Video Lesson: Chord-Melody Made Easy (ish) on Acoustic Guitar

Extract from the January / February 2021 issue of Acoustic guitar | By Greg Ruby


You want to learn to play in the style of a chord melody, but you’re not sure where to start.


Invest some time to learn the inversions of a dominant seventh chord, and the classical jazz standard “Whispering” should fall right under your fingertips.


From the 1920s to the 1940s, guitarists made their bread in the rhythm sections. Wrapped around the archtops, they strummed regular quarter notes, propelling the dancers to the ground and offering percussive harmony to the group. Sometimes a conductor would give a solo to a guitarist. Single notes on an acoustic guitar, even a large archtop, would sound small and almost inaudible against a full brass section. Thus, the guitarist played chords on the highest strings and with various rhythms. While the result seemed complex, the approach was straightforward. With the highest note of the chord as the melody—There! —You could play the accompaniment and conduct simultaneously.

This type of chord solo required guitarists to use the full length of the neck, as the notes on the upper strings offered both greater projection and reach in the big band settings. To get an idea of ​​these harmonies, Example 1 shows how to express a three-note G chord with the highest note moving from root to third to fifth, while Example 2 shows a chord melody excerpt from “Mary Had a Little Lamb” using two of the forms.


Knowing the inversions is essential to understanding the melody of chords, as it ensures that you will have an appropriate voice to place under the melody. An inversion is simply to rearrange the order of the notes in the chord to create a new upper note (melody). This will give you a voice for the root, third, fifth, or seventh as a melody note. Four inversions of a G7 chord are shown in Example 3.

If a melody note is not part of the chord, you need to add it to the voicing. Since G7 is the V chord in the key of C major, you can use the notes of the C major scale (CDEFGAB) to create a G7 chord / scale (Example 4). This allows you to find the other diatonic melodic notes for a dominant seventh chord. In a future lesson, I’ll walk you through the process of creating an inversion for any chord.


“Whisper” (Example 5) has been recorded by everyone from Les Paul to Louis Armstrong. My favorite is a version for solo guitar by Oscar Alemán. This arrangement can be played with a pick or finger. Start with the familiar F chord in first position (F on string 4, fret 3; A on string 3, fret 2; C on string 2, fret 1; and F on string 1, fret 1). Move this shape to the eighth fret, where it becomes a C triad (CEG). In bar 1, the triad follows the melody to harmonize the melody. However, in the next measure you have to add a D, which is not part of the C chord. Simply play the D on string 1, fret 10 with your fourth finger to create a Cadd9 chord.

In bars 3 and 4, use inversions of a B7 chord to harmonize the melodic notes B (root note) and A (seventh flat). If you’re playing with an opening pick, use a rest stroke to land on the high E string – this gives your si string greater projection and ensures that you don’t accidentally hit the E string.

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In bars 7 and 8, the A7 voicing is touched up, as it omits the high note of the E string. Measure 7 adds the note F, thus changing the name of the chord to A7 # 5. The melody moves quickly in bars 9 and 10. To accommodate this, release a chord completely and simply play the melody as single notes between chords – a nice change in texture that gives your fingers a little break. of fretting.

The G7 in bar 11 includes the melodic note E, making the chord a G13, which resolves to a shape similar to that of bar eight. Measures 14-16 require the fourth finger to lead. Keep that finger lightly in contact with the first string as you move it between the B of beat 4 of bar 14 and the G9 chord of bar 15. This same idea – using the fourth finger as an anchor – occurs between the bells. bars 15 and 16. In general, it is useful to look for common fingers between chord shapes, for smoother transitions. In measure 17, release the Dm shape on beat 4 to play the G note with your index finger. This will prepare you for the A note in the upper Dm voicing of the next measure. Move this shape up three frets to make the Fm before returning to C.

Take your time to slowly practice the transition between chords. Use two voices or small sections to create mini-studies. Until we can all safely make music together again, chord melody is a fulfilling way to play all parts. Hope this arrangement brings joy to your lumberjack.

Greg Ruby is a guitarist, composer, historian and jazz educator of the first half of the 20th century. His latest book is Oscar Alemán’s Songbook, Vol. 1. Ruby teaches classes on Zoom. For more information, visit

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Kingdom Hearts: Melody of Memory

Kingdom Hearts is a series of games that holds a special place in my soul. The characters are memorable and the plots are moving. They create a mixture of childish joy and melancholy sadness. The original tapes of the series, composed by Yoko Shimomura, perfectly capture these moods. It’s exciting that we have now Remembrance melody, a game that is a total celebration not only of the series but of Shimomura’s music in particular. The game is a nice trip down memory lane, but it unfortunately falters when it comes to enticing to keep playing beyond unlocking more songs and collectibles. That is, it doesn’t have much history so far.

I find it odd that the game simply starts off with a tutorial before going into the main gameplay loop. There is no intro cutscene and no plot is set. There is no reason why you walk through Kairi’s memories or travel through different worlds. Thank goodness these worlds are fun to walk!

