Music Theory

Music theory

  • The Phrygian Mode - Theory, Licks, Charts and Shapes

    You'll find in this blog post several cheat sheets for guitarists about the Phrygian mode, third mode of the major scale. These infographics are related to the YouTube video below. They show how this minor scale is built, how to play it on guitar, what are the related chords, how to use it over common chord progressions, etc.

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  • Dorian Mode Tutorial - Theory, Shapes, Chords, Scales, Arpeggios & Licks

    This blog post contains free cheat sheets (infographics) for guitar players about the Dorian mode. You will find useful information on how to play chords, arpeggios and minor licks directly related to this minor scale.

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  • Major Scale Aka Ionian Mode - YouTube Video - Cheat Sheets For Guitar - Scales, Chords, Patterns and Licks

    Here are some free cheat sheets for guitar teachers and students about the Ionian mode aka The Major Scale. Here, you'll find chord and scale shapes with easy patterns and licks related to the Ionian mode.

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  • 14 Types of Minor Scales & Modes For Guitar - Shapes and Theory

    This guitar lesson sheds light on the different types of minor modes and scales that can be used in jazz music. They are built with different combinations of intervals starting on different steps of several scales as the major scale, the melodic minor, the harmonic minor, the harmonic major, the pentatonic scale and the bebop scale. 

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  • Best Jazz Guitar Books - Buyer's Guide

    The world of jazz guitar books can be a daunting and overwhelming experience for the beginning guitarist. There are literally thousands of books on jazz guitar, many with similar content and information.

    Some books are better suited to learning chords, while others are designed to enhance reading skills, still others are meant to teach improvisation concepts. Some books attempt to cover all of these bases. Some of the most useful are collections of transcribed solos and etudes.

    Fortunately for you, I have been studying jazz guitar for 15 years and have practiced and taught from many of the best jazz guitar books available on the market.

    Whether your focus is developing a strong sense of rhythm, building your improvisational skills, mastering a wide range of chord voicings, progressions, and substitutions, or understanding the theory that ties all of it together, you can use this list of the best jazz guitar books to help guide your path!

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  • 28 Ways of Playing a Dominant 7 Chord On Guitar

    Dominant 7 chords are surely the most important to know when you want to try your hand at jazz guitar. These chords are very present in jazz and blues tunes, that's why it is crucial to know them at your fingertips.This quick lesson show 28 dominant 7 guitar shapes based on drop 2, drop 3 and drop 2-4 voicings. 

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  • Cluster Chords On Guitar - Theory And Exercises With Tabs

    This guitar lesson with tabs and theory is about cluster chord voicings. These are chords in which at least two notes are grouped together in order to create a sort of dissonance.

    Cluster chords are sometimes quite difficult to play on guitar but they have a very interesting sound widely used in comtemporary jazz and neo-soul music.

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  • "THE LICK" - Guitar Lesson With Exercises

    "The Lick" is considered as the most famous phrase in jazz music (and also in other styles). It has been played so many times, by so many players, in so many tunes that it has become a cliche.

    Although there are a significant number of common jazz lines, this one is surely the most popular, an essential part of the Bebop language. 

    This guitar lesson with tabs, charts and theory explains what is "The Lick", how it is built and how to apply it in different harmonic contexts.

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  • I VI II V Turnaround Variations - Lesson With Guitar Tabs & Theory

    Turnarounds are a section of two or four bars at the end of a tune. Their role is to create a harmonic transition going back to the beginning. They are present in many jazz tunes and are an important part of "rhythm changes" progressions. They are also used to create effective jazz intros and endings.

    This lesson with guitar tabs contains 17 exercises to gain a better understanding of the I VI II V variations.


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  • Basic Jazz Guitar Chords - Guide For Beginners

    Jazz guitar chord voicings present a real challenge for beginners. Many guitarists think they need to know a lot of complicated chords with unpronounceable names to play jazz. But, the truth is that jazz guitar chords are based on easy shapes that you can move anywhere on the guitar neck.

