Hey, it's me, Jake. And in this lesson, I want to take a look at for seemingly simple chords and analyze them through the lens of Music Theory to help us develop six different strategies. We can use to compose melodies or lead lines on top of those cords. And like I said, the chords are pretty simple. We're just gonna have an E minor G major and a major and a C major and we're just going to Loop those minor G major a major to C major.
Please note, this transcription was computer generated and has not been checked for errors. However, I do hope you find it helpful. Be sure to check out The Ultimate Modal Poster
Before we go any further, I do recommend. You just take a quick pause write those chords down and try to Figure out on your own. What key is that in? How would you approach this as a guitar player or a lead player? What scales are you thinking of and really how would you just generally parse this simple progression now, I'd like to start with the simplest approach and that is to just recognize that everything revolves around this chord E. Minor E. Minor is where things start you miners were things and and the simplest thing you can do. If you don't have a lot of music theory is just rock out. And a tonic minor this is a classic guitar player answer to everything the pentatonic minor scale works in almost every kind of scenario where there is a tonal Center and I went through several examples of that in my video pentatonic possibilities.
So one of the lessons in that video was that pentatonic minor works almost anywhere so over this chord progression just by recognizing that we have a tonal Center at E minor it enables me to think okay, I could get away with playing e pentatonic minor on top of this entire four chord progression.
And it should sound pretty good. Let's take a listen.
Now the backing track I was playing there is one that I produced myself and I actually live stream the whole process of me recording and producing that because I have been getting more requests about production lessons. So instead of uploading them here on to this channel. I am going to be uploading those videos onto a new channel aptly titled Jake lizzio and that video is linked Below in the description. So obviously noodling up and down pentatonic minor works just fine in this scenario, but what if we wanted to take things a step further and we wanted a new tool up and down the natural minor scale. Well, we are going to run into some problems and here's the deal the E minor scale has an e f sharp g a b c d and e and if we look at those chords, we have an E minor chord. We have an F sharp half diminished chord. We have the key. A major chord and a minor B minor asked and of course and hopefully you see that in our original progression three of those chords come straight from the key of E minor the E minor comes from the key of E minor the key is the three chord the C is the 6 chord the odd man out here is this a major a major is not in the key of E minor a major has a c-sharp noted and there is no C sharp note in my key of E minor. We have a little bit of conflict here to resolve that. I want to think about what happens to an E minor scale if I just take all of my see Naturals and turn them into C Sharps instead. What I get is a scale of e f sharp g a b c sharp d and e and that scale is Dorian Andy Dorian would be an excellent choice for scales over that a major chord that a major chord can be thought of as being borrowed from E Dorian so over that a major chord will experiment with doing is Civ lie over that a major chord we will play ye Dorian, but for the rest of the chord progression over those other three chords, we will play the E minor scale a basically we're playing with modal mixture or modal interchange here.
Now I know that was a big step up in complexity going from pentatonic minor to modal mixture. So let's take it back and step down make things a A lot easier one thing we can do is just add in a single note to our pentatonic minor scale to give it a little bit of Dorian flavor. So if we're playing e pentatonic minor and if we just add in the natural sixth see Sharp, we have this little abbreviated Dorian scale, which I really like to use as a soloing device because it's so familiar to my fingers and it's so close to being just regular pentatonic minor. So instead of thinking modal mixture and stuff like that instead this time what I'm To do is go back to just spamming pentatonic minor. I'm going to be noodling pentatonic minor, but every time that a major chord comes up, I will make it a point to really accent that C sharp right here and right there as well to really kind of indicate to The Listener that we're highlighting that a major chord. We're getting a little bit of Dorian flavor in there.
So up until this point we've really been interpreting everything as being the key of E minor and then we're grabbing from a little bit of e Dorian but let's flip everything on its head Let's Pretend We're in the key of E Dorian because three of these chords are in the key of E Dorian e-minor Zin.
Man out in E Dorian. So let's really focus. Let's really promote this Dorian flavor over E minor over the G over the A and then when C comes up will slip into E minor and stead and that'll give us a really different effect than what we had before and now it's going to be mostly Dorian with a little bit of minor instead of mostly minor with a little bit of Dorian.
And if this kind of thing was going on throughout the song I would actually write this in a different key signature. I would really write this with the key signature of D major which is the same as e Dorian and that's less accidentals and it really helps us understand what the lead player should be doing. They should be playing lots of C Sharps over the E minor chord over the G chord over the a chord and it's only when the C chord comes around where the C natural starts coming back. Now, let's put the scales aside a bit and let's instead just focus on the cords themselves the chord tones. And the arpeggios every one of these chords we played only has three notes. So like E minor only has the three notes of the G. Major is just a g b d the c major chord. I'm sorry. A major is just an AC sharp EA C sharp E and the c major chord was just to see so even by just doing this just by playing those arpeggios.
