Watch the Triad Chord Scales - Harmonic Minor online guitar lesson by Chris Buono from Guitar Gym: Triad Chord Scales - Harmonic Minor
Now that the Prereqs are under your fingers and you have a firm grip on fundamental chord scale playing, you're able to exercise Chordal Gravity within a Conveyor Belt Neck Vision you're ready for the good stuff: chord scale cycles! Inspired by one of my former teachers and mentors, Mick Goodrick, chord scale cycles, or more simply "cycles", are chord scales set to intervals. For those who have a strong grasp on interval theory you're probably thinking everything, including chord scales, are set to intervals. You're right! What's going on here is exploring all possible interval settings within chord scales while focusing on a completely valuable by-product - voice leading. Check it out…
All the chord scales in the Prerequisite Workout Groups are technically Cycle 2 and Cycle 7. Meaning: The distance between one chord to the next throughout the entire sequence in all instances is a 2nd diatonic to the parent scale (some a major 2nd, some a minor 2nd) on the way up and a diatonic 7th on the way down. In regards to voice leading there's nothing really going on. Each chord change is linear and static, or more simply put - in a straight line and the same. Remember a chord is made of multiple notes called voices. In a progression those voices are seen as melodic lines or strands. When each chord in a progression is voiced in the same manner the lines or strands flow without change - no counterpoint, for instance - thus staying in a straight line. No change in fancy terms is "static." Take note: A simple indicator a chord scale is Linear/Static is when all the chords are of the same type, i.e. all root position.
Starting in Level 1 this is all about to change and we'll do this from 62bpm-73bpm within 3 reps while making your way back up from the 5-4-3 string set to the 3-2-1 string set.
Level 1 plays through four sets of four Workouts based of real deal Cycle 2 and Cycle 7. The realness stems from the presence of voice leading. That's right - the chord tones or voices are no longer linear and definitely not static. How? Simple really. Instead of Cycle 2 ascending from one chord to the next forcing a Linear/Static environment, its now descending to the next local chord type as the chord scale progresses. For example, in a typical Cycle 2 Linear/Static chord scale you'd have the following sequence:
Cm - D˚ - Eb+ - Fm - G - Ab - B˚
In a true Cycle 2 you'd have a much more interesting chord scale such as this:
Cm -D˚/Ab - Eb+/G - Fm - G/D - Ab/C - B˚
You see what I mean?! Now we're playin' some chord scales with some juicy voice leading, well, leading the way! You'll see the other two voice leading scenarios when you start to dig in to the Workouts. As for the roman numeral system or Nashville numbering system it would still be as follows:
i - ii˚ - bIII+ - iv - V - bVI - vii˚
Every Workout Group's first three Workouts will be eight bars in 4/4. The Workouts are split in four bar sections with the first starting out as Cycle 2 and ending in Cycle 7. The next four bars will reverse that by starting in Cycle 7 and end in Cycle 2. The fourth Workout will be what you're working towards in each Group with a six bar run in 7/4 up and down the 21 chord cycle. That's right, a non-stop 42 chord scale romp! Finally, all four Workouts will be played on all four three-string adjacent sets following the concept of Chordal Gravity and strictly adhering to Conveyor Belt Neck Vision. Told you it's on!
While we're talking about Cycle 7 here's how its chord scale plays out starting from a root position I chord:
C - B˚/D - Ab/Eb - G - Fm/Ab - Eb+/B - D˚
Wait 'til you hear yourself play this stuff! The roman numeral system or Nashville numbering system, of course, still applies, just in reverse like this:
i- vii˚ - bVI - V iv - biii+ - ii˚
The manner in which Cycle 2 and Cycle 7 is played out (pun intended) is what makes this them more interesting and even more musical sounding, albeit more challenging. Approaching chord scales in this way has so many powerful benefits while making what you're working so hard to play sound so good. It's win-win! While it's not easy stuff, it has huge rewards.