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Lead Improvisation Spanish Style 7

Step 7 Learn the Chords

Knowledge of chords is at the heart of good improvisation so time spent exploring the chords used in this style will pay dividends in your lead playing.

Most of the chords used in this style are your run of the mill shapes - the ones pictured below are just some of the lesser known chords.

What key are we in ?

You could put the root on an E major and get a moody very spanish sound but it is more usual to put the root on A minor so the key we're in for the purpose of looking at the chords is A minor (spanish).

The "three chord trick" ( I IV V ) for this key is A minor, D minor, E major so a good starting point is to learn as many different shapes and arpeggios of these three as you can as these are the building block chords.

To help get you started on this I have tabbed out all the ways I might play A minor.




Aminor            Aminor7          Aminor9

Bminorb5        Bminor7b5

Cmajor             Cmajor7          Cmajor9

Dminor            Dminor7         Dminor9

Emajor              E7                     E7b9

Fmajor              Fmajor7          Fmajor9

Gmajor             G7

These are all chords that are actually used rather than a theoretical list ( which would be much longer )

Some other chords occasionally used are;
E minor (7)

sus 2 and sus 4 ( A and D )

Add 9 ( all except B and E ) - [ Minor 9 and Minor add9 are, in effect, interchangeable ]

F (or B,D,G#) diminished - also,for lead, try an arpeggio of this chord over an E7 or E7 b9

Altered bass note chords such as E/G# ; Fmaj7/A ; Fmaj7b5/B

Please understand that all these chords are inside the key structure and that in practice some chords that are outside the key could be added to a piece in the same way that accidental notes can sometimes be added to the scales.

An example of this is that an Fm chord (which is in the key structure) is almost never used - whereas an F7 chord ( which is not in the key structure) sometimes is used

Learning the key structure is important for putting the scales into context.

In the following lessons I'll put some of these chords to use and talk about sequences.