A minor (pun intended) epiphany this morning

thebowl

Tele-Meister
Joined
May 19, 2014
Posts
418
Location
New Jersey
This board always seems to have good discussion of theory. I got my first guitar in the 60s, but I have only in the past decade or so begun to focus on musical theory. I am so glad that I got around to this. I get so much more pleasure from my playing.

Recently I have been spending a lot of time (first thing in the morning, quality time) on a set of lessons by Jens Larsen, whose stuff I really enjoy. The jist of the lessons is to learn Take the A Train. The chords, the melody, the arpeggios, the scales, all at or around the eigth position. I am far enough into it to work out my own soloing lines, which is such a huge milestone.

This morning's epiphany had to do with the third, specifically in Cmaj7, which is the key of the tune. The third obviously establishes a chord as major or minor. And I have learned that the third and the seventh are arguably the two most important tones, after the root. All basic stuff, no? But what hit me today is that the third can be THE resolution of a line of melody. It has finality all its own, in the key. It doesn't cry out for a resolution, like a 5th (which sort of demands it) or even a 9th (which asks politely, but firmly). You can end your journey at the third, with no open question about the key. I am now wondering if, for purposes of soloing, it may not be more useful than the root, if only because it IS different from the root note.
 

klasaine

Doctor of Teleocity
Silver Supporter
Joined
Nov 28, 2006
Posts
10,333
Location
Los Angeles, Ca
3rd is definitely more important than the root. Especially when there's another harmony instrument (bass, keys, whatever).
The verse of A-Train is fairly straight forward.
When you're soloing over the bridge, nail the 3rd (A) of that first Fmaj7 chord.
 

Jay Jernigan

Tele-Afflicted
Joined
Feb 11, 2013
Posts
1,750
Location
10-uh-C
You can have roots and fifths stacked from the earth to the moon and only need one third to define it as major or minor.
 

Jeremy_Green

Tele-Meister
Joined
May 4, 2020
Posts
196
Location
In the Shed somewhere
For me, a third is like a comma in a paragraph. And the root note is the period at the end. When you want to make a strong closing statement - end on the root. But if you have more to say - try targeting the third.
 




Top