Color Tones and Chords

The most important notes or chord tones in a chord are the notes that contribute most to the actual sound or color of the chord.

Published: 07 Oct 2013 Updated: 20 Dec 2021Visits: 59Code: UL42-7e

Topic: Chords Instruments: ANY ukulele guitar Subjects: Chords • Theory • Advanced • Triads • Color

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Color Tones and Chords

The most important notes or chord tones in a chord are the notes that contribute most to the actual sound or “color” of the chord. For a major or minor triad, the third of the chord performs this function. For other chords, any note that makes it different from other chord types with the same root are the color tones.

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This lesson is a more for less type of lesson exploring what notes are actually important in chords. The best place to start with this concept is 4-part chords and the Big Six Core Chords.

This information is critical when creating your own melody and chord ukulele arrangements and are limited to four, three or two strings to harmonize a melody.

This lesson is a more for less type of lesson exploring what notes are actually important in chords. The best place to start with this concept is 4-part chords and the Big Six Core Chords.

For the core 4-part 7, maj7 and m7 the - the Big Three of the Big Six Core Chords, the color tones are the third and seventh of the chord. The root or letter name of the chord and the fifth for these three chords are the same. Here are the notes of a 7, maj7 and m7 chord using C as the root for each:

As you can see, the C and G are the same for all three chords and don't contribute to the color of the chord.

For the remaining three of the big six chords: the half-diminished seventh (m7b5), diminished seventh (dim7), and augmented seventh (aug7) chords all but the root contribute to the color of the chord.

Color Tones and Chords…

NOTE: The names of the notes of any chord can be derived from the major scale based on the chord's root.

Exploring Color Tones

From the four voicings of the 7, maj7 and m7 chords in the Big Six series of lessons find and only play the thirds and sevenths of the chords - the color tones.

As you might be able to figure out – knowing the names of the notes in ALL your chords and the notes of the fingerboard will go a long way when exploring this approach to chords. You pretty much can not apply any of this without knowing the notes of the fingerboard and, at a minimum, the 15 major scales.

Altered Seventh Chords

A extreme when knowing the names of the chords tones and notes for the ukulele.

Grab any chord, any shape on the ukulele. You can also justify every note of the chord as a seventh chord as long as there is no major seventh interval/chord tone in the chord.

A seventh chord is a 1 3 5 b7 as the basic chord and can have a b9, #9, 11, #11/b5, #5/b13, 13. Just can't justify a major seventh.

Pretty much works for Jazz chords and not very basic folk-type chords.

End of Lesson - Thanks, Hope You Enjoyed It!

Related Lessons

Related Lessons for Color Tones and Chords.

The Big Six Core Chords - Level I

Updated: 15 May 2019

The Big Six chords include: Seventh 7, Major Seventh, Minor Seventh, Half Diminished Seventh or Minor Seven Flat Five diminished 7 , Diminished Seventh and Augmented Seventh. These six chords form a core set of chords.

Upper Partials and Chord Extensions

Updated: 15 May 2019

A chord extension or upper partial are the chord tones above the octave and not one of the fundamental 4-part chord tones. These are the ninths, elevenths and thirteenths of chords. All chord extensions on ukulele will displace a fundamental chord tone. This is even true for guitar with the ability to add the extension to another string.

Chord Alterations

Updated: 03 Mar 2014

The "fifth", "ninth", "eleventh" and "thirteenth" of a chord can be altered. Alterations can be applied 1, 2 and 3 at a time. The alternations give a chord added color or tension.

The Big Six Core Chords - F7, four voicings, Chord Intervals

Updated: 15 May 2019

The Big Six Core Chords - Level I: "F7" is created from the "1 3 5 b7" of the major scale, based on the root of the chord. For "F7" the chord tones are: F A C Eb. This lesson introduces the four "F7" voicings on the string set, strings 1, 2. 3, and 4. The Chords are shown for C Tuning, Low and High G.

The Big Six Core Chords - F7, four voicings - Chord Tones

Updated: 27 Sep 2019

Learning the locations of the chord tones - the actual names of the "F7" chords, the foundation chord for our Big Six Core Chords.

The Big Six Core Chords - F7, Four Voicings, Learning Process

Updated: 12 Jun 2015

The Big Six Core Chords - "F7", four voicings. From shape to chord tones to intervals and back again. Really, learning what a chord is made of.

Chord Spelling - An Alternate Approach

Updated: 26 Nov 2018

An alternate approach to determining the chord tones of any chord. Bottom-line is, it's the notes that make the chord, not the shape. A C chord is C, E, G - NOT this or that shape.

Related Books

Related Books for Color Tones and Chords.

A Guide to Advanced Ukulele Chords - Volume I

Updated: 13 Feb 2020

Beyond learning basic Ukulele chords, most players struggle with advanced chords. Commonly called "jazz" chords, these more sophisticated voicings find a wide use in all forms of music. A Guide to Advanced Chords for Ukulele - presents a highly organized and efficient approach to the mysterious subject of advanced chords. Chord dictionaries are not the answer.

Exploring Jazz Chords on Ukulele

Updated: 20 Apr 2022

Exploring jazz chords using a variety of common chord progressions based on songs from the standard jazz repertoire. Core Chords are the basic set of chords needed to play a wide range of music, in a variety of styles. This set of chords includes basic open position chords, basic movable form chords and the core 4-part "jazz" chords.

A Guide to Blues Chord Progressions for Ukulele A to Z

Updated: 15 Jun 2006

The Blues are at the heart of all American music. It has influenced Country, Rock, Folk, Jazz, Bluegrass and just about every form of American music we listen to today. 26 blues progression in C and G tuning, progressing from basic to advanced jazz progression, with chord grids and substitutions explained.

Related Lesson Files, Resources and Assets

Related Assets for Color Tones and Chords.

Movable 7th Chords for Ukulele Chord Chart - C Tuning

Updated: 31 Dec 2016

A Guide to Advanced Chords Series - Chord Building Chart

Updated: 31 Dec 2016

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