Song Study on Vocals and Chord ... solely on whether or not you can actually sing in all three...

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Transcript of Song Study on Vocals and Chord ... solely on whether or not you can actually sing in all three...

  • Song Study on Vocals and Chord Connection The song I'd like to study today is "To Make You Feel My Love" by Bob Dylan. This particular version is a mash up between my interpretation, Adele's interpretation, and Garth Brooks interpretation. I decided to do it this way because Dylan wasn't really known for a wide vocal range. This version for me works the best.

    The first thing we need to do is examine the chords used in the song. There are a few chords that at first glance might seem difficult, but they really aren't. Also, remember the focus here is more on singing with the root chord itself, so the overall goal is to look at the bass line.

    Immediate Note: This song IS played with a capo on the 1st fret. However, you can also play this song without it. Everything I explain here has to do with the capo relativity in mind. This is how I teach so that I can cover the full possibilities without the capo in mind.

    In other words, the first chord is a Cadd9 when played open. However, it's "actually" a C#add9. Follow me? Doing that the entire time is beyond confusing.

    First Things First.... The intro that I am playing is just a Cadd9, so we won't worry about that. We'll take a

  • look at the verse progression:

    Cadd9 - Em7 | Em7b5 - F | Fm - C | D7 - G - Cadd9 As you can see, each line is divided up into two chords, except the last line. At the beginning of the course I mentioned that we usually want to TRY our middle voice when playing the C Major, because the C Major allows us a natural low, middle, and high C (as found on piano.)

    Here is the reference to the first full verse:

  • The blue lines indicate that we want to sing in our middle voice. Because we are beginning with the root/chord base of C, we want to try our best to use the C middle voice. The black lines indicate that we want to sing in our low voice. The question is, do we want to sing in a low C or a low E? You will want to use the low, middle, and high ranges of C, as the C note itself is the key of this song. Technically, with the capo in mind, we're in C#. Again, we don't need to worry about that. You can play this song without a capo.

    About the Underlined Parts:

    The underlined parts allow you to choose between either low or middle. This will depend on your range and ability. I kept the color as how I would do it, but I always want to provide you with options.

    Second Things....Second We now need to figure out "where" we want to play these chords. This will establish our low, middle, and high voicings.

  • E root chords:

    Em7, Em7b5, F, Fm, G

    These chords all use the low E string as their root, so we want to plot the root note for each of these chords. We don;t need to concern ourselves with anything more than the origin note.

    Note E F F# G G# A A# B C C# D D# E

    Fret 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 A root chords:

    Cadd9, C Note A A# B C C# D D# E F F# G G# A

    Fret 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12

  • D root chords:


    Note D D# E F F# G G# A A# B C C# D

    Fret 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12

    Third Things...Third Now, we just need to connect the chords!

    Cadd9 is an A string root chord. Em7 is an E string root chord. Em7b5 is an E string root chord. F is an E string root chord. Fm is an E string root chord. C is an A string root chord. D7 is a D string root chord. G is an E string root chord.

    Cadd9 to Em7: We start on the A string and then move to the E string for our first two chords. We are starting in C using our middle voicing. It only makes sense that we move to our lower voicing when we get to the Em7 since the E note rings lower than the C note (without considering octaves at this point.)

  • Em7b5 to F: We are still on the E string root. However, this line calls for us to use our middle voice. Why? Based on the C as our original key, we want to keep consistency in the overall song. We will be singing our Em7b5 as a MIDDLE C - not in E. Again, because E is higher in tone than F, we can only assume to sing the F as a lower voicing.

    Fm to C: The same situation applies here as it did from Em7b5, where we want to sing this line in middle C for consistency. The next chord is a C Major though. Hmm...what do we do? The C note is higher than the F note isn't it? Why would we sing this part lower? Consistency.

    Just like playing lead guitar, all we are really doing is focusing on keeping either a low, middle, or high vocal tone based on the original key or root used in a given progression.

  • Because of the tuning on a standard guitar, in this case the C actually sounds LOWER than the F doesn't it? maybe you see why I refer to singing solely in low, middle, and high based ONLY on the root chord.

    In order to provide a unique change, WHILE keeping consistency from middle to low, we want to sing the F - C progression from middle to low.

