some structure to help you choose. For example, let's take G and C. You've been playing G.... C.... G.... C.... G.... C.... G.... C....
But instead of just playing them over and over again, just play the pair of chords three times, and the fourth time is a blank that you will be filling in:
G.... C.... G.... C.... G.... C.... Am..........
In order to get the timing right, the Am lasts as long as the G.... C.... put together.

What do I mean by the "....." ? Oh, just that these chords could last a few beats. You decide how long. BUT after you do this a few times with Am and understand how it sounds and feels, next time do the same but replace the last chord with Bm. Then try D. How about Em?

When you get something you love, remember it. And then move on to your second pair of chords you love together and see what else you like.

 

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