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someone explain chord progression?

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Korriken
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someone explain chord progression? 2012-05-09 13:15:41 Reply

I'm working on teaching myself music, but the concept of chord progression managed to elude me. I've dug into music theory books, read about it on the internet and i STILL DO NOT UNDERSTAND IT!

how does it work? I know, it's probably simple.. or not. either way it stumps me and I feel that it is preventing me from moving forward.

someone help!


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Buoy
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Response to someone explain chord progression? 2012-05-09 13:44:24 Reply

One chord following a different chord, and so on

Troisnyx
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Response to someone explain chord progression? 2012-05-09 14:19:17 Reply

At 5/9/12 01:44 PM, Buoy wrote: One chord following a different chord, and so on

Like for example: C -- G -- Am -- F is one of the most frequently recurring chord progressions in pop music.


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sorohanro
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Response to someone explain chord progression? 2012-05-09 14:37:45 Reply

I tried to make a visual explanation to this. Thanks to Musescore and Windows Paint, the result is highly appealing from a visual point of view.

someone explain chord progression?

TonalReboot
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Response to someone explain chord progression? 2012-05-09 14:43:10 Reply

The easiest way to think about it without going into the theory is basically you start on a root note which is usually the first one in the melody or could be different then you create chords journeying away from the root them going back.

Korriken
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Response to someone explain chord progression? 2012-05-09 15:38:06 Reply

ok maybe I failed to explain sufficiently.

how do you know which chords you can use?

maybe I've spend the last month overthinking it.. *shrug* I'm just gonna play with it. I'll figure out what works eventually.


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loansindi
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Response to someone explain chord progression? 2012-05-09 15:47:49 Reply

At 5/9/12 03:38 PM, Korriken wrote: ok maybe I failed to explain sufficiently.

how do you know which chords you can use?

You build your progression based on the key you choose.

houzatosis
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Response to someone explain chord progression? 2012-05-09 15:57:52 Reply

At 5/9/12 03:38 PM, Korriken wrote: ok maybe I failed to explain sufficiently.

how do you know which chords you can use?

maybe I've spend the last month overthinking it.. *shrug* I'm just gonna play with it. I'll figure out what works eventually.

learning the circle of fifths is probably the easiest way to figure out progressions (for instance, using a c major chord and going to g major, or minor for either case.) Or even using a basic understanding of scales and how chords fit in between certain ones (i.e. C major scale shares the same notes as A minor scale, thus a C major chord sounds pleasing when followed by an A minor.)

I'm not a student of music theory, so my opinions may not be the most accurate, but it all comes from listening to what progressions sound good. After a certain amount of time, you'll even be able to recognize popular chord progressions.

Acid-Paradox
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Response to someone explain chord progression? 2012-05-09 16:11:12 Reply

At 5/9/12 03:38 PM, Korriken wrote: ok maybe I failed to explain sufficiently.

how do you know which chords you can use?

maybe I've spend the last month overthinking it.. *shrug* I'm just gonna play with it. I'll figure out what works eventually.

It's actually pretty easy man

If you look at my super sexy picture below , the ones with green are the ones that you should use first , then the group of red and finally the group pointed with blue.

For example :

I - III - II - V

So , If you are on the key of C it should be

CMaj7 - Em7 - Dm7 - G7

Just make sure that when you're working on other keys you remember your Intervals and add their sharps or flats when using the chart.

someone explain chord progression?


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Rampant
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Response to someone explain chord progression? 2012-05-09 16:12:02 Reply

At 5/9/12 03:47 PM, loansindi wrote: You build your progression based on the key you choose.

Not if you're Debussy :P

Learning popular chord progressions is good if you're aiming to write commercially-viable music, or if there are distinct and unique chord progressions to a style you're trying to write in: otherwise, you're not really constrained. Write whatever sounds good.

TonalReboot
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Response to someone explain chord progression? 2012-05-09 16:21:14 Reply

At 5/9/12 03:38 PM, Korriken wrote: ok maybe I failed to explain sufficiently.

how do you know which chords you can use?

maybe I've spend the last month overthinking it.. *shrug* I'm just gonna play with it. I'll figure out what works eventually.

you pick a key which is the main note of the song and i usually just play about and see what works with the root note i do everything by ear you see. if you keep working at making music you will get better over time.

Korriken
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Response to someone explain chord progression? 2012-05-09 16:48:21 Reply

At 5/9/12 04:21 PM, raymanftw94 wrote: you pick a key which is the main note of the song and i usually just play about and see what works with the root note i do everything by ear you see. if you keep working at making music you will get better over time.

I'll just have to play with it, never know, I know come up with something totally original.


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BlazingDragon
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Response to someone explain chord progression? 2012-05-09 17:02:28 Reply

At 5/9/12 02:37 PM, sorohanro wrote: I tried to make a visual explanation to this. Thanks to Musescore and Windows Paint, the result is highly appealing from a visual point of view.

