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July 2021 Newsletter


Summer Greetings to old fans, friends, and students, and a warm welcome to all new visitors — we hope you find something on this site that will interest you, inspire you, and bring greater knowledge and joy to your playing.

Taking up where we left off last month, we’re continuing with the transcript on voice-switching from Ted’s lesson for Mark Levy.

* * * * *

Ted Greene Lesson
with Mark Levy

July 20, 1992 (mp3 #19) – excerpt

Voice-Switching (part 2)

Mark: Is that going to be sort of----. How is that going to turn out? I mean, is there going to… Am I going to find some crystal god-like logic in there that I’m going to go, “God! All this is like really because of this…?”
Ted: Every voice-switch and every voicing group yields its own special magic or lack of same.
Mark: Okay.
Ted: Yet, diatonic – those are the lines you’re hearing – that’s the one overriding thing. If somebody said, “Define it all in one word,” you’d say, “Diatonic.” That’s the nature of the color we’re hearing. If somebody said, “Yeah, but is it always like the inner chord or the passing chord is like the V of where you are?” Say, “No.” Let’s go back to the other…
Mark: To the ear maybe?
Ted: Let’s see. Let’s see if that holds up. When we did this [he plays their first example: G,F#,B,D > G,E,B,E > G,D,B,F#] I feel that the second chord is either a) the same chord we’re on, or b) the vi minor of where we are.
Mark: Okay.
Ted: Like [he demonstrates G to Em examples] Or it’s just the same [he demonstrates Gmaj7 – G6 – Gmaj7, then continues to the ii chord, iii chord, etc.] To me it feels like that’s: I with friends, ii minor with friends, iii minor with friends.
Mark: Okay.
Ted: Whereas this one [their second example] felt like we actually (because of that bass, that bounding bottom movement) seemed to progress to a different chord. In this case it was a V.
Mark: Okay.
Ted: What if we had swapped---in this chord we had swapped 3 and 1. We get. [he plays]
Mark: Okay.
Ted: That was a I…
Mark: I-V-I.
Ted: Yeah. I swapped [he demonstrates] And I repositioned them and ended up here. I just did a fast-forward and tried to recompute fast. I could see I wasn’t going to be able to hold that.
Mark: This is going to teach me a lot about the guitar, isn’t it? Think so?
Ted: I think it does if you’re willing to be patient. Don’t worry if you get a V passing chord, that’s okay.
Mark: Just treat it all as one sound?
Ted: Yeah. And the main thing is: find the stuff that appeals to you the most. You see, Mark, you have one danger zone here, which is the same one I face: Everything interests you.
Mark: Right. I know.
Ted: You were born that way, apparently.
Mark: It blows my mind.
Ted: Just say, “Is this interesting, or do I love it?” If it only falls into the domain of “interesting” – leave it alone for a while. Put it aside. Write it down if you’re afraid you’ll have to start from scratch again. To remind yourself that you did the work, write one example of it. Say---you can have a note that says, “Interesting, but…” and then dots after it, meaning that you didn’t love it. Because if you don’t love it, don’t---you don’t have time for it. There’s so much to---
Mark: No. I understand. I mean, I have a huge, huge insecurity because I love so much that I can’t get to it.
Ted: You may not love it. You may like it. See, try to be your best judge. Go ahead, you finish what you were going to say.
Mark: Yeah, but there’s so many things that I want to do---even, I’ll tell you, and I’m sure it’s like where you’re at: Even if I wasn’t working, even if I had all day just to play music, I would probably get the same feeling that I have today, in a lot of respects. That even though there’s satisfaction, that I didn’t get to everything, and sometimes I feel overwhelmed, so maybe I just dabble a little bit and get nothing done. Which is a danger.
Ted: Mark, you must choose between that which you like, and that which you’re mad about. When I discovered [he plays Baroque music] – this is voice-switch that I got into at one time – I’ve been waiting all my life to play that. Because I heard Bach playing this in some of his better concertos. He’s use it to get these progressions that didn’t sound “normal.” They just had a whole new vibe. You can hear the logic. [He continues to play]
Mark: It’s crystal clear. Yeah.
Ted: Then he might start….he might take…
Mark: That’s beautiful stuff.
Ted: …that figured bass harmony…
Mark: Right
Ted: But that was born of going [he demonstrates] which I found by initially going, “Hey, let’s start with maybe C major 7 and swap these two parts.” Say, “Wow, it turns into B6.” And then one day you do it in reverse. And then one day you’re in the mood for that Baroque [?] And you don’t want to stop, and you just see the parts go. (Somehow that doesn’t sound like Bach on that last chord as much.) So you say, “What if I tried to start earlier that the first chord? Maybe I could bring a new chord in the front of it, instead of trying to continue it.” You know where I’m coming from?
Mark: Right.
Ted: So suddenly you say, “Hmmm. This was…” [he demonstrates] “then this would have been…” Because if I tried to keep that line going more, it would have been… It would have started---in front of this would have been this.
