Diatonic Chords Muse-eek  Bruce Arnold

Diatonic Chords

Physical and Aural Training

"Diatonic Chords" contains a series of technical exercise and should be thought of as the next volume after "Hearing Chord Progressions." The "Hearing Chord Progressions" course covered many possible ways for one chord to move to another but it did not cover the diatonic chords of various scales and modes. By singing and playing through these exercises, your knowledge of the diatonic chords will really deepen.

This course contains lots of exercises that teach you to hear and play the diatonic chords of the following scales: Major, Melodic Minor Ascending and Harmonic Minor. Because these exercises are shown in all keys, you can use them in any of the related modes of these scales. Specifically, the exercises will work over these modes:

  • Ionian
  • Dorian
  • Phrygian
  • Lydian
  • Mixolydian
  • Aeolian
  • Locrian
  • Melodic Minor Ascending
  • Dorian b2
  • Lydian #5
  • Lydian b7
  • Mixolydian b6
  • Locrian Natural 2
  • Altered
  • Harmonic Minor
  • Mixolydian b2,b6

Diatonic Chords

Diatonic chords and their associated arpeggios are frequently used in melodies and in improvisation. Diatonic chords are also common to most songs. Therefore knowing them is extremely important because they will help you to memorize songs, hear the chords of tunes, create melodies based on the diatonic arpeggios and outline the diatonic chords via these same arpeggios. Just to give you an idea of how prevalent diatonic chords are in contemporary music take a look at this link which shows you a tiny sample of songs that use the four diatonic chords: I, vi, ii, V. You can see that it is crucial for you to be able to understand, hear and play diatonic chords if you are going to understand the music you hear every day

Why is this course different?

In most courses on Diatonic Chords only one way of playing the chords via arpeggios is given. But chords and arpeggios can be played in various inversions and using various voicings, so not covering these possibilities is doing a great disservice to the student.

This course gives you exercises using the various inversions of a seventh chord and also the diatonic chords written out as "drop two" voicing arpeggios. if you are unfamiliar with the versions of a seventh chord and idea of "drop two," the following list shows you how you could play a C major seven chord in the four inversions and as a drop two arpeggio

  • Root position C Major seven chord: C, E, G, B
  • First inversion C Major seventh chord: E, G, B, C
  • Second inversion C Major seventh chord: G, B, C, E
  • Third inversion C major seventh chord: B, C, E, G
  • Drop two voicing of C major seventh chord: G, C, E, B

The "MetroDrone"

The "MetroDrone" is included in this course in order to help you to create a key center when you are singing through the exercises. If you are unfamiliar with the "MetroDrone" it is a versatile music education tool that can really make a difference in your musicianship. Not only does it aid in your aural training but it also helps you to develop the ability to feel time, as opposed to counting time.

The Exercises

Using the idea presented above, i.e. playing each diatonic chord in either root, first, second or third inversion along with exercises arpeggiating the diatonic chords using "drop two" forms, the student is presented with a wide range of exercises.

96 Permutations of Four Notes

A seven note scale would have seven diatonic chords. If these chords are played as arpeggios there would be 96 ways to play these arpeggios. This is the backbone of the exercises found in this course. By working through various exercises that employ the use of these 96 possible combinations a student develops the ability to use diatonic chords in a very robust and musical way. Furthermore the use of "drop two" arpeggios and their 96 permutations gives guitarist, pianists and solo line instrumentalists very angular yet musical ways of playing the diatonic chords.

Add "Diatonic Chords" to your practice regimen today!

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