Wednesday, July 19, 2006
Chords in Collision

Two weeks ago, we learned about arpeggios. They are chords played, one note at a time. On a kalimba, they sound really good, because the notes will keep sounding after you play them, so they will all stack on top of each other in a rather graceful way.

This week, we look at an arpeggio formed by taking the skeleton of two different chords and interleaving them.

Chords in Collision

The above Alto Tablature shows the D triad first (1, 3, and 5), and then just the 1 and the 5. This forms the backbone of the D chord. This second chord will advance to the final measure above.

Next, you see the G triad with the 5 in the bass (i.e., D, the low note in the D triad), and then you see what happens when we take the 3 out. Again, this backbone chord will advance to the final measure above.

Now, we combine the notes in the D and G chord backbones in an interleaved Right-Left pattern. I love playing simple little patterns like this. This is ever so much better than a strict triad chord. From the way we've lead into this example, it is as if the skeletons of two chords have decided to duke it out right here on the tablature! They are locked in a tight grip: right, left, right, left. But, see! These chords are dancing, embraced in life together. They make a nice sound, more complex and more interesting. AND, this touches on African music. Even though we have approached it intelectually, this is a wonderfully PHYSICAL exercise -- you don't NEED to know what notes you are playing, just SET IT LOOSE! Let those thumbs do the same two-note pattern, jumping over one of the tines, with the right hand leading the left.

And while you are at it, go back and look at the Elementary Tip from June 27, 2006. This is a special case of that exercise. Now, go off and find three or four more patterns made by intersecting the backbones (i.e., the 1 and 5) of two different chords, and build a pattern like this one. And remember which ones you like!