Tonight’s tuning is Open B mM7, which features a dissonant chord as the open chord. Dissonant chords are great for building tension and suspension and typically have a “dark” sound to them. Consonant chords have an open, nice sound to them.
There are no solid lines in the sand regarding dissonant and consonant chords, and I try to add a little of both in nearly everything I write.
Tonight’s song idea, titled “Breaking Frames,” was written while I was improvising with this really dark-sounding alternate tuning. I “hide” the B mM7 until the first break section, but you have to really watch because it’s only played for a half a second starting at (1:08)
Here are the scale notes, numbers, scale degrees and intervals I’m playing (including the A note I added to the scale):
Here are the open string notes of tonight’s alternate tuning:
D F# B F# A# D
Sometimes when I’m writing a song, I “hide” the open chord in my chord progressions so that when I do play it for the first time (or perhaps the only time) it’s in a specific part of the song or idea. Or sometimes the chord just doesn’t sound “good” as a main chord.
There is an added payoff if the hidden open chord is first played as a highlight or turning point in the song. This will give your song some lift and introduce a change that catches the listener’s attention, or begins to focus on the next part of the song.
I hope “Breaking Frames” breaks you out of any frames you have when you write songs. Please share what you think, and if you have a cool idea to share, please do!
May these daily alt tunings continue to inspire you as you explore songwriting beyond the limitations of standard tuning. If you’d like to learn more about making alt tuning a part of your songwriting, give me a call at 888-7-GUITAR or reach out to me here.
Until next time…
Did you know? Scott started playing guitar when he was 14 years old back in 1982. A Pittsburgh native, Scott resides in Rhode Island where he teaches guitar, bass, music and songwriting. He also records and mixes songs for local bands and artists as well as his own music. He writes and records nearly every day and has a real passion to help others hear their “inner voice” and express that in songs.
You can listen to more of Scott’s music at https://soundcloud.com/scottquillin.