10. Applied Chord Theory

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10. Applied Chord Theory Empty 10. Applied Chord Theory

Post  James on Tue Jun 15, 2010 1:25 am

Right after I talked to you the other day I started figuring out how to play Strawberry Fields. I cheated and looked the chords up on a tab, that happened to be spot on.


Learn that. None of the chords are too hard, and you can kinda fudge them anyway.

It's written pretty much perfectly, but let's see if we can't fuck with it anyway. The first thing we need to do is figure out what scale it's in. Seeing as every section resolves to A, it's a pretty safe bet that that's the key. Now lets look at some of the other chords. A, D, E, F#m, G6. Let's look at their notes (AC#E), (DF#A), (EG#B), (F#AC#), (GBDE). The only odd looking thing is there's a G and G# present. Knowing that bVII chords can be pretty popular, lets just assume G# is our diatonic 7th, and the G6 chord is an anomaly.

This makes our scale (A-B-C#-D-E-F#-G#-A). If you check the intervals, you'll see it's A major.

So now that we know what scale we're in, let's assign each chord a chord symbol.

A = "I"
Asus = "Isus"
D = "IV"
E = "V"
Emaj7 = "Vmaj7"
E7 = "V7"
F#m = "vi"
F#7 = "vi7"
F#/Gbm7 = "vim7"
G6 = "bVII6"

(I'm not sure why "F#/Gbm7" is labeled as such. Normally the slash means "this root note/on this chord". F# is the same as Gb. I dunno, just think of it as a F#m7.)
(G6 is called such because it's just a major chord with a sixth thrown in.)

Now we see the chorus follows this pattern:
(The chord symbols were spaced about the same as they are on the tab when I typed them. I guess the forum just doesn't like lots of spaces. You can get the timing by checking the tab.)

Let me take you down cause I'm going to Strawberry Fields

vi7 IV vi7
Nothing is real. And nothing to get hung about.

Strawberry fields forever.

The verses go something like this:

V Vmaj7 V7
Living is easy with eyes closed,

vi IV Isus
Misunderstaning all you see.

IV V I vi V
It's getting hard to be someone but it all works out.

It doesn't matter much to me.

Now that you're looking more at the relative pattern of the chords than the chords themselves, you can easily transpose this song into any key. But why stop there.

Let's apply major/minor substitutions. Try playing the chorus like this:

vi (in place of "I") bVII6
Let me take you down cause I'm going to Strawberry Fields

I (in place of "vi") ii (in place of IV) vi7
Nothing is real. And nothing to get hung about.

Strawberry fields forever.

For "vi" use the provided F#m chord, for "ii" try this Bm chord (x20x02). Same song, different character. Try other chords. Borrow chords from any of the A minor scales. Fux wid it.

(Note how 7th chords are always a hair away from their triads. An m7 is only a step away from the octave, a M7 is a half-step. Chords on guitar usually have repeated octaves of notes, especially the root. Converting a chord to a seventh version is a simple as sliding one finger an inch.)
Abbazabba, you're my only friend
Abbazabba, you're my only friend

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