Mark: Okay.
Ted: Which belongs to no voicing group, because it’s got two 3rds, a root, and a 7th. These are incomplete chords, or doubled chords, ---this has two 3rds. This is not an invertible chord. You could try to get the two next G major 7ths by moving each note up. 3 would go up to which tone?
Mark: 5.
Ted: 7 would go up to what?
Mark: 1, Root.
Ted: Root would go up to?
Mark: 3.
Ted: And 3 would go up to?
Mark: 5.
Ted: Good. Now we’ll have this. [Ted plays 5, R, 3, 5] No 7 around. It’s nobody’s fault, it’s just that when you have doubled voicings they don’t produce the exact same chords as you invert them. That’s why we don’t put them in a Voice Group as such. [in Ted’s V-System]. But this baby [he demonstrates] sure lives near V-6, and it sure lives near V-7, so I call it a hybrid. There’s going to be separate doubled groups right between them, when I publish the whole theory someday, God willing. [Referring to Ted’s “The V-System”]
Mark: I hope you do.
Ted: Man, if the Creator keeps me here long enough, I really intend to do this.
Mark: Right. Lot of people will benefit from it.
Ted: Anyway, [getting back to the subject of voice-switching] there are beautiful ones. There’s just going to be some that you adore. Those are the ones to work on first. The others they’re just like, okay. But before you make a decision, try it on all 7 degrees of the key – major key at first – and bring some texture into bear, because sometime that’ll make or break it. This was okay when I did it this way [he demonstrates]. I can hear that I love the lines, but it didn’t really “gas me” completely until I started breaking it up. When I started breaking then I said, “Wow, I really like this.” I like how this little babies just shine up in the…
Mark: Sure.
Ted: You can hear these big mamas down here, you know. It just thrilled me to hear that. Sensible intervals in the bottom that have power, against these little shinny guys.
Mark: Right.
Ted: You’re going to find your own things that you love. Could be some of the same stuff that I love, too.
Mark: Well, right now I just want to get the concept really solid.
Ted: So, I’ll be one of your musical pals who plays keyboards or a guitar player or harp, and you’re going to teach me this concept.
Mark: Well.
Ted: I’m game. I’m listening.
Mark: “Ted, my guitar teacher, showed me a pretty hip concept right now called ‘voice-switching.’ And what you basically do is: take the voicing, and take the voices and you would switch it. We’re going to start with…” I can’t remember whether it was…
Ted: Start with any two… This is how you can remember it – it’s so sweet this way, it’s so easy: start with numbers that are next door to each other in the formula of the chord.
Mark: Okay.
Ted: So for instance: 1,3,5,7 you can swap 1 and 3,
Mark: 3 and 5, 5 and 7, 7 and 1.
Ted: That’s right. Ideally you can swap all of those without using the far-away numbers yet, like 1 and 5. That’s a big, big long thing that usually gets you into trouble. It usually doesn’t work with anything but close numbers. Does that make it easier?
Mark: Okay. Close numbers. Got it. “1 and 3, 3 and 5, 5 and 7, 7 and 1. We’re going to swap strings, and then we’re also going to---. With the passing tones that they create – because they’ll be going down in 3rds, most likely…”
Ted: Going down?
Mark: “Or up, or I mean, going to their ‘brothers’ which are a 3rd away.”
Ted: In thirds, usually.
Mark: “There’ll be a passing chord tone automatically created.”
Ted: So, I’m your friend and I go, “So, if I have a C7 chord, what should I start with? And what should I do?”
Mark: “So, let’s say we go: we’re going to swap 1 and 3. We’ll take the C. The C will go to E. And the E will go down to C. There’ll be passing tones of D.”
Ted: “How do I know where to get these passing tones?”
Mark: “Diatonically. They’ll be diatonic tones.”
Ted: “So what scale for C7 should I use?”
Mark: “The C7 dominant scale.”
Ted: “Wow, that makes so much sense now when you explain it that way. Can I see one example of one of those things?”
Mark: “Okay, so you’d go---. We’re going to take---. Ted, my guitar teacher calls this V-2 voicing. Okay. I don’t know whether you’re hip, but…”
Ted: He says, “What’s V?” And then you say, “V stands for Voicing Group.”
Mark: “Hopefully you’re going to buy his book when it comes out.”
Ted: You say, “Voicing Group just means what size and chord…”
Mark: “They’re all logically grouped by size.
Ted: By size.
Mark: Intervallic size.
Ted: Different sizes is another way of saying---saying the same thing as Voicing Groups.
Mark: Right. “So, in this case we’ll take a C7, V-2 in first inversion. Okay? And the voices will go like this.” [Mark demonstrates]
Ted: “Wow, that’s interesting.”
Mark: Octave right there. Uh.
Ted: “Which two notes did you swap?
Mark: “I swapped the 3rd and the root.”
Ted: “And what was the first chord again?”
Mark: “C7, first inversion”
Ted: “So, can we hear the results of all this?”
Mark: Okay. [He demonstrates]

Ted: Oh, you’re being smart tonight. We love it, Mark. You repositioned the fingers to make it work. You had it. I like it.

