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Harmonic Overlapping

Hi, today I'd like to talk about some interesting experiences I've been helding in my room with my guitar and mind (more properly with what's left from both of them).

It's a simple concept that I call Harmonic Overlapping. And what is it? Well... Exactly that!!! Before the death threats start to rise like mushrooms in it's season due to my lack of my brains (but let's face it: if I had any more brains, would I be a guitarist? Yeah... I thought so), allow me to explain very briefly in what consists this Harmonic Overlapping.

Basically, all that you'll ever do is more or less lay a chord over another one. As simple as that. What? You with the golden Flying V didn't understand? Easy, my son, no need for worrying or crying, the example will clear the fog in your mind a little bit.

Let's start with a simple one first, shall we?

If you lay down an A5 (yes, just the root and it's fifth) over a F5, what do we have? You don't know? Let's break it down then:

Throwing these variables in a little equation, we'll have:

F5 + A5 = F + C + A + E = Fmaj7 (FACE).

See? That wasn't so hard, was it? This example shows that with simple power chords you get a whole 4 note chord and... NO, it's not a JAZZ chord!!!!! It's just a chord with 4 notes in it, alright? So, let's move on!! Another cool thing here is that by just rearranging these same notes in a different sequence a different chord comes up. Watch this:

Fmaj7 = F A C E, but:
A C E F = Am11.

Is that clear? So, to an example slightly more complex:

C + Am = C E G + A G E = Am7 (ACEG), but then again:
Am7 = A C E G // (let's pretend that means “shuffle”)
C E G A = G13.

Another one on the same “vibe”:

C + Em = C E G + E G B = Cmaj7 (CEGB),
Cmaj7 = C E G B // E G B C = Em13.

So far, so good? What? You in the back! What's you name, son? Shrivanalujibanastav? What a nice little name you have there. Do you have a suggestion? Alright, bring it on!!!

Shrivi's example:

E + Caug = E G# B + C E G# = Eadd13 (E G# B C);
Eadd13 = E G# B C // C E G# B = Caugmaj7.

Yeah!! The class is really picking it up. It brings tears to my eyes. Before another example, I'd like to stretch the interesting detail that in most of these examples the chords have at least one in note in common. You can, of course, overlap chords that have no notes in common, but it'll be harder to finger those in instruments like guitar, bass, violin…(the exception is made when you're dealing with power chords). You can dodge this problem by using two hand tapping (or Touch Technique) or moving to piano…

Since we're running out of time, I'll throw one of my favourites.

F#m + C#m = F# A C# + C# E G# = F#m7 (add9) (F# A C# E G#). But, then again:

F#m (add9) = F# A C# E G# //
A C# E F# G# = Amaj7 (add13) //
C# E F# G# A = C#m (add11/13-).

I like this one very much not only because it sounds like the second chord that comes out in Police's “Every Breath You Take” (and that brings back some memories) with an added 7, but also because it can be shuffled into three different chords and all of them very, very harmonic wealthy.

Well, I tried here to broaden your harmonic horizons. What I showed you here were musical examples, not jazz or piano examples, and they should be applicable in any musical style. And before this column starts to look like Castro's speech, I leave you with: Give chords a chance!!! It can only add to your guitar playing.

For death threats, requests, complaining or any other form of expression, I can be contacted through

See you all next time.