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: Jan 5, 2016 Visits: 2

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 chords. 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.

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