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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.

PUBLISHED: Oct 7, 2013 UPDATED: Feb 17, 2020 • VIEWS: 27 • LESSON CODE: UL42-7e

Instruments: ANY ukulele guitar Subjects: advancedchordstriadstheory

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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.

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.

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For the core 4-part 7, maj7 and m7 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 actually 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.

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.

Alterted Seventh Chords

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

Grab any chord, any shape on the ukulele. And, you can justify every note of the chord as some sort of seventh chord as long as there is not majot 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 justity a major sevemth.

Pretty much works for "jazz" chords and not vary basic folk type chords.

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Related Lessons

Related Lessons for Color Tones and Chords at this time.

The Big Six Core Chords - Level I • Updated: May 15, 2019

The Big Six chords include: Seventh 7, Major Seventh maj7, Minor Seventh m7, Half Diminished Seventh or Minor Seven Flat Five diminished 7 m7b5, Diminished Seventh o7 and Augmented Seventh +7. These six chords form a core set of chords.

Upper Partials and Chord Extensions • Updated: May 15, 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: Mar 3, 2014

The fifth, ninth, eleventh and thirtheenth 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: May 15, 2019

The Big Six Core Chords - F7, four voicings. Learning the locations of the chord intervals - the 1 3 5 b7.

The Big Six Core Chords - F7, four voicings - Chord Tones • Updated: Sep 27, 2019

The Big Six Core Chords - F7, four voicings. Learning the locations of the chord tones - the actual names of the 1 3 5 b7.

The Big Six Core Chords - F7, Four Voicings, Learning Process • Updated: Jun 12, 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: Nov 26, 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 at this time.

A Guide to Advanced Ukulele Chords - Volume I
Updated: Feb 13, 2020

A highly organized and efficient approach to the mysterious subject of advanced chords.

Exploring Jazz Chords on Ukulele
Updated: Nov 24, 2009

Using a variety of common chord progressions based on songs from the standard jazz repertoire.

A Guide to Blues Chord Progressions for Ukulele A to Z
Updated: Jun 15, 2006

26 blues progression in C and G tuning, progressing from basic to advanced jazz progression, with chord grids and substitutions

Related Lesson Files, Resources and Assets

Related Assets for Color Tones and Chords at this time.

Movable 7th Chords for Ukulele Chord Chart - C Tuning
Updated: Dec 31, 2016

A Guide to Advanced Chords Series - Chord Building Chart
Updated: Dec 31, 2016

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