Advanced Songwriters Swivel

See the keys, the modes, the chords and the arpeggios with the SWS!

In the advanced course, you learn how to extend your chords to 7th note chords, how to play the arpeggios and build minor and major modes.

To build the modes we add two notes to the Minor Pentatonic (2 & 6). Similarly, to build the major modes we add two notes to the Major Pentatonic (4 and 7).

Use the SWS to find what chords and therefore modes and arpeggios are available for each key.

Putting this together in the SWS and we get the diagram below. What’s important is that you both understand the concept and can play it!

SWS in C Advanced small
SWS in G Advanced small
SWS in D Advanced small
SWS in A Advanced small
SWS in E Advanced small
SWS in B Advanced small
SWS in F# Advanced small
SWS in Gb Advanced small
SWS in Db Advanced small
SWS in Ab Advanced small
SWS in Eb Advanced small
SWS in Bb Advanced small
SWS in F Advanced small

I
II
III
IV
V
VI
VII
Chord
maj7
min7
min7
maj7
dom7
min7
min7b5
Pent
maj
min
min
maj
maj min
arpeggio
Add
4 + 7
2 + 6
b2 + b6
#4 + 7
4 + b7
2 + b6
N/A
Mode
Ionian
Dorian
Phrygian
Lydian
Mixolydian
Aeolian
(Locrian)

Summary

Your aim should be to naturally associate, for example, chord VI with a minor chord and a Minor Pentatonic. From these building blocks, we add the necessary intervals to build the mode.

Since they all relate to the same shape, this doesn’t take long to learn. The more songs you learn, the clearer the connection will be.

Possibly the best way to progress is to simply take an interest in whatever you can already play, translate the progression to numbers and start tracing scales.

It would be wiser to approach things this way, rather than trying to analyse a song you cannot yet play.

The SWS is a great tool to find whatever chords belong to what key, knowing this gives you the roman numeral and therefore the modes.

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