5. Borrowed chords
Diatonic chords are formed using only notes taken from a particular scale. So a C major scale containing the notes C D E F G A B would give you the diatonic chords C, Dm, Em, F, G, Am, and Bdim, formed by stacking alternate notes onto each note within the scale. However, a palette of only seven chords can be limiting, so why not borrow chords from other keys?
Borrowed chords are most often taken from keys that have the same root note as the original key. In the case of C major, it is C minor. So we have a whole new set of chords to choose from - Cm, Ddim, Eb, Fm, Gm, Ab and Bb. 6. Putting chords together
For more interesting sound, try combining regular triads together to form polychords.
Let's use C major as the first chord (C-E-G). Furthermore, we need to find the major chord that has its root a perfect fifth above the root of the first chord. In this case, that happens to be G major (G-B-D). Play the two chords together and you get a Cmaj9 chord (C-E-G-B-D). 7. Extension
Extending regular major or minor triads by adding extra notes can radically transform a track. For example, in C major, a Cmaj7 is made by adding the seventh degree of the C major scale (B) to a C major triad (C-E-G).
If we extend the scale up the keyboard beyond the octave, we get into the extended range, where a ninth is essentially the scale's second degree played up an octave. 8. Go pentatonic
Limiting yourself to notes from a pentatonic scale may give you a smaller choice, but it can give rise to some memorable melodies.
While a conventional major or minor scale contains seven notes, a pentatonic scale only contains five. Effectively, they're regular scales with a couple of notes removed. If we look at a normal C major scale, we can see that it contains the notes C, D, E, F, G, A and B.
We can then number these degrees from 1 to 7. To make the scale pentatonic, we need to remove degrees 4 and 7 - in this case, that's F and B. Thus, we get C, D, E, G and A major pentatonic scale.
For a minor pentatonic scale, omit the second (D) and sixth (Ab) degrees. So we're left with C, Eb, F, G and Bb. Pentatonic scales sound great, and they're very easy to use.
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