Melody Paths (1 chord, 5 chord)

In the video Melody Paths (1 chord, 5 chord), I understand how the one and the five chords are made up but I am not sure what Dave is teaching by singing any one of the chord notes in each chord. And also in the Jam track he detailed it goes from 1 to 5 then 5 to 1 but it seems that it is going back and forth from the one chord to the 5 chord.

I understand that Dave is playing either the 1 chord or the 5 chord and he is singing chord notes that are in those chords but he is singing different numbers within each chord but the pitch of the 1,3,5 or 7 in the one chord all sound the same, he is just singing a different number. What am i missing?

Hi Randy, I think you are referring to a video lesson from the IFR Video Course for Guitar, right? I can certainly understand your confusion because what you’re describing isn’t how the exercise works at all. I don’t know why you’re hearing all of the pitches as the same. Each tonal number that I sing in that video is that particular scale degree of the major scale. I think I was playing that demonstration in the key of F. So for example, whenever I sing note 1, I’m singing the note F. And whenever I sing note 2, I’m singing the note G. And so on.

So this issue is down at the lowest level of aural perception, and I wonder what could be causing it. Is it possible that you’re just getting lost between the two chords in the progression, so that all of the notes FEEL similar to you when I sing them?


Hi David, i watched the lesson again and now I can hear and see the idea of singing the actual pitch of each note number in each chord. Great support thanks. Not sure if you remember me but we had zoom lessons a few years ago. In the jam track 1 chord 5 chord 5 chord 1 chord, is it 4 beats per chord? Thanks

Hi @Randy, of course I remember you! I think you’re asking about lesson 4 from IFR Jam Tracks Level 2: Pure Harmony Essentials. Here are the four measures of the line:

1 / 5D / 5D / 1

Each measure above is four beats. But rather than counting beats, I encourage you to listen for the feelings of tension and relaxation in the line. The logic of the above line is explained in the text that accompanies the lesson. See if you can hear those sensations, and learn to associate them with the 1 chord and the 5D chord. Have fun!


@ImproviseForReal This week in @Jelske 's Introduction to Melodic Improvising course we’re looking at exactly this jam track & your comment seemed so relevant I’ve shared it there with the other participants. :slight_smile:

@DavidW, thanks for thinking of that!

In the video Melody Paths (1 chord, 5 chord) at 3:12 in the video you removed the 5 note (when you were making the F Chord) from the A string as you had a 5 note on the B string. When you play that chord you have to pick the 6 string and then the 4ht /3rd and 2nd string. Why did you not include the open A string which is the 3rd note and the open 1 string which is the 7th note. Just curious. I find working out the notes harder at the nut because of the open strings.

I also don’t understand when you’re making the five chord why are you not including the 2 note. You have the 5/7 and 4 notes but not the 2 note. And when you play the 5 chord you are singing 2 but there is no 2 note being fretted. Couldn’t you add the third fret on the high E string which would be a 2 note ?

Hi @Randy,

There was no formula behind that decision. I just grabbed enough notes to express the chord clearly. It was just a comfortable way to play the chord and it had all the notes I needed, so that’s all that was going on there. The guitar always offers you many different ways to express any chord, and that’s part of your creative freedom on the instrument.

The decision to leave note 2 out of the 5D chord is also totally up to you. In the context of that exercise, you don’t need to hear note 2 in order to feel and appreciate the chord. Note 2 is the fifth of the chord which doesn’t add a lot of color, so if we have to choose between including note 2 and including note 4 (the two choices we have on that G string), then I would prefer to include note 4 because it adds more color to the chord.

But again, these are arrangement choices that we improvise in the moment and I encourage you to explore every possible grouping of the chord notes that you can imagine. You’ll get to know the sound and feel of different combinations of notes, and you’ll gradually form your own preferences and ideas based on the sounds you want in each given moment. I hope that clarifies the choices I made in that video lesson. Thanks for asking the question.