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to the music Scholars... Question C harmonized scale chords Sixth degree

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  • to the music Scholars... Question C harmonized scale chords Sixth degree

    I have found the cool George Van Eps Method for guitar. Just getting into it and the first exercises it deals with unique chord fingering fragments. With the C Major Harmonized scale chords.

    On the sixth chord which is an A minor. It shows the notes as A,C,F??? Is this an error? It should be A,C,E....correct?

    Am I missing something in here? Or is this an error in this old book?

    Thanks to the Tops of Theory guys on here.

    BTW, If you grew up like me and used the fourth, fifth and sixth strings to map your chords. This GVE way of using one, Two, Three and Four as your reference points. Always good for another angle.

    Here are some videos of the chords and that guy is playing the chords as written in the book. The sixth chord is A,F,C.......C major harmonized chords...What am I missing here?? One and One don't make two for my knowledge. Just want to go forward knowing why and what I am is different than I was originally doing...

    Thanks for any insight.
    ex 1 form 1 video

  • #2
    Here is the exercise as written.

    The sixth chord looks written incorrectly for the C Major Harmonized chords.
    Attached Files


    • onelife
      onelife commented
      Editing a comment
      Do you know what the numbers are for?

      I presume the numbers on the staff refer to the fingers of the left hand. It seems the numbers below the staff identify the strings the notes are to be played on but, if that was the case, the 2/3 would read 2/4

    • Jed
      Jed commented
      Editing a comment
      The numbers next to the note heads are fingerings. The factions below identify string sets e.g. 2/3 means 2nd set of three strings - the DGB strings, 1/3 means 1st set of three strings - the GBE strings. GVE counts his string sets from highest (note) to lowest. He defines four sets of three adjacent strings (on a six string guitar) - 1/3, 2/3, 3/3 & 4/3.
      Last edited by Jed; 07-30-2016, 03:41 AM.

  • #3
    Probably a mistake. There's an off chance there might be some reason why he would be replacing the A minor chord with an F major chord, which would probably be mentioned in the text somewhere. Otherwise, yes, typo.


    • #4
      Thanks Poparad. That is what I was coming to. Just wanted to make sure there was not something I missed along the way. The FM does sound pleasing there. Maybe more so. It will be a great substitution.


      • #5
        It's obviously a misprint.

        In the diagram, each note of the triad follows the scale with the exception of the chord in question.
        "Isn't it a pity, isn't it a shame,
        how we break each other's hearts
        and cause each other pain"


        • #6
          I doubt that it's a misprint. More likely, he is harmonizing the major scale using the IV chord for the 6th degree and the V7 chord (partial voicing) for the 7th degree. This is a musical example of how to harmonize the scale - as opposed to just a sequence of 1st inversion triads.

          I seem to remember stumbling over the same example. Note that he doesn't label the chords so there's no indication that it's an error / misprint. Maybe go back and re-read the description / purpose of the exercise?

          I've long ago misplaced my Van Epps books, but his system is great for learning and practicing triad voicing and triad harmonized melodies all over the neck. Enjoy the book and the method - you will not regret the time spent on this stuff.

          Last edited by Jed; 07-30-2016, 03:07 AM.


          • #7
            The video confirms my suspicion. It is not a mis-print. It is not a diatonic progression style harmonization of the C major scale. It is a harmonization of the C major scale using scalar triads over everything except the 6th degree of the scale.

            In some examples he'll use the VIIdim triad to harmonize over the V7 chord (VIIdim being the upper three notes of V7)

            This kind of thing makes more sense once you start to think in terms of harmonic substitutions ex {Am = Fmaj7, Am7 = Fmaj9, etc}
            Last edited by Jed; 07-30-2016, 03:47 AM.


            • #8
              Thanks Jed for your thoughts on this. It could be considered an Am6 with no 5th too? I had played it written as written for a few days and looked deeper and thought...wait, that 6th chord is not what I expected. When I put what I expected there(Am), it sounded funny for a few plays>;O} As written does have a very pleasing progression through 6.7.Root. The book is so old and well respected...I just could not see a typo go that long. Possibly the era harmonic sense in play too. Neat stuff.


              • Jed
                Jed commented
                Editing a comment
                It can't be an Am6 (A C E F#) because of the F natural. I guarantee that he chose to harmonize the 6th of the major scale as the 3rd of an Fmaj triad. He does so ascending and descending in that exercise. Later in another exercise, he does the same harmonization. It's no typo.

                1st inversion: Imaj, IImin, IIImin, IVmaj, Vmaj,
                2nd inversion: IVmaj,
                1st inversion VIIdim (aka 2nd inversion V7 (rootless)),
                1st inversion: Imaj

                I remember well trying to figure out why he skipped the VImin chord. But once you play through the examples a few times you realize it sounds better harmonizing the 6th degree as the 3rd of the IVmaj chord.

            • #9
              Take your time and enjoy that book. I assume you have the thin brown cover one with GVE on the cover (as a sketch)? Also try to "see" the notes rather than just playing through the patterns. This book is a great tool for really learning your triadic harmony in all keys. Once you get comfortable with a large number of the exercises you'll realize how powerful triads and triads as partial 7th chords can really be.

              Am interesting study is to take all of the closed position, drop-2, drop-3 and drop 2&4 voicings for 7th chords: Find and learn to see the triads (adjacent and broken string sets) within the voicings that you already know and use for 7th chords.



              • #10
                As written does have a very pleasing progression through 6.7.Root.

                ​That's because the scale fragment: 6th > 7th > Root (A > B > C in C major) is harmonized by the IVmaj > Vmaj(7) > Imaj triads. The IV > V > I cadence is very strong, that's why it sounds so musical. Using the Am for the 6th degree is not nearly as strong a cadence.


                • #11
                  Originally posted by bildo View Post
                  BTW, If you grew up like me and used the fourth, fifth and sixth strings to map your chords. This GVE way of using one, Two, Three and Four as your reference points. Always good for another angle.
                  This point has the potential to greatly change (for the better) your thinking relative to chord work. When you focus on the high notes, it's easy to start thinking in terms or alternate harmonized lines as opposed to just playing block chords for rhythm guitar. Know all those cool harmonic guitar parts you love - they are found and played from the top notes down in a full band (with a bass player). Horn parts are written this way - you define a melody for the top horn voice and then just harmonize the two or three voices below that (3 & 4-part soli). GVE had a very pianistic approach to the guitar.



                  • #12
                    This link show the same exercise #1 using various (GVE) forms: In each form (variation) he harmonizes the 6th degree with a IVmaj triad, 2nd inversion. This is no mistake and no typo.


                    The link is good, but sometimes the page goes dead. If you google -george van epps- this guys page is the 5th listing.
                    Last edited by Jed; 07-30-2016, 11:02 AM.