The Minor Line Cliché | Hub Guitar

The Minor Line Cliché

FR-57 video thumbnail

Hi. This is Hub Guitar.

The line clich is used quite a lot in popular music. You can hear this trick used by the Beatles and in classics like Stairway to Heaven. It continues to be a popular device today.

This little trick is mostly used in the minor key. The root of the minor key descends chromatically, passing through the major seventh, minor seventh, major sixth, and sometimes further to the minor sixth and the perfect fifth of the key.

Here's an quick example of that.

Do you recognize the sound of that device? You've probably heard that before in a number of songs. Now I am going to show you more of some specific example.

So try this pattern out and see if there is a way that you can apply it to your own playing.


The minor line cliché is a chromaticism used in the minor key. A note in the chord will “walk” down from the root, to the major seventh, to the minor seventh. It can continue until it reaches the fifth. The Beatles used this device several times. It’s fairly common; it’s not called a “cliché” without cause.

Once you’ve played the chords in this exercise, you will likely recall having heard this device before. It is often used in popular music.

Hear It

Amin

fret tile
fret tile
fret tile
fret tile
fret tile
fret tile
fret tile
fret tile
fret tile
d natural
g natural
fret tile
a sharp, b flat
fret tile
g natural
d natural
fret tile
fret tile
fret tile

AminMaj7

fret tile
fret tile
fret tile
fret tile
fret tile
fret tile
fret tile
fret tile
fret tile
g natural
fret tile
a sharp, b flat
f sharp, g flat
fret tile
d natural
fret tile
fret tile
fret tile

Amin7

fret tile
fret tile
fret tile
fret tile
fret tile
fret tile
fret tile
fret tile
fret tile
f natural
g natural
fret tile
a sharp, b flat
fret tile
d natural
fret tile
fret tile
fret tile

Amin6

fret tile
fret tile
fret tile
fret tile
fret tile
fret tile
fret tile
fret tile
e natural
fret tile
g natural
fret tile
a sharp, b flat
fret tile
d natural
fret tile
fret tile
fret tile

Key Exercises

  • Learn, memorize, and apply the minor line cliché.
  • Create a new minor key chord progression using this idea. Can you extend the line cliché? Are there any clues in the harmony that allow you to take the chords in a different direction?
  • Improvise using the minor line cliché as the basis of your melody.

©2016 Hub Guitar. All rights reserved.