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Music Theory for Guitar - Harmonizing in Fifiths - C-major

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If you do not want to play the exercises now, you can jump to the next lesson: Perfect Fourths (or go back to the Perfect Fifth lesson).

In this lesson we will play some scales harmonized in fifths. The reasons are two-fold: It will help your ears in getting familiar with the sounds of the fifths, it will help you in learning where you find the fifths on the fingerboard, and it will give you a tool you might use in a solo.

The first example is the C-major scale harmonized in fifths. By this I mean that we play a harmony note one fifth above the scale note. But beware: We will use only notes from the C-major scale for harmony. As long as we are using notes from the scale only, it is diatonic harmony. This mean that we will not play a perfect fifth above the B. With the B we will play an F, which is a diminished fifth above the B. You will hear that it sounds different. Don't worry too much about this interval. We will cover this in another lesson.

Again you should learn to play these intervals all over the fretboard, and in all keys. The best is if you use your knowledge and figure out for yourself how to play them. But you can also find many examples in my Navigating the Fretboard series.

The first example is in the key of C, played horizontally, and skipping the string between the root and the fifth. Playing horizontally mean that you are up and down the neck, without crossing over to other strings. It is not very "guitaristic", and is usually not the best way to play. But it is easier to see the harmonic movements when we play this way. We approach the chords more like you would do on a keyboard. We skip the string because we will later fill in with another note, to make full chords

The next is still in C, and still we skip the string between the root and the fifth. The notes are the same as in the previous example. But now we play vertical, meaning that we are crossing over to other strings, although we are only making one crossing.
It will sound different from the previous when you play it on a guitar, because different strings and position will give a different color, even if the note is the same. But the MIDI file would sound exactly the same, so I have not included another file.

This example is based on the same basic fingering, and is starting from the same position. Now we are crossing from 5/3 string, to 4/2 to 3/1. You can of course choose other crossover points.

This is our last example with this kind of skip-string fingering for the fifth in this octave. This has another starting point. The notes are still the same, it is just the fingerings that are different.

This is one octave higher, starting where the previous left. Again we start by playing it horizontally. As you are going up to the 17th fret, it is hard to play on an acoustic guitar, at least if it doesn't have a cutaway. But if you play electric guitar, it should not be difficult to reach th 17th fret.

This is the same, but starting on lower strings.

We go down one octave again, but now we use a closer fingering, playing on two adjacent strings. We go the same route, and start with horizontal playing.

The next one goes across, and use open strings when possible.

This can also start from the bottom set of strings.



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