Did you intentionally make that example like Twinkle Twinkle Little Star? Lol

To the OP: The strongest chord progressions are those that move down in fifths (ex: Amin, Dmin, GMaj, CMaj, or vi, ii, V, I). Downward movement by fifths tend to provide a feeling of resolution or moving toward "home." Conversely, moving up by fifths usually creates a feeling of departure and rising tension. In the key of C major for example, going down from GMaj to Cmaj (V, I) sounds resolved, whereas going the other way up from Cmaj to GMaj (I, V) sounds as though it is left hanging.

So moving in fifths, up or down, is the strongest motion evoking tension and resolution. Other "safe" progressions include occasionally going up by a second (EX: FMaj to GMaj, or IV, V) or down by a third (CMaj to Amin, or I, vi). These are weaker progressions however and are best used in combination with progressions consisting of many movements by fifths.

Here are some common chord progressions and observations on them:

I, ii, V, I
-Notice how there is a movement up a second, and then down a fifth and down another fifth. Going up from I to ii created tension and moving down in fifths eventually brought us back to I, or "home."

I, vi, ii, V, I
-This progression starts by going down a third, but then progresses down by fifths until arriving back where it began. Again, movement up a second or down a third is good sparingly but can make a very weak progression if overused.

As another rule of thumb, I, IV, and V are the strongest chords in a key. There are entire books explaining why, but I won't get into the technicalities. But know that there are hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of songs written just using those chords. Using primarily those while sprinkling in others is an easy way to get decent sounding progressions.

If you are going the self-taught route, you might consider checking out The Idiot's Guide to Music Theory. It explains all of this in a down-to-earth, comprehensible manner and is WAY cheaper than your standard college theory textbook. It will at least give you a solid grounding and point you in the right direction.

Once you know a little music theory, it would be wise to listen to your favorite music and figure out what chord progressions the songs are using. Take those same chord progressions and use them for yourself (seriously!). Just write an original melody over them. Millions of songs use the same chord progressions, and that isn't considered stealing. It is melodies that are protected by copyright. Not chords. Borrowing chords from songs you like will help you develop a good sense of what works and sounds good. It will also give you somewhere to start until you can develop your own original ideas and styles.

I am trying to make this as nontechnical as possible, and I hope you find the information helpful. If you have questions, feel free to message me.

samulis
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Response to someone explain chord progression? 2012-05-09 17:05:45 Reply

At 5/9/12 04:48 PM, Korriken wrote: I'll just have to play with it, never know, I know come up with something totally original.

1. Play your first chord. I like Am for this, but that's just me. :3
2. Play another chord.
3a. Realize that second chord doesn't sound good following the first, repeat step 2.
3b. Think ur really gifted and accept the chord for 'good 'nuff', move on.
4. repeat from beginning until you have a progression of 4 or 8 chords, or otherwise if you don't mind being different.

The most basic things you can do involve something called I-IV-V. These three chords are used pretty much everywhere and sound good pretty much everywhere as well. In C Major, you're talkin' C Maj, F Maj, and G Maj. Try writing a song with entirely these (or their 7th forms, C7, F7, G7), it's great fun!

Over time, you will develop tendencies to use certain progressions. Try to transcend these tendencies and experiment with new progressions.

Music is a process of experimentation, embrace your inner scientist and test out some hypotheses regarding chords! If you fail, don't put it up on NG, but learn from what you do!


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samulis
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Response to someone explain chord progression? 2012-05-09 17:10:52 Reply

BlazingDragon is getting into a fun little thing called Cadences, which are great if you are working on pretty much any piece. If you are writing a chord progression that should be looped, make a false ending by going from the V to pretty much any chord except for I. If you have V -> I in your piece before the end, you will give a false feeling of resolution, which isn't always best (although can be used in those silly four minute endings all those Classical Era Classical composers seem to like >_<). When you're ready to stop your piece, go from V -> I (or, if you're a silly goose, IV -> I... or if you're one of those newfangled composers, ? -> I).


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BlazingDragon
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Response to someone explain chord progression? 2012-05-09 17:12:08 Reply

A couple more things I forget to mention.

-These aren't set in stone rules. For instance, there are chord progressions, such as I, ii, iii, IV, V, that can sound good when handled right, even though that is constantly moving up by seconds. What I posted are guidelines. They are methods to produce good sounding progressions, and people have been using them for centuries. However, if something sounds good to you and doesn't fit in that little music theory box, that's cool! Play around and experiment.

-Some people think about those guidelines and come up with progressions. Then they compose melodies that primarily use the notes of those progressions. Some people like to work the other way around though. They come up with a melody and then figure out what chords will fit underneath. I'd say that the latter is more challenging but can yield great results if you are skilled and have a decent amount of experience.

