So What Chords - Everything You Need To Know!

So What Chords - Everything You Need To Know!

Many of you will be familiar with our Introduction to So What Chords Lesson. In this lesson we cover the basic construction of the voicing, its basic application, and also how to apply this voicing to the tunes that you are playing:

We’ve received some brilliant feedback on this tutorial, and so you can now take your understanding of this topic further with Tuomo’s advanced So What applications:

These are some interesting applications coverd in the lesson so let’s have a quick recap here and open this topic up to further discussion…

1) Substituting So What Chords Over Other Tonalities

Here’s a useful graphic which shows you how 1 So What chord can function as many different chords. Also check out the “So What Major Variation” lesson which discusses the 3rd example below in more detail: ( “D So What” functioning as Bbmaj7 ). And here’s the full list of variations:

How cool is that!..

Each So What voicing can function as 5 different chords.

Why does this work you might ask?

Well, So What Voicings are built mostly from perfect 4th intervals. This makes every So What voicing both harmonically ambiguous, and also harmonically versatile.

2) Diatonic So What Voicings

The D So What Chord suggests the D Dorian Mode. The D Dorian Mode is one of the major modes of the C Major Scale. This means that you can harmonise the whole scale with So What voicings and use them to add additional colour and tension over any D Minor chord:

This also means that you can play these voicings over any note from the C Major Scale to create interesting pedal point colours. Here using these voicings over a G pedal point:

This will give you a nice ‘angular’ set of voicings to use over a G7, or G7sus.

3) Inverting So What Chords

The So What chord is made up of 5 notes, which means there are 5 possible inversions. Each one of these voicings can also be applied to the whole scale to get a huge palette of quartal colours and textures:

This final example of Inverting So What Chords is somewhat related to the lesson on Pentatonic Chord Voicings which is definitely worth checking out and will open up your eyes to the harmonic possibilities that exist within those magic 5 notes.

I hope you enjoyed this write up and I look forward to further discussing this fascinating subject.