Watch the 8: Harmonizing Major Scales online guitar lesson by Frank Vignola from Modern Method for Guitar
This Lesson builds on the horizontal scales and arpeggios that we have worked on previously. An interval is the distance between two notes. When thinking of intervals, we often count up. For example, in the key of C the 2nd is D, the 3rd is E, the 4th is F, the 5th is G, 6th is A and the 7th is B. To harmonize the major scale, play 2 notes at the same time. In this chapter we harmonize the C major scale with all of the intervals beginning with the 3rd. We start with the 3rd because it is a very familiar sounding interval. Think of it as playing 2 C major scales on 2 different strings at the same time.
1. Play the C major scale on the 2nd string, beginning with C at the 1st fret, up to the octave at the 13th fret and back.
2. Next, play the note a third above each scale tone on the 1st string, beginning with the open E, play all the notes of the C major scale to the octave at the 12th fret and back.
3. Now, play the notes from step 1 and 2 simultaneously, ascending and descending the fret board. In essence, play the C major scale on both strings simultaneously with different starting and ending points. The starting points, in this example are a 3rd apart.
4. Do not think of the intervals as grips.
5. Once you get the idea, apply this lesson to each string, beginning with the lowest note of the scale on each string.
6. Next, start on D and harmonize with a 2nd. Counting from D to E we have our 2 starting points. D and E. Play the notes of the C major scale with these starting and ending points. Note that we did not start on the C note because the lowest note on the top string is E and we need to start with a D.
7. Work through all intervals, harmonizing the major scale with the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, and 7th.
8. After you master this lesson in the key of C, work with the other keys; your goal is playing it in all 12 keys.
9. Take your time and go through one key a day. Some keys will be easier to navigate than others. I think of Db and Gb like the jungle because until you master them you will find yourself thinking, "Where am I?"
10. When practicing these intervals, internalize them and recognize their sound.
11. I find it helpful to find 2 notes of a song or jingle that remind me of a particular interval. For example, the first 2 notes of the NBC jingle (the N-B) are a 6th apart. The Star Wars theme starts with 2 notes a 5th apart.
In the video segments that follow I demonstrate harmony on the 1st and 2nd string and the 2nd and 3rd string. It is up to you to continue the same approach with the other strings and in the other keys. The notation that follows has all of the intervals on all strings in the key of C.