Most of the gameplay takes place during field battles. Sora, Donald and Goofy (you can unlock other trios later) perform a musical staff in a Kingdom Hearts world, meeting different types of enemies from the series. When a villain approaches, a circle focuses on him, telling you when to attack him for the best result. You can press any of the three buttons to attack. When more than one enemy shows up at the same time, you press two of these buttons, and when three enemies show up, you hit all three. Attacking these enemies at the right time matches the beat of the specific song you’re playing. You will also have to press a button to slide to collect notes and jump over enemy projectiles. If you get hit too many times, you run out of HP and the level ends.


There are three difficulty settings to choose from: Beginner, Standard, and Proud. I ran through the game in standard mode and found it to be a perfect balance of difficulty. The game also offers options to further adjust the game with particular styles. The “one button” style allows all actions to be performed with the press of a single button, while the harder “performer” style adds additional triggers on the track that make the songs even more difficult.

Completing certain tasks on each track earns you stars, which unlock doors leading to new levels. Eventually, you’ll beat all of the worlds in a specific Kingdom Hearts game, and that’s when you’ll encounter a boss battle. Boss Battles are different from Field Battles, in that the notes flow towards you and you have to press or hold a button when they reach the end of the line. The way you match the ratings determines whether your onscreen characters can dodge attacks bosses throw at you. I’ve only encountered one boss battle so far (Ansem from KH1), but I liked its more simplistic style.

Finally, there are memory dives. These are music video style levels that have your trio of choice hovering in the air as different notes approach. I played “Simple and Clean” and found it extremely difficult on standard difficulty. It didn’t help as the notes sometimes got lost in the background, blending in with the footage in the video. Nevertheless, I still had a good time with it.

Sora and a female band member onscreen during a memory dive
A dive into memory

Cooperative mode is also a feature. If you have an additional PS4 controller, you can join a friend in a field battle. I’ve played it a few times and enjoyed it, but it’s not much different from solo fights. There is also a versus mode, where you can play against the system or online opponents. I couldn’t play online, but I did play against the computer a bit. Your opponent is able to throw obstacles called “tricks” at you. I found these cheats heavy, but you can turn them off for a clean battle.

If you’re looking for a nostalgic rush, Remembrance melody delivered. It’s great to hear all the songs from the previous games as you play through difficult levels. You even unlock various goodies like cards and collectibles to look at! But the story is nonexistent so far, and I’ve heard that it only appears during the last two missions of the game. I also know that the campaign only lasts about ten hours.

That’s pretty short for a $ 60 game. The cutscenes are live on Youtube, so if you’re not a fan of rhythm games, save the money and watch them there. If you like music games, you will have fun playing Remembrance melody.

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Javed-Mohsin’s melody is a tribute to the sweet romance of the 90s

With a generation of millennials turned filmmakers, nostalgia for the ’90s is at its height. This era crept into Abhishek Sharma’s Suraj Pe Mangal, which features Javed-Mohsin’s composition “Waareya”.

The song serves as the backdrop to the romance of the characters of Diljit Dosanjh and Fatima Sana Shaikh. Sung by Vibhor Parashar, the composition is melodious, sweet and deserves to be listened to.

The song’s visuals capture the romance that is built between the characters, from hours spent at the local PCO to communicating via pagers. That imagery seems a bit overdone, however, with each visual reminiscent of the era, from drive-ins to Nintendo games and the reference to the dove at the start. Still, it’s sweet for a millennium to see the return of the Yamaha RX 100 and the Premier Padmini in a movie.

Composition is what makes visuals interesting. To be fair, the former is a lot more contemporary than the latter, but it doesn’t seem out of place. With a strong emphasis on melody and harmony, Javed-Mohsin left the emphasis on Parashar’s voice, which is accompanied by acoustic guitars. The singer captures the gentle and shy nature that Dosanjh reflects on the screen.

While the Punjabi song was still unexplored in 1990s Hindi cinema, the lyrics are well written and capture the overwhelming love of Dosanjh’s character. The only twist, perhaps, is the sight of Manoj Bajpayee in disguise.

Suraj Pe Mangal Bhari is directed by Abhishek Sharma and is set for release on November 13.

Check out ‘Waareya’ and let us know if you fancy watching the movie.

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Bruce Melody flies to Tanzania for possible musical deal – KT PRESS

Bruce Melody

Local R&B crooner Bruce Melody heads to Tanzania for possible collaboration with bongo-flavored artists after his mega hit Saa Moya reached 2 million views.

The singer flew to Tanzania at midday on Saturday and according to his manager Jean De Dieu Kabanda, the trip is music related although he didn’t mention anything specific that Bruce Melodie will be doing there.

“It is true that Bruce Melodie is currently in Tanzania on a business trip, but it is too early to divulge all the details in the media. However, we will soon be letting the media know the details of the trip when we are ready, ”said director Bruce Melodie.

The singer was last in Tanzania in the middle of last year for a video shoot of his song Fresh and it is rumored that he has music plans with a big Tanzanian star in the works.

Before leaving the country, Bruce Melodie first celebrated a new milestone for his song Saa Moya for surpassing 2 million views and asked his fans via Instagram if they were ready for a new song.

Melodie is one of the best-selling artists in the music arena with massive successes and hefty advertising deals worth millions today.

It boasts of songs like Katerina, Saa Moya, Fresh and many more featuring various local artists.

The singer was recently toasted on Twitter when he announced that he was going to switch to producing culturally related songs and put an end to songs related to sex, drugs and alcohol.

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