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Old 04-17-2001, 04:37 PM
mapletrees mapletrees is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2001
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Couldn't let "Shower the People" go by without saying something about intervals...

remember, intervals and prunes are the keys to your overall'll be grumpy if your daily diet lacks either...

"Shower" is in the key of F but he capos at the 3rd fret and you play and think in terms of the key of D with a basic open D chord as the first true full chord of the tune.....(a D chord played with a capo at the 3rd fret actually represents an F chord...but again, as a guitar player you think D chord and key of D.....Just like when you play The Beatles' Here Comes the Sun with a capo at the 7th fret playing a basic D chord don't think of it as an A chord - even though it is...)

ASK if you don't understand the above stuff about the capo....

the nifty little opening to "Shower" is based upon intervals of a tenth in the key of D...(he throws in a couple of other notes - open 4th D string on the partial D and G chords and the note A on the 3rd string 2nd fret when he's playing the partial A chord)

Before the opening D chord (the first full chord of the song) he plays intervals that suggest the chords...

Em7, D/F#, G, A all in one know if you were to strum all four chords as full chord shapes it would sound clunky, awkward, non-flowing, choppy, and in a rotten nutshell that a squirrel would pass on - COMPLETELY can do that on an Epiphone at Guitar Center if you're 13 years old.....but if you've got a Taylor guitar or an Olsen (Olson?...whatever James Taylor plays...they cost about 5k to 8k I understand) you want to get serious and use intervals in such situations....

so what the heck are tenths...

well, they're the same thing as intervals of a 3rd but spread out an additional octave...

so what does that means I megatype...

here's the D major scale...

D major = D E F# G A B C# D

when your just beginning to think in terms of intervals don't write the last note of the scale (here that would be the D, the octave) might end up getting confused in your counting when you 'wrap around'.....

so, I'll rewrite the D major scale as...

D E F# G A B C#

first the 3rds in the key of D..I'll do them up the 4th and 3rd strings here mostly...remember, they could be done out on any pair of strings...

Also remember that it might be best to first 'see' intervals of a 10th in the keys of C and G...that should be done in the Basic Music Theory posts by the end of today...

Anyways, we'll do 3rds in the key of D, then stretch them out to 10ths like James Taylor does in the intro of this song....

wordy, wordy, wordy....

here's the 3rds in the key of D...

D and F# this could be

x54xxx - a major 3rd
xx 12 11 xx

the other 3rds in the key of D lie (lay?) on the 4th and 3rd strings better...

E and G xx20xx - a minor 3rd

F# and A xx42xx - a minor 3rd

G and B xx54xx - a major 3rd

A and C# xx76xx - a major 3rd

B and D xx97xx - a minor 3rd

C# and E xx 11 9xx - a minor 3rd

then back to

D and F# xx 12 11 xx - a major 3rd

Now to change these 3rds to 10ths we need to spread them out by an octave - two different ways to do that.... we either:

a) raise the higher notes of our 3rds by an octave


b) lower the lower notes of our 3rds by an octave..

You have to keep in mind that the fretboard creates physical limitations...sometimes we can't in a practical way go up an octave and sometimes we can't go down an octave ...


We'll first raise the higher notes of our 3rds to get 10ths..

D(1) E(2) F#(3) - that's a third (take note of how we count - we include both the D and F# in our counting)

play x54xxx - that's D and F#

Now if we raise the F# by an octave....we'd get an interval of a 10th like this

D(1) E(2) F#(3) G(4) A(5) B(6) C#(7) D(8) E(9) F#(10)...we just took the scale out to the next highest F# - again, take note of how we count...

play x5xxx2 or xx0xx2 (as opposed to what we had before x54xxx) that's D and F# 'spread out' by an octave...I'm trying to use non-technical language here...

Make sense? Ask if it doesn't...

Let's do the rest of the intervals as tenths....

Look back at how we played E and G as thirds...which was


If we now raise the higher note by an octave we get...

xx2xx3 that's E on the 4th string still but the G is now played an octave up on the 1st string...

It helps to know the fretboard cold......
It helps to learn to read music....

Now let's write out all the intervals of a 10th in the key of D in one spot here...up the 4th and 1st strings...(could do it on other pairs of strings of course....)..they should sound very pretty on your well-intonated Taylor.....very chimey and delicate, too...

D and F# xx0xx2

E and G xx2xx3

F# and A xx4xx5

G and B xx5xx7

A and C# xx7xx9

B and D xx9xx 10

C# and E xx 11 xx 12

back to D and F# as xx 12 xx 14

An example of something involving these intervals....

Play A7 to D the following way...don't just hit clunky beginner chords

play the open A 5th string
then hit the interval
let the open A keep ringing and slide the interval up to
then hit a partial D chord
xx0 11 x 10...ripple the partial D chord

get it to flow and ring...the rhythm is up to you......

try A7 to D this way..

let the open A 5th string ring out and play these intervals
xx 11 xx 12
xx 9 xx 10
D chord as
xx 0 7 7 10

again, do it with some sort of flow and ripple the last chord.....try throwing in the open A bass with each interval along the've heard this type of stuff...

