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Fiddle Lessons: Numbering Chords

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we've been through the model stuff a
little bit and now we're going to really
get into the nitty gritty of how chords
move, how they work.
It's not that difficult but it is.
For the, an instrument like this that we
don't really play chords it can be kind of
a mystifying thing at first, until we just
sorta get the, get the general idea.
But, we're gonna start with a,
a tune that gets played a lot in
bluegrass, a very simple tune.
And, it's got this sort of classic chord
movement, classic chord progression.
A nine pound hammer.
A nine pound hammer is a little too heavy
for my size, buddy for my size.
All right, so it's got one of the most
common chord progressions in Western
When I say chord, I mean any group of
three or
more notes that combine to make the
feeling of a chord.
We can spell out a chord, we can say,
okay, a G chord.
Right, all right.
We can use our arpeggio to spell that
chord out.
And we can play most of it,
and give the feeling of a chord just by
playing two adjacent strings.
That's, gives the feeling of a G chord.
that gives the feeling of a G chord just
It gives you, the very
Strong feeling of a G chord.
So we are somewhat capable of doing this
there's a whole bunch of stuff you can do
for backing up and, and
playing chords that we're gonna get into
later also.
But for now, this nine pound hammer is a
little too heavy.
So this nine pound hammer, that first
phrase it's we're gonna say that we're
gonna do this in G, the key of G which is
a pretty common key for this tune.
So our home key is G, we're in the key of
G generally, so that's our one chord.
It's, when we number chords it's like
numbering scales and
it's just about what key we're in.
The, if, if we're in the key of G,
the one chord is gonna be G, just as if we
were in the key of G.
And that one note would be G.
So, we can play a G chord.
Right, and then, we go to there's nine man
it's a little too heavy.
We go to the four chord,
which is an incredibly common chord to use
with the one chord.
It kinda goes away.
We're on the one planet for a while and
then we go to the four plants.
Right, its that feeling of.
That, that feeling of the four which you
know and love, have heard a lot and that's
that relationship
is hugely important in just about every
kind of western music.
So what would our four chord if we're in
the key of G.
It's gonna be, we can use our instrument
to count up here.
It's the same as the four note in the
[SOUND] one, [SOUND] two, [SOUND] three,
[SOUND] It's the C chord.
We play our arpeggio C.
And then and the tune, [INAUDIBLE] hammer.
It's a little two-four chord.
Back to the one.
And then a little bit of a five chord.
Okay, we count up from one, one, two,
three, four, five.
[SOUND] And the five chord.
Is the D chord, so G.
And D.
If I just play G, C, and D together.
You can hear that relationship and
we hear that relationship all over the
And just about every tune, especially
it's pretty darn common, it's about the
most common thing that you have,
is that nice one, four, and five, and how
we mix those one, four and
five chords together to get the feeling of
movement and drama and music.
So, okay, so we got the one
Throw on one, then to the four,
back to the one, then the five, back to
the one.
So, we're feeling that pull, you know?
It's, it's, it's like when we go from the
One is like home, we're at home.
And then we go over to the fourth like,
it's almost like a question or something
like that it's like.
It's like okay, somethings we're,
we're in we're kind of walking over this
place that has sort of a slope to it.
And we're, you know, it's like it a kind
of question.
And then we come back to the one, back
And then we go all the way up to
And that's really,
we're up there in the five chord and
it's, it's feeling, wow, like something's,
it's gotta go somewhere.
It's like.
And where it wants to go, of course,
[SOUND] That gravity,
that tone gravity, it wants to bring us
back to the one.
And that is a very common [SOUND].
You hear that everywhere from Mozart right
up until you know,
whoever's on the radio right this minute.
So that is hugely common, if we can get
the feeling and
the idea that the, the five likes to go
back to the one.
We like to go a little bit away from the
chord from the one with the four,
and we can come back.
all these tunes start making sense as sort
of grid, you know, this,
this constant grid that that you just that
you just keep going around.
So with the Nine Pound Hammer,
we're gonna be doing the one
And the four.
And the one.
Back to the five.
Back to the one.
So, okay, what happens when we change
Well, it's all the same relationships,
just like those scales.
Those scales have the same relationships
within each scale.
Even though we're starting on different
notes, all the notes are the same distance
from each other, all the numbers make
sense in relation to each other.
So if we move Nine Pound Hammer to, for
let's just move the whole thing up to A,
Nine Pound Hammer in A.
So, all of a sudden, our one chord, we're
in the key of A, so
our one chord becomes A.
And we play our.
Our four chord is gonna become what?
We count up, one, two, three, four, we
A D chord.
So all of a sudden, the D chord, when we
were in the key of G, the D chord
was the five, but now that we're in the
key of A, the D chord is the four.
It's all a geometric relationship,
which stays the same, we're just moving it
Okay, so we have A, the one.
D the four.
And then back to the one.
And then the five.
Okay, count up to one, two, three, four,
It's has to be an E, so A, D, and E,
are on one, four, and five chords in the
key of A.
That's our E five chord.
So, you can see how these geometric grids,
and they, you can move around, all over
the neck.
And the numbers, you know, the, the,
the note names change but the numbers all
stay the same.
And you know that if you're in the key of
A, that four chord is always gonna be a D.
It's five chords, always gonna be a E, if
you're in A.
If you go to the if you go to the key of
That one is always gonna be E.
The four is gonna be.
The five is gonna be B.
Just one up from four and
then back to four and then back to one.
So we can do this with every key.
The one, four, five.
How, how those relate.
And this is this actually would be a great
thing to do
is to just jot down on a piece of paper
starting with your.
Starting with G and
then go right up the scale.
G, the 1-4-5 of G is G.
C, D.
Okay, what is it in A?
It's A, D, E.
And you'll see that as you make this chart
how this,
these relationships, they are like little
geometric patterns.
And and you can rely on this stuff you
know once you've kind of memorized that
okay, F F one four and five, F is B flat
and C, that's always going to be the same.
So once you kind of get this, you've
really got it.
So we're going to play Nine Pound Hammer
in three different keys,
we're going to play it in G, A.
And D and we're gonna go through that
those one four and five cords and you
can see how those relationships sound the
same even though we're in different keys.
Okay, here's Nine Pound Hammer in G with
one four and five cords.
One, two, three.
Here's Nine Pound Hammer in A,
with our same one, four, and five cards,
but move to the key of A.
One, two, three.
And here's Nine Pound Hammer in D.
One, four, and five chords.
D being the one.
G being the four, and A being the five.
One, two, three.
Okay, this is a huge subject,
really important, so I want to see
something that tells me you're
on your way to understanding this in a
effective way.
So, what I want you to do first is just
make a video where you're just playing the
bass line,
the bass notes to Nine Pound Hammer,
Do it in three keys.
It's just very simple it would just be
So, that do it in G, like we just did it.
In D I think yes.
That would be good.
G and D and I also want you
to play me the circle of fourths.
Just the the, the, one note, the circle of
so four notes per key.
So if you started on G, it would start.
B flat.
To E flat.
A flat.
D flat.
E flat.
And so forth,
all the way through four notes per each
key and you could go up.
You could just go straight up.
Or you could start up.
You could start up here.
Wherever you do it,
four notes per four notes per chord, just
going around once and
just it' s going to be a very quick video,
but it,
it's good to you know, get you thinking
about it and
get you finding places to, where those
notes happen.
And you'll start seeing this little
geometric relationships on the neck and
that, that's what I want you to do.
Find those geometric patterns that
help you figure out how to get around the
circle force really fast.