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Old 21-12-2012, 05:01 AM   #21
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Re: Composing chords

Music theory.

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Old 21-12-2012, 01:41 PM   #22
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Re: Composing chords

I learnt piano and flute long before composing any electronic music, and I had a very good grounding in theory because of this. For me composing chord sequences at a keyboard is easy because I've been improvising on piano for years. After a while your hands just know where they "can" and "can't" go.

Of course, that's the basics, and whilst it's perfectly acceptable to stick within the traditional chord sequences, things get a lot more fun when you start to add in extra notes. Whilst you can learn this from fiddling around, the fact is that with a bit of musical theory it makes far more sense. I'd suggest getting the basics of major/minor sorted, then look into more complex chords. BUT do not learn theory just on paper, do it with a keyboard in front of you. Play what you learn and it will become natural to you.

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Old 21-12-2012, 02:04 PM   #23
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Re: Composing chords

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Originally Posted by ckiiln View Post
I don't understand this attitude. Do you feel the same way about maths, languages and sports? That it's better to probe around for results, rather than actually learning the.. well, theory behind it, and then better know how to achieve them?
Well i dont have even a scrap of music theory and since the start ive never found it a problem. I especially skillful at doing long, complex chord progressions, more than a lot of people who use theory... So i dont see how its an attitude at all. Im fed up of people discarding this method when i post it in every thread of this type because it could be so much better for some people to work this way

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Old 21-12-2012, 02:20 PM   #24
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Re: Composing chords

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Originally Posted by FunkMasterBrown View Post
Well i dont have even a scrap of music theory and since the start ive never found it a problem. I especially skillful at doing long, complex chord progressions, more than a lot of people who use theory... So i dont see how its an attitude at all. Im fed up of people discarding this method when i post it in every thread of this type because it could be so much better for some people to work this way
It's good that it works for you. Top notch.

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Old 21-12-2012, 02:56 PM   #25
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Re: Composing chords

i was having this same issue.. started taking piano lessons at sam ash. already had my first lesson and my next one is tomorrow. cant fckin wait to be able to open logic and just know what im doing without second guessing or looking online for help
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Old 21-12-2012, 06:05 PM   #26
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Re: Composing chords

yeah I'm starting to read this music theory book.. man I can't wait to learn all this stuff and actually KNOW what I am doing when composing lol

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Old 21-12-2012, 09:17 PM   #27
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Re: Composing chords

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Originally Posted by ckiiln View Post
I don't understand this attitude. Do you feel the same way about maths, languages and sports? That it's better to probe around for results, rather than actually learning the.. well, theory behind it, and then better know how to achieve them?
noodling around gives you very slim chances of actually doing something. Knowing what your doing it increases your chances. I can bet to you that most big artists who actually do their own stuff don't noodle around much
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Old 21-12-2012, 10:09 PM   #28
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Re: Composing chords

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Originally Posted by Dhinojosa94 View Post
noodling around gives you very slim chances of actually doing something.
this is what really pisses me off

SPEAK FOR YOURSELF

it's not just noodling around. you are playing notes in combinations and if you know what to look for its so bloody quick

ffs!

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Old 21-12-2012, 10:26 PM   #29
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Re: Composing chords

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Originally Posted by FunkMasterBrown View Post
this is what really pisses me off

SPEAK FOR YOURSELF

it's not just noodling around. you are playing notes in combinations and if you know what to look for its so bloody quick

ffs!
the thing is, when you get to know theory well, you can just imagine what you want to hear next and know immediately what note to hit next or add in or take away whatever the case may be. It just eliminates the need to try stuff out in many cases, because instead of needing to see how something will sound, you already know.

which doesn't mean you CAN'T just jam and try things, it just makes things faster for when you know what you want to do already.


Besides, it's impossible not to know some theory - although you might not know the common names for things - because once you know 'this note and that note sound good, but not with that one' etc. that is theory.

The thing that makes 'official' music theory is just the names for everything.

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Old 21-12-2012, 10:33 PM   #30
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Re: Composing chords

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Originally Posted by FunkMasterBrown View Post
this is what really pisses me off

SPEAK FOR YOURSELF

it's not just noodling around. you are playing notes in combinations and if you know what to look for its so bloody quick

ffs!
1: This works well when things flow. When things don't, and they sound like shit, you're fucked. Don't tell me every note you play turns to gold. It doesn't, even with the most musical of ears.

2: Try playing music with other people. What key is your music in? Can you explain it to others? If you can, without theoretical terms, I'm impressed.

3: Knowledge isn't bad. It really, really isn't. You don't become less of a musician just because you know the craft. This is why many people spend their lives studying music. It's as much of an emotional instrument as well as it is science and math.

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Old 22-12-2012, 12:35 AM   #31
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Re: Composing chords

Quote:
Originally Posted by ckiiln View Post
I don't understand this attitude. Do you feel the same way about maths, languages and sports? That it's better to probe around for results, rather than actually learning the.. well, theory behind it, and then better know how to achieve them?

More like painting. Prepare canvas, mix colors, and the technique to apply colors takes instruction and practice. So you are right. Just saying the work involved makes it less fun for me, cause with music you don't have all the ingrediants in front of you like a color pallete . So I look for software that will do some of the work for me, like generating and filtering chord lists, like ChordwarePA.

