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Songwriter September

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Watch the Adding Color Tones online guitar lesson by Vicki Genfan from Acoustic Rhythm Survival Guide

The basic structure of a chord, in its simplest form is a TRIAD, which consists of the Root, 3rd and 5th of a chord. We can add many additional notes to bring more 'color' to the progression. This is very similar to a painter adding more than the three primary colors to a painting – hence, the phrase 'Color Tones'!

Which notes you pick are really a matter of taste. You may also choose certain color tones that will compliment the melody of the song. Or – if you're in the writing stage, you'll find that your melody may be influenced by the particular color tones you're already playing in a progression.

If you look at any Jazz Chord book, you'll be able to experiment with tons of chords and color tones and find a few that you really like and want to start using. I suggest you do this. Just remember – don't over-use fancy chords with 9th, suspended 4ths, sharp 11ths and all that – unless they are used with TASTE and really support what you're trying to say musically.

There are times when it's really the right thing to play a regular C major triad – or even just a root and 5th. NOTE: What keeps your music and your SOUND interesting is the tasteful movement between opposing elements... silence/sound, slow/fast, loud/soft, sparse/dense.

Incorporate all of these things in your playing and you will become an outstanding musician.

The examples in this video segment contain the following chords:
1 Gadd9 – Dadd9 – Em7 – Cadd9
2 GMa7 – Dsus4- Em9 – Cma7


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