Slash and Burn – Creating More Complex Sounds With Slash Chords

Hello all,

.

I wanted to take a break from the excerpts from the modes book I’ve been posting and post a lesson that’s based on material from my new Harmonic Combinatorics Book.  In that book, I have an entire section about using triads and 7th chords to create more complex sounds.

.

Here’s the two sentence synopsis:

  • Playing a minor chord (or arpeggio) a 1/2 step below a major triad implies a Lydian sound by giving you upper chord tensions (7, 9, #11) of that major chord. (i.e. B minor/C).
  • Playing a minor chord (or arpeggio) a step above a minor triad implies a Dorian sound by giving you the upper chord tensions (9, 11, 13) of the minor chord. (i.e. playing B minor over A minor).

.

Seeing (and making sense of ) the bigger picture:

.

When beginning players see a 3rd position C major chord they see something like this:

.

.

But an experienced player sees something more like this:

.


.

One of the secrets to seeing more of the fretboard is to see chord tones relationally.  I’ll show you how to do that by applying some of the approaches from a previous Triad Transformation lesson:

.

Taking a C major chord:

.

C Major Triad

.

(here’s a reference chord):

.

.

Lowering the root a 1/2 step gives you a major 7 chord:

.

C Major 7

.

C Major 7:

.

.

Lowering the 3rd a 1/2 step gives you a 9th.  Since there’s no other 3rd in the chord – this becomes a slash chord of G Major over C (written G/C).  It has a lot of the sound of a major 9th chord – but because it’s missing the 3rd it really only implies the tonality.

.

G / C

.

G/C:

.

.

If you want this to sound like a Major 9th, we’ll need to add a 3rd in as well.

.

C Major 9

.

C Maj 9

.

.

Lowering the 5th a 1/2 step gives us the #4 (aka the # 11).  Here I’ve kept the 3rd to make it a Major 9 (#11) chord.

.

C Major 9 (#11)

.

C Maj 9 (#11)

.

.

Notice that if we lower the root  a 1/2 step – we have a B minor triad:

.

B Minor

.

So, as a short cut,  playing a B minor over C we imply the sound of a C major  9 (#11) chord without having to memorize a separate voicing.

.

Melodic Application

This extends into lead playing as well.  Rather than just playing a C major arpeggio over a C chord, here I’ve replaced the bottom note of a B minor arpeggio with a C and resolved it to C:

.

B min / C  or C Lydian Lick

.

C Lydian lick (louder than the chord mp3s- FYI):

.

.

Here’s another chord voicing of B minor/C:

.

B minor / C

.

When I see voicings that use the middle notes of the 7th fret,  I generally try to think of ways to incorporate harmonics into it.  In this example, I’ve added harmonics in to fill out a B minor arpeggio with some encircling to resolve it to C. I forgot the fermata on the first chord – but you’ll figure it out when you hear the mp3.

.

B min / C aka C Lydian Lick 2

.

C Lydian Lick 2:

.

.

Now we’ll take this in a different direction:  playing B minor over A minor implies a cool A minor 13 sound.  I’ve added an A to lick #1, and a semi-chromatic run that skips the 3rd and makes it a more open sound.

.

B min / A min – A Dorian Lick

.

B min/A Dorian Lick:

.

.

I’ve resolved the lines to the root notes of the chords I’m playing over – but you may want to stay on a tension depending on the context.

.

With any approach like this – always use your ears as a guide for what sounds good and what doesn’t.

.

The Quiz:

Did you notice anything about the C major voicings?  Using a B minor triad doesn’t take it to the 13th.

.

In any chord tone voicing, raising the 5th a step gives you the 6th (if no 7th is in the chord) or  (in this case) the 13th  So using our initial voicings, the easiest way to bring in the 13th is to raise the G on the high E string to A.

.

B min 7 / C Implying C maj 13 (#11)

.

.

Looking at at a little deeper,

if we fully spell out this chord:

  • C (root)
  • E (3rd)
  • G (5th)
  • B (7th)
  • D (9th)
  • F# (#11) and
  • A (13)

.

the top 3 notes form a D major chord.  As a modified rule for playing over a major chord:

.

  • Playing a minor chord (or arpeggio) a 1/2 step below a major triad implies a Lydian sound by giving you upper chord tensions (7, 9 and #11) of that major chord. (i.e. B minor/C).
  • Playing a major chord (or arpeggio) a step above a major triad also implies a Lydian sound by giving you the upper chord tensions (9, #11 and 13) of the minor chord. (i.e. playing D/C).

.

As with any material here, pay attention to the 3 T’s (Timing, (hand) Tension and Tone) and just go through the lesson at your own pace and return to it as you need to.

.

I hope this helps and as always, thanks for reading!

.

-SC

.

P.S. If you like this post – you may also like:

.

MAKING MUSIC OUT OF SCALES

SOME USEFUL ONLINE PRACTICE TOOLS

.

GETTING HIPNESS FROM A MAJOR TRIAD OR MORE CHORD RECYCLING PART 3

GETTING HIPNESS FROM A MAJOR TRIAD OR MORE CHORD RECYCLING PART 2

GETTING HIPNESS FROM A MAJOR TRIAD OR MORE CHORD RECYCLING PART 1

.

GETTING THROUGH THE GIG – NEGOTIATING A CHORD CHART PART 3

GETTING THROUGH THE GIG – NEGOTIATING A CHORD CHART PART 2

GETTING THROUGH THE GIG – NEGOTIATING A CHORD CHART PART 1

.

RECYCLING CHORDS PART II: TRIAD TRANSFORMATION

RECYCLING CHORDS PART I OR WHERE’S THE ROOT?

.

FAVORED CURRY OR SPICING UP CHORD SCALES AND TRIADS PART 2

FAVORED CURRY OR SPICING UP CHORD SCALES AND TRIADS PART 1

A BRIEF THOUGHT ABOUT MUSIC THEORY

.

One thought on “Slash and Burn – Creating More Complex Sounds With Slash Chords

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s