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Chord Melody Workout

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Chord Melody Workout, part I by Darrin Koltow

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lessons:

This lesson is a set of exercises for intermediate level guitarists


to improve their chord melody playing. Specifically, these
exercises help you:

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Okay, pause, take a deep breath. Now, continue. The


Chord Melody Workout, or CMW, can also help you:

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Play chord melody arrangements


Flow a melody line over the crucial ii-V7-I progression
Play basic chord substitutions
Train your dog to bake brownies
Teach your fingers to "see" the chords connected to
arpeggios and the arpeggios connected to chords
Find that drill bit that fell behind the workbench last July
Learn how chords work together

Create solos
Apply intervals as chord substitutions
Read a newspaper upside down
Improvise
Learn chord voicings
Navigate the fretboard better
Tell Aunt Sophie what you *really* think about her
Much, much more. Batteries not included.

Let's listen to an example of chord melody playing. Click here


to hear me playing one of the exercises in this article.
How to build chord melody skills?
What exactly do you have to know to play chord melody
arrangements? Let's try this list on for size:

A melody to play

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Chord Melody Workout

Chords to play. This means

chord quality or type, from notated/written charts,


memory, what your ear hears, or a message from God
the voicing of that chord that will put the melody note on
top

How to see, hear and play the melody connected to the


chord, and the chord connected to the melody.

Sounds pretty simple, doesn't it? Let's expand on some of


these points.
Where are we getting our melody? To create CMW, I chose a
super simple but instructive melody: one based on a
continuous arpeggio that runs over a ii-V-I progression. A
melody like this is ideal for writing exercises for a number of
reasons: it's musical, the patterns it uses make it easy to see
the underlying chords; it's easily changeable: you can vary the
rhythm, the starting notes, and lots of other elements.
As for what chords to play, this is explained above. What about
the voicing, though? What does it mean to know the voicing of
a chord that puts the melody on top? That means you can play
a chord shape that fits the harmony, *and* that has the
melody as its top note. At the least, this means, for example,
that I can play four different C7 chords in each CAGED
position: a C7 with the C on top, a C7 with the E on top, and
C7s with the G and Bb on top.
Now, how do you see, hear and play the melody connected to
the chord, and the chord connected to the melody? As I
mentioned, when you're working with a melody that's a simple
arpeggio, getting to the chord shapes from the melody shapes,
and back again, is pretty straightforward. In general, an
arpeggio shape outlines its associated chord shape and vice
versa.
Did I lose you? I hope not, because there's some serious, skill
building, finger licking, toe-tappin', knee-slappin' fun coming,
as we present the CMW workout itself.
The CMW Exercises
The CMW workout contains 40 exercises that build the skills
mentioned a little while ago. This breaks down to 8 for each
CAGED position. The first eight of those 40 are presented here.
These 8 focus on the C major CAGED form. The actual key is F
major.
In each of these exercises you'll be mixing chords and
arpeggios over a I-ii-V-I phrase, developing a strong sense of
the connection between chords and melody, and having a
grand time doing it. You'll no doubt develop your own ideas for

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Chord Melody Workout

more exercises as you work through CMW.


