Do You NEED To Resolve Dissonant Chords?

Do You NEED To Resolve Dissonant Chords?

Tommaso Zillio

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multiple dissonant chords

By-the-book music theory tells you that if you play a dissonant chord, you need to resolve that dissonance by playing a consonant chord just after (and not any consonant chord either, there are lotsa rulez to pick the right one)

(And we all know how musicians love following rules... that is, not a little bit)

So most people believe that if you want to play music comprised almost entirely of dissonant chords with little to no resolution, you need to become a Jazz musician. After all, they are allowed anything in the name of "Jazz".

This leaves many wondering, "What if I want to play a lot of dissonant chords without becoming a disappointment to my friends and family?" (*)

Well, I’m here to tell you that now, you can have it all!

You can play as many dissonant chords as you want while still being able to experience the warm release of serotonin from hearing someone say, "I’m proud of you".

Buuuuut, how can this be achieved? This was thought to be impossible for centuries! What forgotten, sacred technique needs to be used?

Well, it’s not forgotten, not sacred, not particularly new, and not all that difficult to be honest... but you probably haven’t seen it before. Oh, yeah, and it’s 100% street-legal.

So stop sitting around: go at the link below if you want to learn how you can seamlessly connect as many dissonant chords as your beautiful heart desires... and get away with it!

(*) Yeah, I know I am always picking on Jazz musicians. But, in my defense, they make it so easy...

Do you want to know even more about chords? There is so much to learn about chords and harmony, but if you want a single resource to learn all the most important things about chords on the guitar, check out my Complete Chord Mastery guitar course.

Video Transcription

Hello internet, so nice to see you! So the other day I was watching a famous YouTuber talking about music theory and a certain point he says that in jazz you can follow a dissonant chord with another dissonant chord, as opposed to classical music where after every dissonant chord, you need to put a consonant chord.

And I'm like, what? This is absolutely not true. Now, I'm not gonna say the name of this famous Youtuber, first of all, because I don't like flame wars. Second, I don't like being polemic. And especially third, I am a creator myself, I know that when you make a video, occasionally, you may misspoke or put in a sentence or two that then in the video seem to get different meanings. So and I'm pretty sure he actually meant something different.

But I mean, the phrase is there it stands now. So I thought a how about I make an example of a chord progression where you have dissonant chord and they resolve into more dissonant chords, okay. Because also because he sounds great, in my opinion. So just as a counter example.

So when people tell you that classical music, it's all about consonants, or that you have always to come back to consonants, well, maybe by the end of the piece, it was their aesthetic to come back to a very consonant chord, but why the piece is going, you can resolve a dissonant chord into another dissonant chord, and then into another dissonant chord, and so on and so forth, seemingly for as long as you want.

So, I'm gonna show you these chord progression, I'm gonna just explain what's going on. I'm not gonna go too in depth on the technical why, but I'm gonna show you that it's a chord progression made of dissonant chords, let's play it in the key of G major. And we start, of course, with a consonant chord, which is just G major.

That's a plain old G major chord, nothing strange here, my next chord is going to be dissonant, and it's going to be an A minor seventh with a bass of G. And it's dissonant. Because first of all, it's a seventh chord and in classical music, seventh chords are dissonant the seventh requires resolution. And also because it's in a strange inversion, the seven these are the bass. A way to resolve seven chords, it's to move them along the circle of fifths.

So on a minor seven, if I move along the circle of fifths, I'm going to have a D seven chord, if I play a D seven chord, and that try to make every single voice move as little as possible. What happens is this, the A minor seven chord has the notes, A, C, E, G, the D seven chord, which is the next chord in the circle of fifths, while we're still in the key of G as the notes D, F sharp, A and C. So A and C are in common.

And the other two notes just require us step wise movements. So from here, I'm just going here. This chord is listening to again, because seventh chords are dissonant in classical music, and it's not in root position, either it's in first inversion, the third at the base, let's keep following along the circle of fifths, and let's keep playing the seventh chords in the key of G, the next chord will be G major seven.

And again, I have two notes in common and two notes that need to move step wise. And I go here. And again, this chord is dissonant. It's actually very different if I was playing these chord, without having played everything else before this chord with sound positively horrible. Because the seven is at the bass, but since you have in your ear, the previous chords in the progression, this chord now sounds perfectly acceptable and even mild.

This is kinda one of the magic things about music theory, the way you perceive a chord depends a lot on what come before, and what comes after that chord. And if you scramble the order, everything sounds more dissonant, and there are orders to make things more dissonant in interesting way and more consonant to in interesting ways.

Again, all the chords I'm playing right now, except for the first chord, the G major, all the others are dissonant chord, and yet they don't sound that dissonant. Maybe that's what gives the impression that in classical music, we always end up on a consonant chord, but it's actually not true.

Incidentally, this chord progression I'm showing you right now as being in use from the Baroque era. So hey, pretty old. It's like 300 years old. And the idea is that at this point, I just keep going with the circle of fifths, then this happens essentially, let's say from the beginning.

At this point, I think we had enough of this chord progression. And then I would just put the standard cadence where I put the first chord in first inversion, and then the second chord and the fifth, and then the first chord in root position. So at this point, yes, if I want, I want to close the piece, then I have to go to a consonant chord, but everything else, all the chords before are dissonant.

So yeah, it's not true that in classical music, a dissonant chord must be followed by a consonant chord. What the famous youtuber probably meant is that you have to resolve your dissonances, which, yes, it's exactly what's happening here, the dissonance in every single chord will be the seventh in the chord.

And if you notice, every time we move along these chord progression, the seventh thing, the chord moves down a step in the scale. So when I have these a minor seven, with the base of G, the seventh in the chord is the G note and which moves down to an F sharp in the next chord, which is the seventh, so the F sharp is the third.

And so this takes the dissonant note the seven moving down to a constant of noting the chord, which is the third. Now when I'm here at a dissonant note will be the seventh in this the seventh, which is the C note, but when I play the next chord, that C note moves down to a B note, which is the third of the next chord. So the seventh always moves down by step and always goes to the third in the next chord.

And these yes, these dissonance resolve, but the chord per se does not need to be consonant, the chord could be fairly dissonant, could be even more dissonant than that, depending on the exact era of classical music or thinking about in the Romantic era, we go even more dissonant, but I want to show you something that has been there, literally forever, essentially, one of the oldest chord progressions that we have that has this feature of always landing on a dissonant chord.

If you guys were able to follow these, again, it's not a beginner video, it's a few not advanced, at least intermediate concepts to understand. Of course, everybody can play it even if you don't understand that if you don't understand what's going on, it requires a bit more knowledge of music theory, whether you do have this knowledge or not.

I can help you by clarifying all those tricks and all those connection and doing everything from the basics so that you understand what is the logic behind those chords and those progression and how they connect together. And the same logic works for classical music and for jazz and for several other kinds of music.

And if you want to know more about that, I recommend you guys check out my course complete chord mastery, complete chord mastery. It's not a book. It's a complete video course that takes you from the basics up. We do everything you need to know about harmony and chords on your guitar. All the theory is done straight on the fretboard. There is no theory for the sake of theory here.

Everything is immediately practical. And everything is developed through exercises so you know how to apply these immediately on your guitar. If you have just a minute click on the link on the top right to check out complete chord mastery. If you liked this video, smash that like button and don't forget to subscribe and click on notification otherwise YouTube will not let you know when I put up a new video.

And if you have any comments, feedback, suggestions, write them down in the comment. I enjoy reading from you and they make videos on your suggestions. This is Tommaso Zillio for musictheoryforguitar.com, and until next time, enjoy.

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