9. Fifths

The interval of a 5th, or ‘perfect”5th, is the most consonant (harmonious) in the major scale, after the octave. In some instances, 5ths don’t change a line that much. However, compared to octaves they often do quite a bit! Still, they can often be played pretty liberally without changing the ‘intent of the line. Here is an example of root and fifth together.

Single line:

Harmonized with 5ths:

It’s a particular type of sound for sure, very distinctive. Overall, it is pretty much agreed that if you suspect you are overusing them, you probably are! I use them in this way only occasionally.  More often they are used in place of a major or minor chord; since they are root and 5th only, they function similarly to the “power chord”.

Example:

Progression: G C  G:

Vs22a  BOTH  w/backing track 3

The root & 5th is used in place of the G chord

 Many fine lines can be created with the root/5th combo. Experiment with them If they are unfamiliar.

© 2012 Jim Greenfield