It is entirely possible to have a long, successful guitar career without much musical theory knowledge. But, theory is great to know for a variety of guitar-related tasks and activities, such as songwriting, teaching, and accompanimental playing.
The most common and most useful of these chords is the seventh, which you can use pretty much anywhere just to add a slightly different color to a chord, or in some types of progression to give the sequence of chords some extra thrust, because the added seventh is a mild dissonance, or clash, that makes the chord sound like it wants to move somewhere.
Musical modes constitute a form of scale complete with their own distinctive melodic traits. The seven modes have their roots in some of western music’s oldest forms.
Another great way to create more interesting chord progressions is to use a pedal note or pedal point. A pedal note is a static bass note that sticks around for a few measures while the chords change over the top.
One of the simplest and most effective ways to enrich your chord progressions is through the use of inversions. Depending which note you put in the bass, you end up with chords in first inversion or second inversion:
It’s not just the words you say that get a message across—it’s the way you say them. Similarly, in music there are many ways to “say” the same notes. Without following articulation markings, your playing could end up sounding like the equivalent of speaking in a monotone. Here’s an easy guide to help you become more “articulate” and bring more life into your playing by using accents, slurs, and staccatos.
Dramatic pauses in your music are a great way to grab the listener’s attention. Like most instructions in music, holds and pauses are also notated.