Two New Books!

Three & Four-Note Chord Compendiums: Permutation-Based Harmony Workbooks for Guitarists

I’m excited to announce the publication of two new books, both available worldwide on Amazon.com!

Three & Four-Note Chord Compendiums: Permutation-Based Harmony Workbooks for Guitarists

The Four-Note Chord Compendium is the first mathematically-complete book on four-part guitar harmony ever published. 

Nearly 400 pages in length, it contains 5,535 unique chord forms for analysis and exploration: every possible combination of four notes on the instrument.

Also included: suggestions for fingerings, practice approach, and harmonic analysis.

An all-encompassing encyclopedic text, and an essential part of every guitarist’s reference library, this permutation-based workbook will enable you to:

  • Explore all of the possibilities for four-part harmony on the guitar
  • Develop a personal harmonic language through the discovery of unique chord voicings and harmonies
  • Improve analytical skills
  • Expand your harmonic palette exponentially
  • Reinforce your current knowledge base by the comprehensive review of four-note chords and arpeggios

Price: $29.99

Available exclusively from Amazon.com. Please click here to view samples and purchase on Amazon.com


The Three-Note Chord Compendium is the first mathematically-complete book on three-part guitar harmony ever published. 

Over 150 pages in length, it contains 1,820 unique chord forms for analysis and exploration: every possible combination of three notes on the instrument.

Also included: suggestions for fingerings, practice approach, and harmonic analysis.

An all-encompassing encyclopedic text, and an essential part of every guitarist’s reference library, this permutation-based workbook will enable you to:

  • Explore all of the possibilities for three-part harmony on the guitar
  • Develop a personal harmonic language through the discovery of unique chord voicings and harmonies
  • Improve analytical skills
  • Expand your harmonic palette exponentially
  • Reinforce your current knowledge base by the comprehensive review of three-note chords and arpeggios

Price: $19.99

Available exclusively from Amazon.com. Please click here to view samples and purchase on Amazon.com

Complete Tetrachord Combinations: Major, Melodic Minor, Harmonic Minor, & Harmonic Major Scale Harmony

This post explores all of the possible tetrachords (four-note combinations) in Major, Melodic Minor, Harmonic Minor, & Harmonic Major Harmony.

(Download the accompanying PDF at the bottom of the post.)

These exhaustive lists may appear too information-packed to be useful. (There are 840 combinations per scale.)

I suggest dipping into them occasionally to more deeply explore the vertical (chords) and horizontal (melody) aspects of their all-important parent scales.

You’ll find every standard approach to chord voicing contained herein, as well as many uncommon sonorities.

Some structures may be impossible to play as chords unless one or more of the tones are raised an octave.

Experiment with the lists, and you’ll discover many new things about these commonly-used harmonic palettes (scales).

Below are a few examples of how the lists can be used to create chords and arpeggios (taking some liberties with octave placement and contour):

Triads with Doublings and Suspended 4ths (Harmonized Scale: “D” Harmonic Minor)

The following examples show various four-note triadic constructions with doublings and suspensions moved through a “D” Harmonic Minor scale.

The first chord is a commonly played triad with a duplicated root. The intervals, stacked vertically, are as follows: 5th, 4th, & 3rd. The intervallic construction is maintained and moved through the harmonized scale:

Next, the 3d is suspended (replaced with a diatonic fourth) and the resulting 5th, 4th & 4th construction is moved through the scale:

The second voicing type is a triad with a duplicated 3rd. The intervals, stacked vertically, are as follows: 3rd, 4th, & 3rd. The intervallic structure is maintained and moved through the harmonized scale:

Next, the upper 3d is suspended (replaced with a diatonic fourth) and the resulting 3rd, 4th & 4th construction is moved through the scale:

The third construction is a triad with a duplicated 5th. The intervals, stacked vertically, are as follows: 4th, 3rd, & 3rd. The intervallic structure is maintained and moved through the harmonized scale:

Next, the 3d is suspended (replaced with a diatonic fourth) and the resulting 4th, 4th & 2nd construction is moved through the scale:

Try finding additional four-note triads with duplicate notes or “doublings.” Here are two other possible starting chords:

Also, try transferring these voicings onto other string sets. Here is one of the previous chords transposed down an octave and placed on string set 5432:

Finally, experiment with various scales. Harmonic Minor is particularly useful, however, as it contains Major, Minor, Diminished, and Augmented triads.

7th Chord Arpeggio Permutations, Contours, & Chord Cycles

“The poet only asks to get his head into the heavens. It is the logician who seeks to get the heavens into his head. And it is his head that splits.” – G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy

Below are 24 possible orderings of a 7th chord arpeggio.

I have organized the combinations across a six-day practice cycle for digestibility:

Though notated as C Major 7 arpeggios, these permutations can represent other harmonies. I highly recommend playing the permutations through harmonized scale “cycle” progressions, “tweaking” the intervals to suit the chord qualities involved in a given progression:

Various contours are possible, depending on the octave chosen for each of the tones. Here are four different contours for the same combination (1357):

Here are the same four contours, transposed up an octave:

Now through the harmonized Melodic Minor scale, Cycle 2:

The same four contours, transposed up an octave:

Now through the harmonized Harmonic Minor scale, Cycle 2:

The same four contours, transposed up an octave:

As you can see, the possibilities are endless.

Try practicing a few permutations per day through either Major, Melodic Minor, or Harmonic Minor harmonized scales.

Remember to explore the various “Cycle” progressions, listed above.

It’s not reasonable to practice every pattern, but you’ll discover some exciting things if you occasionally dip into this well of possibility.

Tetrachords (Triads with added 2nd’s)

These four-note combinations (tetrachords) consist of triads (major, minor, diminished, and augmented) with major 2nd’s (or 9th’s) added above the root.

Tetrachords are a convenient method for creating unassailably harmonically-correct lines.

I find that improvising with these patterns (rather than intricate arpeggios, chord-scales, and modes, etc.) frees up brain processing power to think more about rhythm, phrasing, and line direction.

Try improvising lines through chord changes using these patterns.

Emphasize half-step resolutions between changing harmonies.

Anchor the patterns in your memory by focusing on the triad forms embedded in these diagrams.

I have written the patterns on the root “C,” but they are easily transposable by shifting the shapes to new root locations.

Major Tetrachord:

Minor Tetrachord:

Diminished Tetrachord:

Augmented Tetrachord: