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May 2019 • Newsletter


Spring greetings to all Ted fans, students, and friends!

This month we decided to repost Barbara Franklin’s message from our February 2007 Newsletter, as these comments are always valuable and good reminders, and because they tie in with some of the new lesson material that we prepared for you relating to the subject of ear-training.


One aspect of musicianship Ted was well noted for was his incredible ability to hear everything: what key a piece was in, what chords were being used, modulations, or individual voices in an orchestra. This ability was not a gift from birth, it was nurtured and developed over many years through various methods Ted devised to hone each area of hearing into perfection. Ear training was also a very important part of his teaching and he stressed the importance and advantages of ear training to his students.

One day I asked him how he taught himself to hear so well, and this is how he said he began. I’m not sure exactly how old he was, just that he was a much younger man. He chose what was then his “favorite” pitch: E. He drilled the sound of E into his head, humming it all the time, checking to make sure it was correct, until the sound of E was so ingrained he could hear it or pick it out anywhere, anytime. With that E sound being unequivocal, he could use it to determine any other note. Hence, he developed “perfect” relative pitch. He worked on it constantly. He worked on it for years.

Listening, understanding, and analyzing music was an integral part in Ted’s life. For instance, at first whenever we would watch a movie Ted would say to me, “Barbie, I’m sorry, I have to figure out what chords those were,” and he would stop the movie and listen over and over until he got it. This would happen so often during a movie, that some nights we never got to the end! Finally, I had to ask him to please mark the place and go back to it afterwards. He understood and graciously complied with my request. But this is what was even more incredible: Ted eventually was able to determine what pitch people were speaking in! The point being that there was never a time when he was not listening and analyzing.

So, choose a pitch!

By now you might have guessed I have chosen some Ear Training studies for this month’s selection. You will find them in the LESSONS section under OTHER. You will notice in one of the exercises Ted asks you to sing an arpeggiated chord. Ted always felt that being capable of singing the lines you play, not only improved your ear, but your playing in general, especially when improvising and if you are so inclined, composing.

Also take note that Ted encouraged practice without the guitar — visualizing the sound mentally, in other words, knowing the sound of each note on the guitar and where to find it on the fingerboard IN YOUR HEAD!!!!

Sound like a lot of work? It is. Yet if you sincerely, deeply want to learn this — it is within your ability, absolutely attainable!

* * * * *

In the last batch of Lesson File Upgrades, we posted Ted’s lesson on “Multi-Tonal Major Key Colors” in the “Harmony & Theory” section. At the bottom of that page Ted gave these definitions of “key” and “tonality” that you might find interesting:

KEY: Organized sounds where one tone can be sensibly seen and heard, to have generated the others.

TONALITY: The particular flavoring or color of a in key of C Major or more specifically at times, C Major Diatonic or C Blues, or C Mixolydian. Or when more precision is needed, C Jazz Blues, C Gospel Blues, C Minor Chicago Blues, C Minor Dorian Blues, C Minor Dark Jazz Blues, and so on.

* * * * *

~ Your friends on the Team


* Melancholy Serenade, 1999-04-05. [This is Ted’s arrangement of the theme for the Jackie Gleason TV Show. This one is quite challenging. You’ll first want to go to YouTube and listen to a recording of the original piece, so you have a sense of the melody and harmonic structure. It would be great if someone would learn this arrangement and then post a YT video of them playing it — that sure would make it easier for others to learn from. Any takers? As usual we created a compilation file which includes music notation, lyrics, and Ted grids. Good luck!]

* Chart of Bass Harmonization for Baroque Period, 1980-06-09. [One of Ted’s students recently commented on this chart: “This page looks like Ted is getting started working on Baroque counterpoint. He begins with every possibility as usual. Every possible bass note in the key of C across the bottom row. Above them, every possible melody note they could take, and what chord tone or interval above the bass that would be. Since he leaves some of the squares blank, those must be ones he thinks are rare.” We provided a typed chart for easier reading.”]

Under the “Harmonization of a Given Melody” header:

* Harmonization: 1st Phrase of “There Will Never Be Another You,” Part 2. [This page continues Ted’s various treatments of this melody. (See part 1 for more variations.) We added notation and chord names to each diagram. Ted would certainly want you to analyze each of the different treatments and keep a list of the concepts and techniques used for each – to be applied to other melodies when you’re making your own arrangements.]
* Technique of Diatonic Harmonization (as derived from bass lines), Part 2, 1977-07-18. [This lesson is another for Ted’s series on harmonization. Notice the ascending or descending bass lines and how they are used to generate the harmony. Standard music notation provided to make analysis easier.]

Under the “Ear-Training” header:

* Ear-Training, 1992-11-02. [This page was written up during a private lesson.]
* Ear-Training and Harmonic Tendencies Knowledge, 1986-04-22. [This seems to be a rough outline for a page in a book Ted intended to write on ear-training for guitarists. Typed text for easy reading.]
* Ear-Training – Starting Notes of Beatles Tunes, 1989-12-20 & 1990-10-17. [Using early Beatles songs, Ted catalogs them according to their starting notes, for ear-training purposes.]
* Ear-Training Strategies, 1989-12-14. [This is another lesson outline intended for Ted’s book, or for general teaching.]
* Ear-Training Thru Singing and Visualizing, 1990-09-06 & 1987-12-26. [This lesson is to be used for ear-training via singing and fingerboard visualizing. The implied or outlined chords are named in blue, as well as some “continuation” follow-throughs. New notation provided.]

Ted on YouTube

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The Official Ted Greene Forums

* Of course, most of the videos are posted right here in our Video Section

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- - - - - - - - - - - - - - My Life with The Chord Chemist - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

My Life with The Chord Chemist
A Memoir of Ted Greene, Apotheosis of Solo Guitar
By Barbara Franklin

BUY NOW - Available at

Publication Date: Nov 24 2009
Page Count: 276
Trim Size: 8" x 10"

A retrospective of Ted Greene, virtuoso solo guitarist, beloved music teacher, world-renowned author and innovator of unique music concepts for guitar. This book also includes an overview of Ted Greene's early life and musical development, plus an insightful narrative of the 13 years prior to his death

Six agonizing months after losing my beloved Ted, I slowly emerged from a state of profound disbelief, almost coma-like. At that time I didn’t know what to do with the remnants of my life; then a path began to unfold before me. This website was started and became a saving grace.

During the ensuing years, I organized and categorized Ted’s material and personal studies. Upon completion of that massive undertaking, once again, I didn’t know what to do, so I began writing.

I wrote pages, and then threw them away, until once again a path began to unfold. What I wrote is mostly a personal memoir. I suppose it was what I had to write first.

From the preface:

“The decision to reveal parts of our personal life was something I deliberated over for a long time. Because our lives became so inextricably bound, I included what I felt necessary, but not without a considerable amount of apprehension. This book illustrates the many parallels between Ted the musician and Ted the person. I felt it was important to convey how Ted was driven compulsively not just to pursue music, but so many other things he loved.”

With this in mind, here is our story. It IS very personal and I still have apprehensions about publishing it. My hope is that it brings you closer to Ted, as you begin to get to know and understand this unique and extraordinary man and musician.


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