Music Theory

Music theory including guitar scales, chords, scale modes all will audio & video examples.

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Pentatonic penta = 5

Pentatonic Guitar Scales

For more on the Pentatonic minor scale, please visit "Pentatonic Minor Scale". Pentatonic guitar scales in A minor and the C major pentatonic guitar scales are the two scales discussed in this guitar lesson.

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Guitar Scales and Chord Triads Lesson

When playing or writing a song most of your work will be done following a particular musical scale. Within the confines of that scale you will form your chords. If you refer back to the Guitar Scale Modes lessons on this site you will see that I based them on the C major scale. I…

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Ionian mode - Guitar scales

Guitar Scale Modes

Derived from a parent scale, scale modes get their unique sound by shifting the tonal center of the parent scale. By shifting the tonal center, they use specific sequence of intervals within the parent scale, creating distinctive musical flavors or moods. Each mode has its unique set of intervals, altering the relationship between notes to…

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Open Guitar Chords - G Major Guitar Chord

Basic Guitar Chords For Beginners

This guitar lesson uses interactive guitar chords example that includes standard guitar chord shapes and common barre chord shapes. I have also included the chord charts and the name of each chord with the suggested finger placement on the neck with an audio example for each chord.

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Guitar Fretboard image - Take it around the fretboard

Everybody Says This. . . But How Do You Actually Do It On Your Guitar Fretboard?

“Take it around the fretboard” It's a sentence that so many guitar teachers tell you, as in “Learn this lick and take it around the fretboard” “And once you got this chord voicing, take it around the fretboard” “You improvise a phrase, and you take it around the fretboard before you improvise something new” We…

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Make Augmented Chords Sound Good

How Do You Make Augmented Chords Sound Good?

Ah, the augmented triads: dissonant like nothing else, and the least used triads in music. Whenever I show augmented chords to some new players the scene goes like: Teacher: “Now play this shape here” Student: “Ok” -strummmm- “Oh, yuck!! This sounds horrible!” And it’s true that by themselves augmented chords sound horrible. But in the…

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Guitar lesson - Taking Control Of Your Fingers

Taking Control Of Your Fingers

The other day one of my students complained to me that they have “Octopus fingers”. That is to say, his fingers have a brain of their own and move however they want. Kinda like the tentacles of Dr. Octopus from Spiderman. (Who knew, watching superhero movies gives you the perfect metaphors for guitar technique.) Now, this…

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Odd Time Signatures

The Trick Nobody Teaches You On Odd Time Signatures

How do you write a song using odd time signatures? Well, most of the advice you can find on the net boils down to: “use a lot of trial and error” I don’t know you, but I can’t help to feel a little disappointed. If you want to learn harmony we have super-sophisticated theories to…

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Image of girl with guitar walking on railroad tracks to infinity.

The Tonic Chord Of The Diminished Scale Is Not Diminished

The diminished scale is famous - but just in case you don’t know it, here’s the notes of the C diminished scale: C Db Eb E F# G A Bb Yes, it is the H-W diminished scale, the scale that alternates a half-step with a full step Yes, there are both E and Eb in…

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Parallel 5ths

Do Parallel 5th sound good? These 5 Famous Songs Use Them

One thing that makes me laugh every time: when people tell you that parallel 5ths are forbidden in music theory. That may (MAY!) have been true during the Baroque period, but already Mozart was using parallel 5ths without too much restrains. Turns out, parallel 5ths not only are not forbidden. They are COMMON. Because they…

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Exotic Sounds From Triad Pairs

Exotic Sounds From Triad Pairs

Sometimes you want to sound "conventional". You want to find the 'right scale', the 'right arpeggio', the 'right note'… … let’s admit it. Most of the time we want to sound 'conventional'. This is what non-musician call ‘sounding good’. Like it or not, people like what they know. And they know what’s conventional. But every…

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Italian Augmented 6th

Fancy Chords: The Italian Augmented 6th

In music theory we use funny names for nearly everything - for instance, there is a whole family of chords named after nations. We have the Italian chord and the German chord and the French chord and there may also be a Swiss and a Dutch one… It’s the family of Augmented 6th chords. Now,…

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Connect Any Two Chords

How To Connect Any Two Chords – Using A SINGLE Chord

“Ok, I have this verse in D major and a chorus in G# minor, how do I connect them smoothly?” The theory of modulation - ‘how to change key’ - looks complex and it takes time to learn it. And rightly so. There are so many things you can do to move smoothly from one…

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Guitar Chord Progressions And Leads In Lydian

Guitar Chord Progressions And Leads In Lydian

I have been requested to do a video n the Lydian scale, so here we are! The Lydian scale has a ‘spacey’, bright character, and it’s used often in prog metal, in movie soundtracks, and by the occasional Jazz player too. It’s also a deceptively simple scale… due to the fact that the ’Lydian effect"…

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The Feeling Of One Note

Not Just The Interval: What Determines The Feeling Of One Note

Most people think that music theory is all about “mathematical harmony”. As if musicians really needed to do a lot of math to compose their music… … no wonder that many today don’t see why music theory is useful. (This is all because how music theory is taught today… but that’s a story for another…

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Mixolydian #4 Scale

The Mixolydian #4 Scale

This is one of the favorite scales of prog metallers... ... AND one of the favorite scales of jazz players. Interesting uh? For some of the most experienced players here this may not even come as a surprise. After all, the prog-jazz connection is well known. But it sure surprised me the first time I…

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Harmonic Minor Scale

Harmonic Minor Scale: Get Started In Using It

This is a video I did not want to make. But after several requests from my viewers, I guess I can't avoid it anymore, can I? See, musicians have been using the harmonic minor scale for more than 250 years now... ... so it's quite hard to find something new to say about it. Then…

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Modulation Between Maximally Different Keys

Modulation Between Maximally Different Keys

Changing key can be easy or hard... ... and if you want it to be hard, then you just need to pick two keys that are more distant (i.e. that have less notes in common). Why should you do that? Well, modulations between distant keys are more dramatic and more 'modern'. I mean, not all…

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Diminished Chords - Wrong Spelling

Diminished Chords: Why The Wrong Spelling Makes More Sense

How do you spell a C diminished 7th chord? Ask anybody on the internet - or anybody who took a course in harmony - and they will tell you that The Correct Spelling (TM) is C Eb Gb Bbb. And yet several musicians do not spell the C dim7 in this way. Among these musicians…

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Create A Polyrhythm

How A Time Signature Difference Can Create A Polyrhythm: 3/4 Vs 6/8

Do you know the difference between 6/8 and 3/4 in music? Yes, I know, the first answer that comes to mind is: "who cares?" After all, the two time signatures are very similar, and if you write them in your DAW then the music sounds the same, no? So, if you think that way I…

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