Supplemental Material for Page 6 (Chapter 1)
Amin, Dmin, & Emin
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General info about page 6:
Page 6 introduces minor chords. Minor chords have a different sound than major chords. Generally, we perceive major chords to have a bright, happy quality, while minor chords seem rather dark or sad. As far as practicing this page, there are no surprises if you've already worked on pages 2 and 4. Take the same approach: start by spending lots of time on the top half of the page, and move onto the progressions only when the chords can be formed quickly and comfortably.
About the chord symbols:
"Chord symbol" is a rather clumsy term itself. It simply refers to how a chord is indicated (i.e., written down) on the page. The chord symbols for major chords are simply upper case letters: "C" means to play a C major chord. (The term "major" is usually assumed, and omitted in both print and speech.) For minor chords, some abbreviation of the word "minor" is added. While Sensible Guitar usually uses "min" for clarity, "mi" or "m" (always lower case) is acceptable. In fact, the simple "m" is probably the most common. The use of a minus sign to indicate "minor" seems to be gaining acceptance among publishers. Frankly, it's nuts that there is no single standard for how to indicate "minor" in a chord symbol, but, as with spoken and written language, the conventions change and evolve. Sensible Guitar employs various ways to indicate minor chords to familiarize students with the different chord symbols.
A quick recap on the meaning of the text:
(This is discussed in greater detail on the "Supplemental Material" pages for page 2 and page 4.)
"Play each pair of chords over & over, giving each chord just one strum."
The "just one strum" part is the most important. To maximize the efficiency of your practice time, give one strum and hustle over to the next chord. Give it one strum, and hustle back. Use the CD as a guide. Use a metronome if you have one, and get a metronome if you don't.
"Work on quick, smooth switching from one chord to another."
Really push yourself to move your fingers as quickly as possible. Pay attention not only to forming the chords quickly, but also getting out of the chords as fast as you can. Push yourself.
About the chord progressions:
NOTE: Any chord progression may be played in any "key". While the concept of key is beyond the scope of this discussion, please note that the songs listed below are not necessarily in the same key as the progressions in the book. However, the relationship of one chord to another is the critical similarity to which we refer. The songs noted below may also take liberties with the harmonic rhythm (the exact timing of the chord changes), and they may certainly "dress up" the progressions with musical variations and ornamentation. Also, the artists mentioned are not necessarily the composers, but are artists commonly associated with the given song.
Progression 1 is among the most commonly used in rock music. Just to name a few: It is the basis for "All Along the Watchtower" (Bob Dylan, popularized by Jimi Hendrix), and "Under My Thumb" (Rolling Stones). It is the rocked-out ending part of "Stairway to Heaven" (Led Zeppelin), and the chorus of "Dream On" (Aerosmith). It is also the underlying structure to the famous intro and chorus sections of "Layla" (Eric Clapton).
Progression 2 is another commonly used classic. It is the main section of "Let It Be" (The Beatles), "No Woman No Cry" (Bob Marley), and "When I Come Around" (Greenday).
Progression 3 is the basis for countless hits during the 1950's rock 'n' roll era.
Progression 4 introduces a critical variation on an old favorite: progression 1 from page 4. Note that they are the same, except that here the D is replaced with Dmin. It is, perhaps, most recognizable as "Louie, Louie" (The Kingsmen).
Progression 5 is primarily a workout on the new minor chords, and an ear training exercise. Compare it with the all-major version, progression 1 on page 2. Try to acclimate your ear to the difference in the sound of major and minor chords.
Progression 6 offers a nice workout on the Dmin. Also notice that the C chord is easy to play when it follows Amin, as only the third finger needs to move.
Progression 7 is the same as progression 3, but in a different key!
Progression 8 is a rather pretty ear training exercise. The contrasting qualities of major and minor are clearly illustrated.
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