Are you ready now for the first 8 exercises? Here's the tab.
CAGED C (F major)
|-----------------|-----------------|-----------------|---------5--------|
|---------6-------|-------6-8-6-----|-------5-8-5-----|-------6-6-6------|
|-----5-7-5-7-5---|-----7---7---7---|-----5---5---5---|---5-7---5---7-5--|
|---7-----7-----7-|-5-8-----8-----8-|-5-8-----8-----8-|-7----------------|
|-8-------8-------|-5---------------|-7-------7-------|-8----------------|
|-8---------------|-6---------------|-6---------------|-8----------------|
Degree 1, ascending
|-----------------|-----------------|-----------------|------------------|
|-6---------------|-6---------------|-5---------------|------------------|
|-5-7-5-------5-7-|-7-7-----------7-|-5-5-----------5-|-7-5-----------5--|
|-7-----7---7-----|-8---8-5---5-8---|-5---8-5---5-8---|-7---7-------7----|
|---------8-------|---------8-------|---------7-------|-8-----8-5-8------|
|---------5-------|-6-------6-------|---------6-------|---------5--------|
Degree 1, descending
|---------5-------|---------6-------|-------6-8-6-----|-----5-8----------|
|-------6-6-6-----|-----6-8-6-8-6---|---5-8---8---8-5-|---6--------------|
|---5-7---5---7-5-|---7-----7-----7-|-5-------9-------|-7-------7-5------|
|-7---------------|-8---------------|-8-------8-------|-7-------7---7----|
|-8---------------|-5---------------|-7---------------|-8-------8-----8--|
|-8---------------|-----------------|-----------------|------------------|
Degree 3, ascending
|-5---------------|-----------------|-----------------|------------------|
|-6-6-----------6-|-8-6-----------6-|-8-5-----------5-|-6----------------|
|-5---7-5---5-7---|-7---7-------7---|-5---5-------5---|-5-7-5-------5-7--|
|---------7-------|-8-----8-5-8-----|-8-----8-5-8-----|-7-----7---7------|
|---------8-------|---------5-------|-7-------7-------|---------8--------|
|---------8-------|---------6-------|---------6-------|---------5--------|
Degree 3, descending
|-------5-8-5-----|---------6-------|-------6-8-6-----|-----5-8----------|
|-----6---6---6---|-----6-8-6-8-6---|---5-8---8---8-5-|---6--------------|
|-5-7-----7-----7-|---7-----7-----7-|-5-------9-------|-7-------7-5------|
|-7-------7-------|-8---------------|-8-------8-------|-7-------7---7----|
|-8---------------|-5---------------|-7---------------|-8-------8-----8--|
|-----------------|-----------------|-----------------|------------------|
Degree 5, ascending
|-8-5-----------5-|-6---------------|-6---------------|-5----------------|
|-6---6-------6---|-6-8-6-------6-8-|-5-8-5-------5-8-|-6-6-----------6--|
|-7-----7-5-7-----|-7-----7---7-----|-5-----5---5-----|-5---7-5---5-7----|
|-7-------7-------|---------8-------|-5-------8-------|---------7--------|
|---------8-------|---------5-------|---------7-------|---------8--------|
|-----------------|-----------------|-----------------|---------8--------|
Degree 5, descending
|-----5-8---------|-----------------|-----------------|------------------|
|---6-------------|-----------------|---------5-------|---------6--------|
|-7-------7-5-----|---------7-------|-------5-5-5-----|-----5-7-5-7-5----|
|-7-------7---7---|-----5-8-8-8-5---|---5-8---8---8-5-|---7-----7-----7--|
|-8-------8-----8-|-5-8-----------8-|-7---------------|-8-------8--------|
|-----------------|-6-------6-------|-6---------------|-5----------------|
Degree 6, ascending
|-----------------|---------------6-|-8-6-----------6-|-8-5-----------5--|
|-----------------|-----------6-8---|-8---8-5---5-8---|-6---6-------6----|
|-7-5-----------5-|-7-------7-------|-9-------5-------|-7-----7-5-7------|
|-7---7-------7---|-8-8-5---8-------|-8-------8-------|-7-------7--------|
|-8-----8-5-8-----|-------8---------|---------7-------|---------8--------|
|---------5-------|-6-------6-------|-----------------|------------------|
Degree 6, descending

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Chord Melody Workout

How did it go? Before you move ahead, make sure you can play
this smoothly with a metronome, and that it *feels* right to
you.
Once you've mastered the first 8 exercises, take a look at a
summary of the remaining exercises. Use this table as a
checklist.

Progression
No.

CAGED
Form

Starting note
(from chord
tones 1, 3, 5,
and 6)

Ascending

Descending

Ascending

Descending

Ascending

Descending

Ascending

Descending

Ascending

10

Descending

11

Ascending

12

Descending

13

Ascending

14

Descending

15

Ascending

16

Descending

17

Ascending

18

Descending

19

Ascending

20

Descending

21

Ascending

22

Descending

23

Ascending

24

Descending

25

Ascending

26

Descending

27

Ascending

28

Descending

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Direction (ascending
or descending)

Chord Melody Workout

29

Ascending

30

Descending

31

Ascending

32

Descending

33

Ascending

34

Descending

35

Ascending

36

Descending

37

Ascending

38

Descending

39

Ascending

40

Descending

You can find the tab for the remaining exercises on TrueFire.
com. The price is only one dollar. Click here to check it out.
Before you take off, remember you can contact me with *any*
questions you have, unless the topic is the Physics of Flan or
something like that. Have fun!

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