How To Create Musical Storylines

Today, I want to look at some ideas for creating a musical storyline in your guitar playing. The goal here is to create a sense of movement in your chord progressions. It's about feeling like you've started at one point and ended somewhere different, essentially crafting a journey within your music.

To illustrate this, let's consider a simple chord progression: A minor, G, and C. It's not just about the chords themselves but also about how we play them. For instance, you might pluck three strings together, focusing on the root note and strings two and three. The specific picking pattern isn't crucial here; our focus is on note selection within the chords.

Now, let's analyze this progression. We start with a low A note, move down to G, and then ascend past A to C. This creates movement, but it may not give a sense of linear, upward momentum. If we're looking to build a song with momentum, just bouncing around these chords might not be enough. We need to tweak the progression to create that sense of forward motion.

One way to do this is to change one of the chords. For example, in the G chord, instead of using the G root note on the sixth string, we can use the B note on the fifth string (G/B). This slight alteration starts to create a different effect, especially in the lower end of the chord. However, to create movement in the upper end of the chord, we might use a different version of the G chord. By adding our third finger on the third fret of the second string, we get a new sound that contributes to the storyline.

Let's also consider using different strings for our C chord. By moving up a string, we can use the C and E on the first and second strings. This change starts to create a narrative in our music, a progression that really feels like it's going somewhere.

Another direction we can take is adding a D chord to the progression and playing it in a way that focuses on the lower portion of the chord. This technique draws attention to the lower end of the chords, adding depth to our musical story. Furthermore, adding a G note throughout the entire progression, including the A minor, creates an A Minor 7 chord and adds a coiled tension to the music.

Each of these alterations tells a different story. You can use them together or separately to create larger, more complex musical narratives. It’s about paying attention to your chord voicing selection and how these choices impact the overall feel and direction of your music.

This is the kind of exploration we dive into in the Rhythm Player's Guide to Picking. Remember, experimenting with chord voicings and note selections can significantly change the feel and direction of your music, turning simple progressions into compelling stories. 

Which of these examples did you prefer? Let me know in the comments below. 

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