Learn Chord Embellishment Theory For Better Songwriting Skills

Learn Chord Embellishment Theory  For Better Songwriting Skills

Learn what chord embellishment theory is for better songwriting skills.  Aso to build better guitar chords.  This is what helps you to develop a better understanding of how chords are constructed.  It will also help you to become better at songwriting, and a better rhythm guitar player.

Chord embellishment theory

This is what you want to learn to fully understand chords in music.  Major chords, minor chords, diminished chords, etc.  Of course, this is a science that can’t fully be taught in a simple blog post, but this lesson can help you to get moving forward in utilizing this technique.

By knowing how to add embellishments to your basic chords (E, Am, G, C, etc) you will be able to change the sound of the chord to add different emotion in your guitar playing as well as developing a better understanding of the note on the guitar fretboard and how music works in general.

The basic chord triad

Any time you put two or more notes together you create a chord.  Your basic chords like the ones you learn to start within the very beginning are made up of three notes of the major scale that they are derived from.

Example:  The three notes of the C chord are C E & G.  Why?  Because if you look at the notes in the C major scale and give them a number value, you’ll see that these notes represent those numbers.

C major chord

C major scale notes: C  D  E  F  G  A  B  C

Here we have 8 notes and if we give each of them a note value we can see that the C is the 1, the E is the 3 and the G is the 5.  We can also see that the A would be the 6th, and the B would be the 7th and F would be the 4th.

The reason for these three notes creating the basic triad is because they have the most harmony and sound pleasant to the ear.  If you put a combination of 3 with the other notes of the scale, you’ll clearly see and hear that they don’t sound as well.

That is why these three notes make up the “foundation”  of all guitar chords.  And it is adding notes to this foundation of notes that allow us to create chord embellishments.

Adding to the basic triad

Now let’s say that we want to make a C6 chord.  Well, what we need to do is look above at the C major scale notes and determine what the 6th note is.  As we can see from the scale notes the 6th note is an A note.

So now what we need to do is add this note to the 1 3 5.  If we do, this then changes the chord formula to 1 3 5 6.  As you can see, we have now embellished the guitar chord.  We now have a C6 chord that is made up of the notes C E G & A.  

C6 chord

Now we form a C6 chord.  In this picture, the index and pinky fingers are playing the C (1), the middle finger is playing the E note (3rd), the E string is open (no finger down on it which represents the 5th) and the ring finger is playing the A which represents the 6th note

All notes in the chord formula are represented.  Of course, we’ve had to reposition our fingers a bit to form the chord and there are many ways to form this chord (this is just one way) but as long as all the notes in the chord are represented, we can create that chord.

Of course, we also need to know where these notes are located.

Knowing where your notes are

Where your notes are along the fretboard is vitally important to be able to transfer this information to your guitar.  Understanding it on paper is one thing, but knowing how to create it on the guitar is something entirely different.  And to be able to do this proficiently we need to be able to find the note location on the fretboard.

When you learn the notes on each guitar string you not only master the guitar fretboard, but you are able to start unlocking the “mysteries” of the guitar fretboard.  This will benefit you in many, many ways.

All major guitar scales

It will not only help you with guitar chords, but it can also help you with all major guitar scales.  This is very important as well because chords come out of scales.  So the better you know and understand the notes in all major scales, the better you’re going to be at forming any chord in any musical key you choose.

Each key is different.  What gives it its character is the notes that make up the key.  The Key of C, the key of D, the key of A, all have different notes and the better you can understand what they are in each key and how to find the is going to help you with chord embellishments that you can add to the basic triad.

Watch the video lesson

Build chord melodies

By knowing the note location on all six strings and mastering the guitar fretboard, you can also build chord melodies.  You can take the notes out of the chords and play them in a melodic format to create chord melodies.

This works because some notes reside in different chords.  Like majors and minors that have some of the same notes in them.  With this type of musical knowledge, you can flow easily from one chord to the next in more of a melody format.

Create Chords all over the fretboard

Chord embellishment theory allows you to create chords all over the fretboard.  Since every chord is made up of the root (1) and this can be found on all six strings, this tells us that we can create this chord with six different roots.  Root 6, root5, root4, etc.  All up and down the fretboard.

This allows us to create different colors and emotions with our guitar chords by doing two things.

1. Creating different roots on all six strings for added finger positioning.

 2. A variety in our songwriting by having multiple options to choose from.

The more you know about your fretboard, the more you’re going to be able to unlock the mysteries that reside in it.  Very much like the Egyptian pyramids.  The more that is learned about them, the more there is to discover, and the guitar works the same way.

Additional training

If you’d like to learn even more about chords and embellishments and how it can help you understand the fretboard as well as improve your rhythm playing, I recommend you check out the book I wrote and published on Amazon called Rhythm Guitar Alchemy.

Rhythm Guitar Alchemy

Rhythm Guitar Alchemy is a method book that teaches the science of playing rhythm guitar.  It goes over everything you need to be a great rhythm guitar player.  All the way from basic chords to timing and of course extended chords and embellishments.

You’ll learn such things as:

Rhythm guitar basics

Reading chord diagrams

Major and minor chords

Common rhythm techniques

Barre chords

Adding embellishments

Rhythm timing formulas

And much, much, more.  Rhythm Guitar Alchemy will give you the tools necessary to become a great rhythm guitar player.  Through dedication, discipline, and commitment, you will develop a full understanding of how chords are constructed and how to use them for self-expression.

Keep out the confusion

Written in a simple lesson-by-lesson format that breaks down complex musical concepts and principles for anyone to learn from.  Even those who have no previous music training.  It provides a fun learning experience for anyone wanting to improve their knowledge of the fretboard, guitar chords, and music theory in general.

A methodical approach is a great way to learn because it keeps out the confusion when trying to fill the mind with new knowledge.  With musicians who are self-taught, most seem to fall into pitfalls due to steps being missed when learning.  Following a system or method eliminates these pitfalls.

Lesson conclusion

If you are serious about your guitar playing and want to improve your understanding of guitar chords, learn about embellishments.  Chord embellishments are what allow you to build upon the basic chord shapes that are learned in the beginning.  Learning all the notes on the fretboard allows you to see different locations that you can play these chords and give them different shades of color.

Learn to control the emotion of music.  This is what all the great players do in all styles of music.  No matter if it is Rock, Country, Jazz, Blues, etc.  Emotional content is key.  Focus on mastering the fretboard and you will be able to start unlocking the mysteries that lie within it.

And if you haven’t already, I recommend you grab my FREE training-guide Rhythm Guitar Secrets to help get you moving in the right direction.  Have any questions?  Contact me through my website and follow me on Social Media for my latest lesson updates.

Until our next lesson, take care.

Dwayne Jenkins