Four Part Chords

Four part chords are just as their name suggests: They are chords with four individual tones that form a cohesive musical idea together.

When it comes to playing these, there are many different fretting hand combinations and fingerings that make them up, but the plucking hand plays basically the same pattern every time.

To play these, you use the same fingering as you would for a Basic Triad (thumb, index, middle), but you add the ring finger as well.

These kinds of chords are quite common in Jazz and Classical styles of music. The most common types are complete 7th chords, 9th chords and full triads with an additional octave.

While they are very useful sometimes, you don't always want to use them since they tend to sound very dense. If the music that you're playing is already very busy, using the wrong kind of chord can make everything just sound cluttered.

If you want to practice these Chords, you should try to play the similar chords first and then turn them into a more complex chord with extensions in four parts. This will solidify the composition of the particular chord in your mind as being a continuation or extension of a basic chord and will make coming up with these at a moment's notice easier.

The best way that I've found to practice these is to just add extensions to already cohesive and pleasant sounding triads. You'll learn them more quickly and get a better, more even feel for all the different kinds of chords available.

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