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Descending Aeolian with Chords

by Jerry Rockwell

In a previous article, we showed you how to descend the B Aeolian (in DAD tuning) with mostly just the melody notes, using a little support here and there from some of the important "drone" notes of B Aeolian. Now let's look at what happens if we play the melody notes on top of chords: one chord for each note in the mode:

   Bm   F#m    Em    Bm    Em    Bm    A     Bm   
|D|-5----2---|-1-----0---|-3-----2---|-1-----2---|
|A|-5----2---|-1-----1---|-1-----1---|-2-----1---|
|D|-5----4---|-3-----2---|-1-----0---|-----------|

There are many more ways to get through these chords, and here are some that are not tied to the descending Aeolian specifically (though you could have a friend play the descending notes, and it would add a wonderful dimension to what you play with the following changes):

    Bm   F#m7  Em    Bm    Em    Bm    A     Bm   
|D|-2----2---|-3-----2---|-1-----0---|-1-----2---|
|A|-1----0-2-|-1-----1---|-1-----1---|-0-----1---|
|D|-0----1---|-1-----0---|-3-----2---|-1-----0---|
                                                 
    Bm   F#m   Em    Bm    Em    Bm    A     Bm   
|D|-2----2-4-|-5-----5---|-8-----7---|-6+----5---|
|A|-1----2---|-4-----5---|-6-----5---|-4-----5---|
|D|-0----2---|-3-----0---|-5-----5---|-4-----0---|
                                                 
    Bm   F#m   Em    Bm    Em    Bm    A7    Bm   
|D|-0----2---|-3-----5---|-5-----5---|-4-----5---|
|A|-1----2---|-4-----5---|-4-----3---|-4-----5---|
|D|-2----4---|-5-----5---|-3-----2---|-3-----0---|

These are in block chord formations. Most often, I usually like to arpeggiate these chords with a flowing fingerpicking style. Use your imagination!!

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