Tables & Charts
A little bit of poetry is a good way to introduce the subject of guide tones because they are simply the backbone of harmony. They are the basis, heart and soul and meaning of every chord.
Let's have a closer look:
Guide tones are present in every chord played in all styles of music unless chord sounds are created that omit 1 or both of them on purpose.
So there is a difference between this natural occuring use and creating actual linear musical background (or foreground) structures with them.
That kind of application of guide tone lines you will find most effectively and frequently in orchestral music from middle of the road pop music to jazz to the classics.
Listen to the string writing of Johnny Mandel, Claus Ogerman, the arrangements behind most well known jazz singers and many pop artists who have used orchestral sounding backings.
Here is a small taste of how the use of guide tone lines (combined with other notes) can enhance a piece of music, first in the comfortable mid register and then used up high:
To start, please listen to our short 16 measure tune from part 4 of the circle of 5ths page:
Now the same song with mid-register guide tone lines added:
NOTE: Mid-register guide tone lines (long note or rhythmic phrases) can be mixed into the background or brought out slightly as a secondary feature.
And here it is again with some high register lines:
NOTE: High-register guide tone lines are more likely to be treated as a secondary feature behind the melody.
Guide tones together with the circle of 5ths diagram
give you the tools to create music with strong
foundations, like a well built solid house.
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