Hi @PaulOWoods, I understand your questions. @DavidW’s response is exactly right and a good starting point. Let me try to also put it another way. One of the things that I think you’re asking is how these concepts like the 1 chord, 4 chord, etc. relate to the songs you want to play. The answer is that the songs you want to play are made from the 1 chord, 4 chord, etc. In IFR we study the seven notes and seven chords of the major scale because popular songs are made from these notes and chords.
This is not to say that the four chords that we study in Chord Melody Guitar 1 are the only chords in popular songs. Obviously that’s not the case. But we have to start somewhere. And chord melody itself is such a complex ability that it takes time to learn to manage both melody and chords in your music. So this puts a limit on how quickly you can add new chords to your repertoire. But it’s important to understand that these are two separate issues. Learning to combine melodies and chords on the guitar is a skill in itself. And this is the skill that you’re learning in Chord Melody Guitar 1. You’re also gaining experience with the four most important chords in all popular music, so this gives you a great head start on your project to learn all of the chords you need to play all of the songs you want to play. But the more important goal in Chord Melody Guitar 1 is to learn a way of practicing that allows you to control melody and chords simultaneously. And as I say, this is an ability in itself.
But another question you’re asking raises an interesting issue. You asked “how the 1 chord, 4 chord, 5 chord, and 6 chord relate to existing chord formulas”. This is a totally separate question. We’re not trying to teach you anything at all about “existing chord formulas”. The more important question is how these four chord concepts relate to the music you want to play. This is our main responsibility in IFR. We can also engage in side conversations to help you understand how the IFR concepts relate to other teaching concepts in other methods. But that’s not really our mission. Our mission isn’t to explain all of the different ways that other people teach chords. If we thought that their teaching were the right framework for understanding harmony, we wouldn’t have created IFR in the first place. So the mission of IFR isn’t to explain music teaching. The mission of IFR is to explain music.
And there is a methodology that you’re practicing in Chord Melody Guitar 1 that (we believe) will lead you to a very simple and clear understanding of harmony, which is something you’ll enjoy for the rest of your life. But if you are troubled by the fact that we study harmony differently than other guitar literature that you may have seen, and if it’s important for you to understand exactly how other people’s notation might translate to our vision of harmony in IFR, then we can also have those conversations. But I would need you to give me a more specific question. If your question is about the chord shapes major, minor, dominant, etc., then that’s a very easy thing to observe about the chords themselves. It’s as simple as the following list:
1 chord = major
2 chord = minor
3 chord = minor
4 chord = major
5 chord = dominant
6 chord = minor
7 chord = minor b5
But if you’re asking about specific chord shapes on the guitar that are commonly taught, most of these chord shapes have no theoretical basis whatsoever. They are just random groupings of notes that happen to be easy to play on the guitar, so they have become part of the folk tradition of teaching people how to make some nice chords on the guitar. And to be sure, many popular songs use exactly these standard chord forms. But none of that confers any understanding of harmony, nor the ability to create your own original music.
So just taking a step back, I think it’s important to understand that IFR is a method designed for people who want to understand harmony, recognize melodies and chords by ear, play from our imagination and express our own original music. So this is the context in which you find yourself with Chord Melody Guitar 1. So if all of these abilities are also appealing to you, then I’m confident that Chord Melody Guitar 1 will give you a fantastic foundation for a lifetime of musical creativity.
But it’s also totally okay if most of these abilities aren’t really relevant to you. If your main interest is just playing arrangements of popular songs, then you have to decide whether the IFR method is the best tool for that. I think that if you want to create your OWN arrangements, and if you want to be able to use improvising as part of your process for creating those arrangements, then my video course is still very relevant and useful to you. But if you’re not attracted to improvising and you don’t enjoy exploring sounds the way we do in IFR, then it’s also totally fine to just request a refund for that video course and search online for other approaches that might be easier for you to apply to just the problems you want to solve. So I just wanted to put that on the table, and it’s really fine if IFR isn’t exactly what you need right now.
We believe that IFR is absolutely the fastest path to truly understanding harmony and to being able to enjoy creating your own music. But it’s certainly not the fastest path to just memorizing a bunch of chord formulas which is something you could do on your own. So I think that this is really the biggest question of all. Chord Melody Guitar 1 only makes sense if you are attracted to improvising and composing as your main goals. If your goal is something else, then we might be sending you down a path that you don’t really need.
I don’t know if that sheds any light on your current difficulties. But please let me know what other thoughts you have after thinking about all of this.