Chords - What are they and where do they come from?

I think we all know the importance of chords when it comes to making music, but to really play well it helps to understand how chords work and how the notes in them are selected.

They form the main structures of any piece of music. As a player who has taken part in more recording sessions than I care to remember, I tell you that never once was I given a 'scale chart' or a 'mode chart' to follow. Just chord charts showing the progression of the piece. More often than not, that's all that's needed to let the players know what they can and cannot play. If specific lines are needed, they are written out, but not so harmonies and filler lines, phrases, riffs, solos. They are usually left up to the players, who hopefully know how to make sense of the chord progressions and deliver the goods. If they can't, they don't get called back.

But just where do chords come from? If you're one of those players who has learned a bunch of chords without knowing what they are actually are or where they came form, you might find the video I put together for my site helpful. Music theory is not essential to learn in order to play guitar, but it certainly helps. It wasn't until I started looking in to the whys and wherefores (back in the 1970s) that I really started to progress as a player.

This video is part of my Plain English Music and Guitar Primer that I put together for my site. It's normally part of the 'upgraded membership' part of the course, but I've made this movie free for the next week or so. I think you'll find it enlightening if you're new to the fundamentals of music theory.

You can watch the video at:

Enjoy the lesson!

Kirk Lorange

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