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Response to someone explain chord progression? 2012-05-09 17:40:48 Reply

...Or you can just take a different route and make a melody first, THEN add chords to it. That's how I've always worked and it has served me fairly well.


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Buoy
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Response to someone explain chord progression? 2012-05-09 17:51:07 Reply

At 5/9/12 05:40 PM, Step wrote: ...Or you can just take a different route and make a melody first, THEN add chords to it. That's how I've always worked and it has served me fairly well.

I can make this work occasionally, but songs with a strong harmonic idea (like a chord progression, or a set of notes) as a solid foundation always end up better for me... and they lead to cooler and more original songs.

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Response to someone explain chord progression? 2012-05-09 17:54:55 Reply

basic explanation of chords

zelazon
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Response to someone explain chord progression? 2012-05-10 00:13:40 Reply

At 5/9/12 05:51 PM, Buoy wrote: I can make this work occasionally, but songs with a strong harmonic idea (like a chord progression, or a set of notes) as a solid foundation always end up better for me... and they lead to cooler and more original songs.

I agree with this...

If you have a foundation, it's much easier to work with a song than otherwise :/

durn
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Response to someone explain chord progression? 2012-05-10 02:16:30 Reply

Well, y'see, back in the day, not many people wore corduroys. Then, all of a sudden, people started wearing them, and the fashion progressed to a state where even MORE people started wearing them. That's Cord Progression for ya.

...

Oh... you said CHORD Progression... :( I dunno, I just slam my fingers against the keys and it makes music!

midimachine
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Response to someone explain chord progression? 2012-05-10 03:55:34 Reply

write a melody first, then write the chords to play under it

also "III" isn't a real chord and it rustles my jimmies when people consider it as such


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Korriken
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Response to someone explain chord progression? 2012-05-10 08:57:10 Reply

I think I get the idea now. I'm working towards making my own cartoon and I plan to do everything myself. Working on storytelling art and music all at the same time is freaking daunting, but if I do manage to pull it off, i reckon ill be better for it in the end. I got a vague idea of what I want the music to sound like, but given I have no real musical background, its rough.

thanks.


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Response to someone explain chord progression? 2012-05-10 21:04:43 Reply

At 5/10/12 03:55 AM, midimachine wrote: write a melody first, then write the chords to play under it

also "III" isn't a real chord and it rustles my jimmies when people consider it as such

there is no need to be upset...can you elaborate on what you mean?


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camoshark
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Response to someone explain chord progression? 2012-05-10 21:52:57 Reply

At 5/10/12 03:55 AM, midimachine wrote: write a melody first, then write the chords to play under it

also "III" isn't a real chord and it rustles my jimmies when people consider it as such

Yeah, people should totally write V/V/V/V instead!

midimachine
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Response to someone explain chord progression? 2012-05-11 05:35:21 Reply

At 5/10/12 09:04 PM, S3C wrote: there is no need to be upset...can you elaborate on what you mean?

it's not a big deal haha... but yeah how i was taught theory (did graded musicianship up to 4th grade) was that you wouldn't implement the mediant chord in a traditional sense because it's a really weak pre-dominant and you would almost always have to resolve to a stronger pre-dominant before resolving to V when writing four-part harmony. so traditionally speaking it's pretty much ignored. in graded music theory you don't play around with mediant chords until after 6th grade, afaik!

but yeah obviously you can do whatever you like in jazz/contemporary music (i know i do!)


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midimachine
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Response to someone explain chord progression? 2012-05-11 05:41:30 Reply

although having said all that, i did see someone here cite a progression with an X in it as their favourite once. that is DEFINITELY not a thing


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SineRider
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Response to someone explain chord progression? 2012-05-11 10:58:15 Reply

At 5/11/12 05:41 AM, midimachine wrote: although having said all that, i did see someone here cite a progression with an X in it as their favourite once. that is DEFINITELY not a thing

I've always liked VIII-7 myself

midimachine
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Response to someone explain chord progression? 2012-05-11 18:40:49 Reply

At 5/11/12 10:58 AM, SineRider wrote:
At 5/11/12 05:41 AM, midimachine wrote: although having said all that, i did see someone here cite a progression with an X in it as their favourite once. that is DEFINITELY not a thing
I've always liked VIII-7 myself

it sounds the best in the key of H minor cambrian mode


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Korriken
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Response to someone explain chord progression? 2012-05-12 13:20:20 Reply

At 5/9/12 05:05 PM, samulis wrote:
The most basic things you can do involve something called I-IV-V. These three chords are used pretty much everywhere and sound good pretty much everywhere as well. In C Major, you're talkin' C Maj, F Maj, and G Maj. Try writing a song with entirely these (or their 7th forms, C7, F7, G7), it's great fun!

I'm working on this atm. I'll let the ppl tell me how bad it sucks when I finish :P


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