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Jazz Sax Lessons: Basic Ear Training: Hearing Chord Types

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[MUSIC]
Okay, let's train our ears
now to hear different chord types.
And so for this lesson I wanna
work on three chord types.
I wanna work on the major sound,
I wanna work on the minor sound and
the dominant sound.
As I've mentioned in other lessons,
a good 75% or
more of the chords your going to
be seeing, going to be playing,
going to be dealing with are either minor,
or major, or dominant.
Of course there are other kinds of chords,
we've already covered quite a few.
And as you can see down my curriculum,
there's all kinds of chords that
are there at your disposal.
But for where we are here,
I want to make sure that you can hear and
train yourself to hear these
three different kinds of chords.
So, so give a listen.
I want to play them on
a piano a little bit, and
I also want to play them on my horn so
you can hear them linearly.
Because again, as a saxophone player,
you want to make sure you're
able to hear of course not just blocked,
but also in a line like a melody.
So, listen to the difference simply
between this C chord,
[MUSIC]
and this chord
[MUSIC].
Not a lot of difference right?
[MUSIC]
Not a lot of difference in terms of what
I'm playing and not a lot of difference
in terms of the notes except for one.
Be able to hear simply the difference
between a major chord and a minor chord.
As simple as that sounds,
is super important.
Obviously if you're playing in
a situation where there's no lead sheet,
no indication of what the chord is.
You want to be able to hear as we did in
our single note ear training,
what the root is.
But you also wanna just be able to,
without trying to figure out every
note in the chord that's being played,
what the chord type is.
So, simple rule that I probably
learned on the first day that I was
taught to play anything that
didn't involve just one note.
When you hear a major chord,
it sounds happy.
I mean, doesn't this sound much happier?
[MUSIC]
Doesn't that sound very happy?
[LAUGH]
[MUSIC]
Another inversion, as opposed to
[MUSIC]
and that will sound a little less happy.
[SOUND] Right, so
a minor chord sounds a little more sad.
And so no matter what key it's in, it
still has that sort of personality to it.
Now a dominant chord,
it's a little trickier.
Because it has that major
third like a major chord does,
but it has that flat seventh.
So if I put the seventh down below,
[MUSIC]
it's kind of that,
how would you describe that?
I'd describe it as being
sort of quizzical sounding.
[MUSIC]
The first inversion.
So as you listen to these chords,
it sounds a little silly to think
about major chords as happy and
minor chords as sad, and
dominant chords as sort of pensive or
questioning or
different names to put upon them.
But that works for me, and you might
have something else that you relate to.
You might have a favorite song that's very
major and the chord that your hearing
reminds you of that song, as opposed
to something that's very, very minor.
So, sometimes we just
find these different ways
of identifying chords, especially when
they're blocked like that that work.
So when you're playing them on
your horn and you're playing them
linearly like this, if I'm playing
a G major triad for instance.
[MUSIC]
So, one easy way to determine the chord,
just like we did in
the two note intervals,
is to sing the scale, ba.
And if you're major scale or
you play along with a chord that you're
hearing thats another way to do it and
you play a major scale and
all the notes fit, boom its a major chord.
As long as you're sure that all the notes
that you're playing are fitting
that chord.
So,
[MUSIC]
and then the same thing with minor chords.
If I play a minor, that was a triad,
this will be a triad as well.
My minor triad, my G minor triad.
[MUSIC]
You can still relate that
emotion name to it.
You know the first scale,
the first chord sounded happyish.
[MUSIC]
If I add the seventh to it.
[MUSIC]
Sounds a little happier,
if I play that same chord and
then attach a scale to it.
But in minor this will be
the minor seventh court.
[MUSIC].
You might think that's in
the sad category or you know.
But again, by singing the scale,
the corresponding scale, you might.
Hopefully you have some indication in your
ear and in your head that that sounds
a little more up to me,
I'm guessing it's a major chord.
Or that sounds a little more down to me,
I'm guessing it's a minor chord.
So you're gonna sort of reference
your first impression by either
singing in your head or literally, a scale
that you think is going to fit that chord.
[MUSIC]
And then lastly a dominant chord.
[MUSIC]
So, to me that sounds,
you know, quizzical.
It sounds sort of in between.
Its, its got it's own personality.
So, I kind of encourage you.
I don't kind of encourage you,
I definitely encourage you.
To listen to different chords, get with
the piano and play some different ideas.
And play these different
chords on your horn
that might be more
readily available to you.
And just get an idea.
Were gonna,
in subsequent lessons that you'll
see available to you at ear training,
we're going to get more into this.
But I wanted to give this
to you as an introduction.
To just have a general idea of what
these main three chord types sound like.
So, go ahead and play with those
a little bit and try to put your own
identifying idea or name to each
of those three chord type sounds.
It's funny, I thought of this when I was
a kid, my teacher first gave me this
idea when I was 12 years old and
I still think about it today.
So If you've got your own little,
sort of code of how to identify
a basic cord sound it's gonna
be a big benefit for you.
[MUSIC]
Alrighty, have fun.
[MUSIC]