    These basic chords are divided into several distinct qualities (minor 7 , major 7 , dimininished 7 , half-diminished, dominant 7). They can be altered or enriched with extra tones as explains in this tutorial.

    By studying the basic chord voicing shapes in this lesson you will understand how jazz chords are built, how to play them on guitar and how to apply them to any jazz standard or chord progression.

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  • Triad Pairs For Jazz Guitar - Theory, Tabs, Exercises

    The triad pair system is a technique used by many jazz improviser to build modern improvised lines. It consists of playing two adjacent triads from a scale. The most used are from the major diatonic system, however it is possible to use triad pairs from other scales as melodic minor, harmonic minor and harmonic major. This guitar lesson with tabs, shapes and theory is focused on triad pairs from the major scale only.

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  • Jazz Guitar Chords - Theory And Basic Shapes - Essential Guide

    This lesson explains how jazz chords are built and how to play them on guitar using common positions. This will help you understand, identify, build and play one of the most important types of chords.

    All the shapes proposed in this tutorial are movable and playable anywhere on the fretboard. So, try to play them in all twelve keys.

    To simplify learning, the voicings used in this course ensure that the root is always the lowest note, either on the sixth, fifth or fourth string. In other words, there are no chords with third, fifth, seventh or any other note in the bass.

    Don't hesitate to create your own chord positions. In the meantime, take a look at the following essential chord shapes proposed below, classified into four distinct categories :

    • TRIADS
      • (major, minor, augmented, diminished, sus4 and sus2). 
    • SEVENTH CHORDS (aka tetrads)
      •  (maj7, min7, dom7, m7b5, dim7, minMaj7, maj7#5, 7b5, 7#5).
      • (maj6, min6).
      •   (min9, maj9, 9, 6/9, 7#9, 7b9, m11, maj11, 11, m13, maj13, 13, 7b13)

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  • Intervals on Guitar - Shapes and Theory

    Whether simple or compound intervals are a very important part of  music theory. Knowing them allow understand how scales, arpeggios and chords are built. Intervals are useful tools to visualize the notes and understand their relationships on the guitar fretboard. This lesson with downloadable pdf, guitar shapes and theory will help you better figure them out and play them on guitar.

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  • Harmonization of the Harmonic Minor Scale - Guitar Shapes & Theory

    This lesson dedicated to the harmonic minor scale explains how to build drop 2 and drop 3 seventh chords from it. This action which consists in stacking notes in interval of thirds starting on each tone of a scale is commonly called "harmonization".

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  • Blues Progressions For Jazz Musicians - 11 Forms With Analysis & Audio Files

    Jazz blues chord forms

    Jazz blues progressions are very common in jazz music however, there is a lot of twelve-bar blues variations based on the typical form.You will see in this lesson how to incorporate major and minor II V I sequences and turnarounds in order to make evolve a basic blues progression. Each chord changes chart contains roman numeral analysis to facilitate transposing them in any key.


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  • Diatonic Guitar Dyads - Lesson With Shapes - Music Theory

    What is a Dyad?

    A dyad is a two-note chord, a pair of notes played at the same time. These two notes are separated by an interval. Considering there are different types of intervals, there are therefore different types of dyads.

    What's an Interval in Music?

    An interval is the distance between two notes. It can be melodic or harmonic.

    Is a Dyad can be considered a Chord?

    A chord must contain, at a minimum, 3 notes. As its name implies a dyad is made of only two pitches. So, a dyad is considered as being an interval, not a chord.

    What's a Diatonic Scale?

    A diatonic scale is built with of half and whole steps. The term diatonic comes from the ancient Greece. In western music a diatonic scale is based on five whole steps and two half-steps that can be ordered in many specific ways. The best known is the diatonic major scale based on the formula W - W - H - W - W - W - H which means Whole-Step | Whole-Step | Half-step |  WholeStep | Whole-Step |  Whole-Step | Half-Step.

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