For this weeks lesson we continued with the “circle of notes” diagram that I wrote about in my last lesson. My instructor Kit likes to call this his “Dr. Seuss” lesson since at first glance it doesn’t quite make sense and I need to trust that it’s going somewhere. This week I learned that this was more than just a memorization exercise to learn the notes backwards and forwards from any given note as I wrote last week. This time, Kit added two new circles (shown below) with different “note spacing” between the notes.
He went on to explain that the top circle is all 2nd’s. A 2nd is a one note distance (A -> B) and how scales are made. The middle circle are 3rd’s and how chords are made (a 3rd is a two note distance, A -> C) , and the last circle is 4th’s and is how you can find chord progressions (a 4th is a three note distance, A -> D).
So, for example if you look at the middle circle and choose a note such as C. You can see the next two notes are E and G. C, E, and G are the notes of an open C chord. Again, if you were to start at G, the notes after G are B and D which are all the notes in an open G chord.
Using the last circle, if you were to start with A, a typical chord progression might be A, D, G. Of course, chord progressions can be whatever you want them to be based on the sound you’re after. If everyone followed specific chord progression rules all songs would sound pretty much the same.
Mostly these diagrams are Kit’s way to help visualize the notes, their distances from each other, and see how they are used. He said that over the next week I should repeatedly say the notes in each circle out loud to help ingrain them into my brain. After that, I should never think about it again because it has done its job… Kit likes to do that, tell you something and then immediately say to never think of it again.
I was also gave me a song to learn, Day Tripper by The Beatles. The opening riff is pretty straight forward and simple as is the chord progression. Here are the tabs to the opening riff:
The chord progression is: F#7 -> A7 -> G#7 -> C#7 -> B7
Kit also gave me a quick listen to the song I’ll be learning next week, Mean City by Johnny Winters. He actually wants me to listen to the song and try to figure out what’s going on without tabs… something that seems extremely daunting to me right now.