Magic chords are those that have the strange ability to fit in almost anywhere, with any bass note and in any musical context. Yes, they sometimes sound “outside” the given key, but they’re not so unusual sounding that they sound like mistakes.
In this video from 2013—granted, we’re taking a bit of a trip in the time machine for this one—David Wallimann shares a couple of these movable magic chords and shows how you can use them. David was on his way to the 2013 Winter NAMM show at the time he made this video, so if you want to skip over the talking, go right to the two-minute mark, where the lesson begins in earnest.
As David says, you don’t need to know theory for this lesson. “And if you do know theory and you start to get into the theory of this exercise, you’re going to miss the point,” he says. “The point is to be musical with something that is new and fresh and not overwhelming for the brain: two chord shapes. And out of these two chord shapes you’re going to create something fusiony. And if you’re not used to playing fusion, that’s even better because it’s going to force you to think in a different genre.”
David adds, “The goal of this exercise is not to think about the key but to create something interesting rhythmically and get you thinking outside of what you might be thinking. And this is going force you to get back to the music instead of overthinking things.”
Take a look, and as always, check out David’s YouTube channel for more.