New Publication

I’m very excited to announce the publication of my new book on chord voicings!

THE DROP VOICING BOOK FOR GUITAR: A Complete Guide to Drop 2, Drop 3, Drop 2&3 and Drop 2&4 Chord Voicings & Inversions

THE DROP VOICING BOOK FOR GUITAR is a comprehensive text covering the logic behind “drop” voicings and their application to harmonic progressions and voice-leading. This ground-breaking resource investigates/includes:

  • How “drop” voicings are formed, and their application to the guitar
  • Four types of drop voicings on nine string sets
  • The art of spacing or voicing chords
  • Six “core” 6th & 7th chord qualities 
  • How to derive voicings from elemental forms
  • How to move beyond mere memorization and recitation of shapes and voice-lead harmonic textures spontaneously
  • Nine comprehensive studies on the Autumn Leaves chord progression 
  • Reductive techniques to tailor density & register to ensemble/context
  • Using chordal knowledge to improvise harmonically-specific melodies
  • Harmonizing melodies: “chord-melody” playing
  • Extended tertian harmony
  • Substitution & superimposition theory and techniques
  • Alteration techniques to create an enormous palette of additional chord qualities
  • Free audio downloads
  • TAB, standard notation, diagrams, and comprehensive charts for practice and reference

Price: $21.99

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):

360 Double-Stroke Right-Hand Combinations

Practicing even a “handful” of the 360 possible double-stroke right-hand combinations will rapidly improve right-hand independence and flexibility.

The example below shows the first four combinations, realized on string group 6321:

String groups with an unused string (or two) between “m” and “a” are particularly important for developing strength and flexibility in the weaker (“m & a”) side of the right hand.

Here are the same four combinations on string set 6431:

Experiment with different degrees of separation between right-hand fingers, and also different rhythms, accents, and dynamics.

For reference, here are the 15 possible four-string groups:

Download the PDF below for a list of all 360 combinations:

Pat Martino’s Linear Expressions – Phase I in all 12 keys, Cycle of Fourths

One of the most important books ever written on melodic improvisation for guitar, Linear Expressions by Pat Martino, was originally published in 1989.

I have created this video to show the “solution” to the “problem” Pat suggests in the first part of the book.

The video is very helpful for “drilling” the lines.

Minor 7 and Minor 6 Drop voicings are included for context and comping. These will come in very handy later when practicing chord substitutions.

Learn this first, then take the next step to recontextualize the lines using Pat’s “minor conversion” theory.

Linear Expressions is an absolutely essential book for every guitarist’s library.

Buy the book on Amazon. Click here.

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:

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Thank you! – Dan Cosley

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