* * * * *

Thanks to the following contributors for this month: Mark Fitchett for his audio lesson; David Bishop for proofreading the comping page; Mike De Luca for proofreading the other lesson pages; Mark Levy for his audio lessons; and of course, Jeffrey Brown for technical guidance. Enjoy the new items!!

~ Your friends on the Team


* 1991-07-10, Ted Greene Lesson with Mark Fitchett. [320 kbps mp3, length: 67:16. The exact day in July is unknown. They discuss: Triads. Blues and cycles of 5ths, or “IV of.” Blues turnarounds of I-io7-iv6-I and variations. Terry Kath. Rag = European music with syncopation feel (but they don’t swing). Ted gives an overview and explanation of his V-System (29:00 – 39:00, and 42:00 – 67:00 approx. times)]

* I-bVI7-ii7-V7-I, 1974-08-01. [In this lesson sheet Ted gives us 33 examples in the key of Gb of turnarounds using a bVI7 chord. Each one seems to be a perfect illustration of good voice-leading, along with some excellent contrary motion moves. Notation with newly drawn grids for easy reading and study.]

* Progression in E, F#7-C7, and A7-D. [This untitled, undated page comes from Ted’s Private Studies, and are unrelated ideas he collected. Notice the ascending line in the F#7-C7 example, and remember that these two chords are related by the flat-5 substitute principle.]

Under the “Chord Scales” header:

* Major Scale Harmonized in 7ths, 1995-06-29. [This page was written during a private lesson with a student working on diatonic harmony with 7th chords. Ted provided specific picking order for the first two chord, and then instructed that the “same pattern in right hand” be applied for the rest of the page. Notation provided and combined with Ted’s girds.]

Under the “Triads” header:

* Open Triads, 2003-12-18. [Here’s another untitled page written for a student during a private lesson. It contains some nice musical studies for getting open triads under you fingers. Notice that in the first example after playing the F chord, the progression goes through the cycle of 4ths (down in 4ths or up in 5ths) using very nice voice-leading. Notation and chord names combined with Ted’s grids.]

* A Time for Love, 1991-06-02. [This is the final “comping” lesson page in Ted’s archive library. Our posted collection is now complete, unless of course new ones emerge from the collection of Ted’s students. This one has a few fairly challenging passages, using some long stretch chords…but as Ted wrote, “But fun to make it interesting and manageable.” Notation combined with a lead sheet with basic changes and lyrics. We also added the chord quality names whenever Ted left them blank for the student to fill in.]

* Impressionistic Harmonic Tendencies, Choice, 1975-05-23 &1976-10-28. [Ted lays out an extensive list of two chord progressions for Impressionistic harmonic sounds. The relationships are given from C. The chord families in the red boxes are to progress to any of the various other chords listed below them in the other family types. It is unclear what the yellow highlight or the circled chords mean, but based on Ted’s other lesson pages, he often used those indicators to point out either his favorites or good examples. We typed this page out to save you some eye strain and to make it a bit easier to understand (hopefully!).]

* Impressionistic Harmonic Tendencies and Modulations, 1975-02-25 & 1975-03-23. [This is similar to the other page on Impressionistic Harmony, written around the same time period. Apparently, the other page has “choice” selection, and this one includes Modulations. Typed out to make it clearer.]

* Modulating to Key of V (and IV, iv, v), 2003-06-18 & 2003-07-02, 09. [This was written up for a specific student interested in learning how to modulate to the V, IV, iv, and v of a given key. The first two examples deal more with 2- and 3-note movements, whereas the other studies use fuller chords with moving lines. Notation combined with Ted’s grids.]

* Diminished Runs, 1990-10-04.
[Single-note diminished runs written up for his student Cheryl (“Future friends, current acquaintances”). Ted commented at the top and bottom of this page, “The cool notes are: a) 1/2 step below, and b) whole step above the arpeggio notes.” And “All the non-colored notes are ‘extensions’ of the basic diminished 7 [chord]. They are found one whole-step above and one 1/2 step below the basic chord tones. They end up being the major 7, 9, 11, and b13. And they end up making the ‘diminished’ scale when combined with the basic tones.” Thanks, Ted. Good to know! Standard music notation provided.]


Under the “Contributions by Mark Levy” header:

* Ted Greene Lesson on Voice-Switching, 1992-07-20. [This pdf file contains parts 1 and 2 of the transcript of Ted explaining to Mark the concept and application of voice-switching. Also included are Mark’s homework pages of grids with various voice-switches and their passing chord.]

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* 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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