What’s going on everyone!? Welcome to another installment of Axe of Creation here at the wonderful Gear Snobs. In Part I, we looked at some stellar new chord voicings so let’s jump right in where we left off and look at some “tension” harmonies.
The first bit of tension we’re going to add in will be from the diminished family. Since we have been playing in the Key of D, let us add our tensions off of A, the fifth or Dominant, of the key. We are going to alter it a little and color it with a b9 sound. A nifty little trick is to play a diminished chord on every chord tone in A7, except its root A. As you can see below, we are creating an A7b9 (1 3 5 b7 b9) sound, and all of the diminished chords contain the same 4 notes, just in a different order (voicing).
Now, the next bit of tension to be added is an Augmented Chord. For you uneducated swine out there, that means the 5th of the chord is raised a step, giving you a #5th. Think Lord of the Rings or The Simpsons. Anyway, this chord doesn’t exist in D Major so we’ll have to borrow is from somewhere. Hmm…I know! We looked at a lot of great G voicings in Part I, so let’s borrow a chord from G Melodic Minor (Parallel Minor)! Within that key, you’ll find BbAug or Maj7th#5. Fantastic! Augmented chord, just like Diminished, move symmetrically as well, specifically by Major 3rds. (Diminished moving by Minor 3rds.) Below you’ll see a couple of the Augmented chords we will be using.
Now, let’s put it all together! We’ll start with some (hopefully) familiar D Major voicings then we will add in our A7b9 sound with a couple of diminished chords. These chords are great for transitioning between chords, as we’re doing now. Those tensions move nicely to some (hopefully) familiar G Major chords. You may have noticed how potent Augmented chords can sound on their own but notice how, not only, smoothly these chords fit in but how easily they transition back to D Major.
That wraps up part two of our July lessons. I hope you dig these chord voicings. Don’t worry about stringing together long passages of chords. Simply put, we took a two chord vamp (G-D) and added in some diminished tension (A7b9) and Augmented Tension (BbAug) in between them. As always, let me know what you come up with and I’ll see you next month.
Gregory Arthur is Axe of Creation, a Gear Snob, and a Father of Two. He challenges you to become uncomfortable with yourself in attempts to gain a new perspective. Never give your energy away to what you’re not. Focus on what resonates within you and bring forth in creation.
Stalk me at any social media @axeofcreation