You're 'outlining' the A7 chord instead of hitting a beginner chord...sounds much prettier if done with good rhythm...

Remember...we were going to play out tenths in the key of D by dropping our low notes of our thirds by an octave...let's do's what JT

Note that I can't drop the low note of x54xxx without dropping the tuning of the 6th string...sometimes the fretboard limits us ....that's fine..


play D and F# as x5xx7x - again, you can't get to a lower D without retuning....we'll bump the F# up an octave instead

but E and G...which was

xx20xx becomes 0xx0xx by lowering the note E on the 4th string by an octave down to the low open E string....we have an interval of a tenth now...count through the scale and ask if something is not clicking...and remember...this would be easier to 'see' in a key that lies differently on the fretboard...

I'll write out the rest of the intervals as 10ths

F# and A 2xx2xx

G and B 3xx4xx

now right here again note that you can play things out all over the fretboard.....G and B could have been

3xxx0x instead of 3xx4xx different strings have different qualities....perhaps you prefer one over the other...perhaps one is easier to get to at a particular time....learn that fretboard...

Before we go on try strummin' on a basic D chord....and where you might do a simple bass run going from

the G chord 320003


and then the strums on the G chord...obviously you've got to make it flow and not lose a beat (nor create one!) somewhere...sounds very different though...sounds more like Paul Simon all of a sudden.....

where were we...

I guess we're up to A and C#

A and C# 5xx6xx or x0xx2x

B and D 7xx7xx

C# and E 9xx9xx

then back to D and F#....maybe do them as
10 xx 11 xx this time...

gotta run....

Still editing.................haven't gotten to the ding a ling song yet really.......

well I guess we have really...if you look up above in this reply (near the top) around the word "nifty"....

JT plays in the intro of this song...


with just a couple other notes added in (look above and/or buy the authentic TAB book for his greatest hits album - or just listen to the recording)...the instructional point here is not to try and teach you how to play a JT song over the internet - good grief!...., but rather give an illustration as to how a good player like JT uses intervals to slide around the neck and play partial chords that create movement instead of big, chunky, and plodding full chords...

the interval 0xx0 is E with G, that's E and it's minor 3rd, and that's enough to tell your ears that they are hearing part of some E minorish chord (your ears haven't heard enough to know if it's going to be a plain E minor, or Em7, or Em9, or Em11, or whatever....but they know they aren't getting any sort of E majorish chord...learn to say more with life, too....I'm still working on that... )

the 2xx2xx is F# with A but what he is really playing is a partial D chord with F# in the bass...note that a D chord is the notes D, F# and A...he's just playing the F# and A here...(throws in open 4th D string to round out chord - listen to the recording to hear how the interval is played separately)

he moves up to 3xxx0x..a partial G chord....a G chord is the notes G, B, and D and with this interval he is playing the G and B...(throws in the open 4th string again to round out the chord...listen to how it comes in on the recording...again, the interval is separate)

he moves up to x0xx2x...a partial A A chord is the notes A, C#, and he is just playing A and its major 3rd which is C#....again enough to make your ears hear something 'majorish'...if you were to hear x0xx1x which is A with C (A with its minor 3rd - or 10th - however you want to view it - that would be enough to hear the sound of A minor)...again more with less......he also throws in the note A on the 3rd string 2nd fret to...but again listen to how he plays the interval separately....

Then he gets to the bass note of the opening D chord (and then picks out the first full chord) a half beat early (we call that can think of it as a form of syncopation - just doing something of interest on the offbeat where you perhaps didn't expect it...makes the music move along....get the fingerpicking instructional books I've suggested and you'll learn how to incorporate that simple but hugely important little rhythmic tool into your playing very well.....

So anyways, JT manages to move from the Em (the ii chord in the key of D) up to the A (the V chord in the key of D) in this intro without actually playing a chord in a traditional sense until he comes to the D chord (the I chord in the key of D)

a typical and often heard ii-V-I progession played atypically (sp?)

it's curious to note that the chorus of the song is just a repetitive ii-V (Em to A or A7)....with some other stuff thrown in of course...bass movement, diminished chord, altered chord...but the chorus being Em to A just like the intro makes it all seem very well thought out and complete......

I've gotta go eat some prunes..

[ 04-17-2001: Message edited by: mapletrees ]

[ 04-17-2001: Message edited by: mapletrees ]

[ 04-17-2001: Message edited by: mapletrees ]

[ 04-17-2001: Message edited by: mapletrees ]

[ 04-17-2001: Message edited by: mapletrees ]

[ 04-17-2001: Message edited by: mapletrees ]

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