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Fretboard Workshop: Non-Chord-Tone Soloing


Neighbor tones step away from the harmony before retuning to it, as demonstrated in Fig. 6.

Appoggiaturas are similar to neighbor tones, but their first move is a larger interval. In Fig. 7 the first non-chord tone is an appoggiatura, and the second is a passing tone.

Suspensions are created when a note delays its resolution during a chord change. For example, in Fig. 8 the chord changes from G to D on beat three, but the G hangs around until beat four, briefly creating a suspension.

There are other names for non-chord tones, but they are basically variations on the four mentioned here. The names are not that important—composers have been doing this for centuries, and the names were applied much later—but what is important is that you learn how non-chord tones sound and how to resolve them to chord tones.

Triad Shapes + Non-Chord Tones = Scales

Now let's have some fun by combining triad shapes with non-chord tones and learning how they fit together to make scales.

We’re going to work with the same chord progression from our previous lesson: I-V-VIm-IV in G major. Fig. 9, taken from the last lesson, demonstrates how to play the progression in three different places on the fretboard using smooth voice leading.

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