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Learning Chords and Scales

This chapter describes the ways in which Virtualoso Guitar teaches and tests you on chords and scales. Testing in these modes is performed by selecting the "Make Me Guess" type menu items and clicking on the respective "Play" buttons.

Learn Chords mode can display chords and query you on their name. One way in which to use this mode is as a virtual road map, to display chords so that you can play them on your own guitar. In this way, you can learn how to use moveable chords on your own fretboard.

By changing the root of the chord, via the "Root" menu, you move the assumed position of your hand to play the new chord generally keeping the shape of the form the same! The names of the chords are derived from the "Root Note", which is a light blue color on the guitar. If you know the names of the frets on the bottom three strings, you can generally play any moveable chord form anywhere on the fretboard, you just have to know its shape. That is why we would rather highlight the root note than list the finger numbers for the chord. Chord fingering is trivial. See the chapter on Chords in Part I of this manual if you do not know the fingering rule for chords.

If you'd like to play the chord with a different form, you simply move the form with the arrow buttons on the bottom right corner of the window. The << and >> buttons move the chord to the next "easy" location, (generally the next complete root position location). The < and > buttons move the position one fret at a time. The "form" name signifies the shape of the name of the chord shape if it was in Open Position.

Another way to use this mode is for ear training. By selecting "Make Me Guess" you can see the pattern of frets that the chord uses on the guitar, and then by clicking on the "Play Chord" button, you can hear notes of the chord. When you think you know what the chord is named, simply click on the "Chord" menu again to see the selected name. You may use any key signature with this mode, however, the key signature does not determine the root of the chord.

Learn Scales mode can display scales and query you on their name. You may also use this mode as a virtual road map, to display scales so that you can play them on your own guitar. In this way, you can gain practical experience playing the scales on your own fretboard. Simply play from one tonic note up to another tonic note and back down, click on the "Play Scale" button and make sure that it sounds exactly the same as what you just played.

Changing the tonic of the scale works differently than changing a root note in the Explore Chords mode. You must select a different tonic by changing the key signature. Key signatures, in conjunction with the scale type determine the tonic note. By changing the tonic of the scale, you change the notes that make up the scale so they revolve around this new tonic. Your implied hand position remains the same. If you'd like to play the scale with a different form, you simply move the form with the arrow buttons on the bottom right corner of the window. The < and > buttons move the position one fret at a time.

Another way to use this mode is for ear training. By selecting "Make Me Guess" you can see the pattern that the scale uses on the guitar, and then by clicking on the "Play Scale" button, you can hear notes of the scale. When you think you know what the scale is named, simply click on the "Scale" menu again to see the selected name.

Getting Started

Use the Mode Menu and select the Explore Chords or Explore Scales mode.

For Explore Chords mode:

For Explore Scales mode:

Menus

Chord
This menu determines the type of the chord to display.
Root
This menu determines the root note of the chord.
Scale
This menu determines the type of the scale to display.
Key Signature
For Explore Scales mode, changes the tonic note.

Buttons

More or Less Info
This button shows or hides the graphical text in the mode window.
Play Scale
This button plays the scale.
Play Chord
This button plays the chord.
Arrow Buttons
Move the form to a different location. The << and >> arrow buttons move the chord form to the next "easy" location to play the chord. The < and > arrow buttons move a form by one fret (one position).

Fields

Name Field
Displays the root, tonic or form of the associated notes.

Table of Contents

Next: Learning to Master the Fretboard

Previous: Learning Relative Pitch and Intervals