Memorizing All Of The Notes In Chords

Author: Tommaso Zillio

Are you able to tell me all the notes that make up every major and minor triad? Are you wondering why anyone would ever need to do that? It’s actually a more useful skill than you might think.

If you are a guitar player thinking to yourself that learning all of the notes to every chord sounds like a difficult waste of time, you are not alone. But if you keep reading you will see that its actually pretty simple (and fun!)

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Let’s begin with WHY you should learn all the notes of all the chords.

  • Composition. Knowing what notes are in what chords is going to help you with creating voicings and melodies in your own tunes. Especially if you’re using voice leading )

  • Improvisation. When making licks up on the spot, knowing the notes in each chord progression is going to help you to TARGET chord notes. There are multiple techniques to accomplishing this, but you are going to have a way easier time with it when the chord notes come to you quickly.

  • Jamming. Knowing chords better are going to open up the possibilities of what you can do with them. Including jamming with friends or learning/writing new songs. It’s a skill that you will find affects all aspects of your playing for the better.

Now lets move on to HOW you can remember all the notes in all of the chords (without losing your mind):

  1. Figure out what notes are in every chord. Don’t worry about any kind of 7th, 9ths or #11 chords. Begin with the major and minor triads. If you aren’t sure how this is done, I recommend reading this eBook on Basic Theory for guitar.

  2. Create a table that has all of the notes of every major and minor triad. Don’t know how to do this, or just don’t feel like it? No fear, you can find a pre-made on the e-book that I posted above (in Appendix B)

  3. Work on your chord note recall. I go over this in the video below. It is an easy exercise that can be done anywhere and only needs to be done for just a couple minutes a day. You don’t even need to have a guitar.

After incorporating this exercise into your daily practice, you will find that in at least a few weeks that you will start to remember the notes in every triad. And once you have a solid foundation you will find learning other chords (augmented, diminished, altered etc…) come more naturally to you.

Easy hey? And the best part is that this can be worked whenever and wherever you are. In line at the store, throughout a boring meeting or class, while sitting on the bus. It really is worth a few minutes of your time every day. If you have a friend, you can even have fun quizzing each other.

This works great when used with another exercise I posted on how to learn your notes on the guitar fretboard. Together, these exercises will set you well on your way to getting to know your fretboard very well.

About the Author

Tommaso Zillio is a professional guitarist and guitar teacher. Visit Tommaso’s site to know more about music theory for guitar and visit his YouTube channel for more videos

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