    D7 to G to Cadd9: Here we play from a D root to an E root to an A root. Whew. Is this going to be tricky? Nah. Not really. Again, consistency is our goal. We don't want too much of a change for the verse theme. We already know that we want to be focusing on singing "in C" no matter what. So far, the entire theme has been middle to low. By now you can assume that while we DO have a D7 as our chord in the last line, we simply sing the note D in a middle C. The open D string itself is lower in pitch than the open G string, but since we are playing a G chord, the root falls on the E string. So, in this case the D note is actually HIGHER in pitch than the 3rd fret root note for the G Major. Imagine that - we go lower in pitch from D(7) to G. Eureka!

    We finalize the verse theme with the Cadd9. This is completely optional (as shown in the underlined word) in terms of where you want to go with the voicings. I kept it rather low. So, if you find yourself able to sing in low and/or middle C, then you can simply pick which one you prefer. Based on consistency, we're looking for a lower voicing. Besides, the next verse begins with Cadd9. If you are really good at singing in middle C, you MIGHT want to use the middle C voicing to keep you from going out of vocal range.

  • But Wait?! The chords change, so will we always be singing in C (or C# with a capo in mind)? Yep. Unless you want to get crazy with your singing.

    Cadd9 = Em7 = Em7b5 = F = Fm = C = D7 = G =

    C, D, E, G B, D, E, G A#(Bb), D, E, G A, C, F C, F, G#(Ab) C, E, G A, C, D, F#(Gb) B, D, G

    Now, all of these notes are similar to the entire progression: Cadd9 = Em7 = Em7b5 = F = Fm = C = D7 = G =

    C, D, E, G B, D, E, G A#(Bb), D, E, G A, C, F C, F, G#(Ab) C, E, G A, C, D, F#(Gb) B, D, G

  • What are we left with? From all 8 of these chords, the only notes that aren't "shared" so to speak are the notes A#/Bb, G#/Ab, and F#/Gb. While these notes most definitely help make up the chords as they are produced, we don't need to concern ourselves with them in terms of singing.

    The A#, G#, and F# are NOT found in the C Major scale, but in this course we will actually be singing the HARDEST of all vocal scales - the chromatic scale. The chromatic scale is arguably the easiest in terms of guitar, but with vocals we have all 12 notes to try and sing. However, since I've narrowed down our voices to only three: low, middle, and high - I've given us a cheat.

  • Where's The Rest of The Song? Ok. I have neglected thus far to provide you with a high voicing. Really this song doesn't move too high, but nonetheless here is what we could do for the bridge:

    I've now added red lines. These are where we want to sing in our high C. BUT - there's a trick to this just in case you can't quite hit the high C. Because we have completely changed chord progressions (though we haven't changed key) we can use the F Major if we want to sing in our high voicing. This time, instead of C we CAN sing in a high F. The goal is to use our low, middle, or high voicing based solely on the chord in question. Assuming you can sing in a high C, you'll want to bring your voicing down to a quick middle C, and then a low C.

    VERY important: everything you read above is completely optional, and is based solely on whether or not you can actually sing in all three voicings of C. If you can't then simply play the F Major and practice the high, middle, and low voicings there. Odds are you'll sound better in F than C.

  • When you continue through the song, and based on the diagram I gave you with the chords, lyrics, and color chart, you will most likely see yet ANOTHER vocal pattern that comes across throughout the bridge.

    Red --> Blue --> Black Blue --> Black --> Blue Red --> Blue --> Black

    Uh oh...the last line is different huh? Why? Think about a turnaround on guitar. The turnaround applies here as well with vocals. We know that after the bridge we'll be singing and playing a different progression, right? We need to wrap this passage up, so the last thing we want to do is end the bridge with dynamics. We want to close this out, so instead of singing high voicing, we want to use only a VERY SMALL amount of middle voice. Most everything else should stay low. I would even argue that I don't sing the "...doubt in my mind" in a middle C voicing. I listened to it a dozen or more times and I still can't decide.

    One more note: In the bridge there is a Dm7. It's intentional. The Dm7 contains the notes D, A, C, and F. From further above you'll recall that these notes are all part of the original chord ser