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TOPIC: What is voice leading?

Re:What is voice leading? 13 years 1 month ago #1288

I never thought of music theory as some intellectual exercise but rather learn it to apply it to the music you want to play and take lessons from one song that can be applied to other situations. Something things that you come across you won't use much but the great majority of it is useful. If you want to express a certain mood in your improvisation, you need to know what notes to play over a given chord to express that mood.

A great example of where theory comes in handy is what notes you can play over a given chord. Say you are in the Key of C and your break has two measure of the V (G) chord before leading in the I chord. If you play take the first measure of the V chord and use the G major scale, you can't go wrong in that first measure. However if you end that phrase of the second measure in an F# and then lead to a C, there's a dissonance.

Instead if you play G Mixolydian over second measure of the G chord, you change that F# to an F which then leads nicely back to C because F is the IV of C. Over a G chord, the F note is a flatted 7th and that's a fine note to play in a bluegrass song.

As always, it's a matter of taste.

You already know what G Mixolydian sounds like because Old Joe Clark is G Mixolydian. There's a F in the melody over the G chord if you're playing it in the Key of G.

It's helped me greatly to learn theory by applying the same concepts in simple tunes to more difficult situations. Before I'd learned Stardust, I never played a song in Db before, but looking at the progression and turning it into the Nashville numbering system, it made sense why I was playing those notes over the given chord.

  • OutlawSteph
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Re:What is voice leading? 13 years 1 month ago #1295

Thanks for the tech, Steph. I thought i would draw you out with the question. You started a forum piece on it awhile back, and left me hanging! It seems it's all about the resonance of a piece. More study of scales and modes needed! Between you and Dave, i have it somewhat understood.
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Re:What is voice leading? 13 years 1 month ago #1301

That's great! Take your theory in small bites at first and eventually you'll see the "big picture".

I once had a guitar teacher throw a bunch of scales and modes at me without giving me a framework. I figured out on my own that the framework was the CAGED system. Once you understand CAGED you'll see the whole fretboard and not simply one position. I put aside his lessons and now when I go back to them they make sense.

With CAGED, you learn five positions. An alternate method is three note per string scales and you learn seven positions, starting on the I, II, III, IV, V, VI and VII. I won't go too much into that, just putting it out there for future reference.

Learned CAGED first.

Don't make little dots on fretboard paper like many books do when learning a scale/mode. Instead write this the I, this is the II, this is iii, this is the III and so on. That's my advice. Then when you are learning a mode, you will know exactly which notes to change to play that particular mode. ;)
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