You can hear the chord progression start to develop. Velop in your ear because I'm playing the notes of the chord. So as a so lower if I'm writing melodies or if I'm playing solos and improvising.
Obviously. I want to be thinking about those arpeggios. They're really really great sounding and we can string them together very very easily and as a lead player, I love stringing together arpeggio passages. So let's find a way to do that in a very simple fashion. And that way we have a fun little arpeggio lick. We can throw in to the middle of our pentatonic playing or are Dorian playing E minor for example could just be played like this. We have an E and A G and a b so here's Simple arpeggio shape and we can play it a million ways. You could just do pull-offs like this.
One, two, three. One, two, three. One, two, three. One two, you could do a pull off like that and then it returns like 1234 1234 1234.
You could tap this you could do tap here and then it'll pull off all the way.
So anyway, you want to play these three notes. I really don't care. I just think it's fun to be hanging out on these three notes for the E minor chord when that E minor chord comes up instead of thinking of a full-scale.
Maybe just hang out on three little notes of the E minor arpeggio.
Then when G major comes around look at this. We got the simple little G major shape right here. We've got a g a d and a b, so that'll be my shape that I'm going to go to. I'm just going to land on that when G major comes around when the a major chord pops up. Here's a very simple way to play an A major arpeggio. I've Got Annie. I've got a C sharp and an a those are the three notes of a major and then lastly when the c major chord comes up. Well, here's an E and A G and the C so you can hear the chord progression now.
Coming out of just that simple arpeggio pattern. So I'd like to try to slip some of that into our scale playing here how that actually affects our solo.
Now our last strategy is going to rely on us going deep into our chord progression to try to discover some inherent properties within it that we can help promote and highlight as a lead player or composer and specifically what I'd like to take a look at is some chromatic passage that already occurs within this chord progression in the decoy in the G major chord, which is our second chord in the progression inside that G major chord. There's a denote and then inside the a major chord. There's a C sharp note inside the c major chord.
There's a seat and then what a resolves back to E minor.
So did you hear we have this chromatic passage starting on our second chord? We have a d to a C sharp to a c to a b and if we kind of accent that here if we sing the that's a cool little line that Exist within the voicings of the chords themselves now that I've recognized that I feel like that is a potent little line that I can borrow from and start injecting into my solos at the simplest level. You could just play those four notes and highlight them as those chords come up.
But what I would rather do is kind of embed that descending passage in the middle of a lick somehow. So think of a repeating pattern that keeps repeating itself, but the only thing that changes is that one note that will really catch the listeners ear something very simple like this. Imagine if I'm on they start on the note B and I go kind of up and down my pentatonic scale. All right, so I'm going BD e GE and let's just modify that now so it starts on Addy.
And now let's modify it so it starts on a C sharp.
And let's modify it so it starts on a seat.
So now I've got this one two, and three and four and one two, and three and four and one two, and three and four and one two, and three and four, right? So you can hear that descending passage creeping along its way in there. And if I can incorporate that over the chords, that should sound pretty interesting.
Now this entire question came about because one of my wonderful patreon subscribers had sent the question to me asking. How am I supposed to solo over this chord progression?
And as you can see, there's not one answer to that there's and this isn't even all the answers we could keep going with this kind of stuff all day, but I wanted to just really To briefly describe to you the big areas that I'd be thinking about if I had time to compose, I mean, obviously if you're just throwing the chord progression on stage, you know, you're going to have to think on your feet. But if you do have time to analyze things and really look at the connections between things you can come up with some really good music and some good options. That's why I like this stuff is every one of these sounded different to me and the whole idea of being a good composer is having different options. You don't want everything to be one-dimensional and always sound the same you want to have choices. As you want to be able to say I need to ramp this up to sound more aggressive or less aggressive and you know, if you don't have choices, how are you supposed to compose?
So for me as somebody to look at this chord progression and have kind of six different areas, you know, six different choices that to me is confidence that is empowering them as fun to it means that you know, I can play around something new. It's not going to get stale. I can play around with arpeggios or chromatics. You can see we talked about those embedded chromatics. There's a lot of richness embedded into those simple for little cords. So it's very easy to You know draw the conclusion right away when you see a simple set of major chords and minor chords be like, yeah, it's pop music. It's four chord rock, you know take another look because there's there's sometimes a lot going on in there. So I hope you enjoy this video. I hope you learned something and if you did, please thank my patreon supporters for making these videos possible. They're the only sponsors. I would like to work with at this point and without them these videos would not exist. So thanks for watching and I will see you next time.