Last edited by harpeer; 22-12-2012 at 12:50 AM..
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Old 22-12-2012, 02:02 AM   #32
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Re: Composing chords

Weirdly I wrote my best chrod progressions before I knew any music theory at all imo.
The sound design sucked, tho.

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Old 22-12-2012, 03:18 AM   #33
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Re: Composing chords

There is a reason it is called music THEORY, it isn't music LAW...lol

Doodle away with what you think sounds alright...and if you get stuck, use the rules of theory to help you along...such as, what note goes next? What should i transition to? etc...just use your ears, and then the knowledge second.

We have two states of mind, production and consumption...allocate time to both, if you don't feel like listening much, try adding on, if you feel that the track is empty or doesn't feel complete to you...keep on dialing it in, until you're happy or satisfied.

If you try to follow THEORY perfectly, you'll create cookie cutter music.

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Old 22-12-2012, 05:54 AM   #34
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Re: Composing chords

Quote:
Originally Posted by FunkMasterBrown View Post
this is what really pisses me off

SPEAK FOR YOURSELF

it's not just noodling around. you are playing notes in combinations and if you know what to look for its so bloody quick

ffs!
well we must define noodle then.If noodle is having no knowledge of what you're doing and doing trial and error i bet you its going to take a long time, give your latopt to someone who has no music experience and tell them to paint something in the roll that sounds good, tell me how much time it takes.

If you define noodling as jamming around then my comment is not aimed towards this scenario.

i used to spend hours playing with notes because i had no idea how to do progressions and chords and how to stick to a key, now i can improvise 15minutes songs in a piano or come up with really nice progresions in minutes.
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Old 22-12-2012, 11:47 AM   #35
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Re: Composing chords

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Originally Posted by harpeer View Post
More like painting. Prepare canvas, mix colors, and the technique to apply colors takes instruction and practice. So you are right. Just saying the work involved makes it less fun for me, cause with music you don't have all the ingrediants in front of you like a color pallete . So I look for software that will do some of the work for me, like generating and filtering chord lists, like ChordwarePA.
But you do have all the ingredients. You want a certain type and colour of chord? Fix it up, because you know the notes, key and scale - voila.

And I'm not saying that it's wrong to use that kind of software - I do it as well, sometimes. It's just nice not to have to rely on it, I feel. Also when just playing regular instruments - it's just more fun to play when you know what you're doing.

Last edited by ckiiln; 22-12-2012 at 11:51 AM..

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Old 25-12-2012, 04:02 AM   #36
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Re: Composing chords

Noodling and music theory are not mutually exclusive. Here are the two ways I learning to make chord progressions:

1. Through the circle of fifths, and diatonic functions (look up those terms on Wikipedia, and any other jargon I use, since I can't post links). These are where most of the typical progressions in popular music come from.

For instance, if I wanted to write a 3-chord diatonic progression in D-minor, here is how I might do it:

- Dm (composed of D, F, A, in that order)
- B-flat (composed of the same D and F, moving the A up to a B-flat). B-flat is the submediant chord of D-minor
- F (C, F, A)

So the progression is Dm, B-flat, F, aka i-VI-III, aka tonic, submediant, mediant. I'm sure you guys have all heard progressions like these before. It sounds good (using the submediant in minor always sounds good), but it's very conventional.

2. The second method is chromatic chord progression. This form of chord progression became especially popular during the Romantic period. One method of chromatic chord progression is called "keyboard logic," where you find the next chord by moving some number of fingers in half steps or whole steps on the keyboard. For keyboard logic, some method of experimentation can be useful. Chromatic progressions will sound more dissonant, weird, or strange than diatonic progressions.

Combing keyboard logic with diatonic functions and the circle of fifths can result in some very interesting progressions. Let's use this method to make a progression that's a bit more unusual and slightly weirder, but also comprehensible.

I'm going to start with the same D-minor triad (D, F, A).
Next, I'm going to experiment with some keyboard logic. I will voice-lead the F to an F#, and voice-lead the A to a B-natural, and see how it sounds.

So now, our progression is D-minor, B-minor (with the B-minor chord inverted). This chord change is much less common and somewhat mysterious sounding.

Where do we go next? Well, let's try using the circle of fifths. Now, theoretically, I am in D-minor, because that's where I started. But B-minor is a departure from D-minor, so I'm going to use a little thought experiment: "If I was in B-minor, where could I go next?"

Well, in melodic minor, I could simply go to the dominant chord of B-minor, which would be an F# major chord. And my fingers are happy to go there. Right now they are at D, F#, B-natural, so I just drop the D down to C#, and the B down to A#. F# as the next chord makes sense from both the circle of fifths, and from keyboard logic, because I only need to move two fingers while I keep one in the same place. And since I know music theory, I can already hear in advance what the chord will sound like (because I know what the dominant chord sounds like).

The progression is now D-minor (D, F, A), B-minor (first inversion: D, F#, B-natural), F# (second inversion: C#, F#, A#). Give it a try and see how it sounds.

Where do we go next? There are a lot of possibilities... we could moving chromatically back to D-minor or D-major. We could go back to B-minor. Or we go to G-minor. Using a diatonic (e.g. circle of firths) or chromatic progression with voice-leading gives me a bunch of options to try.

To use this progression in a real piece, we could put the chords in different inversions, and add a bass voice to flesh out the chords. We could also try suspending some of the chords (the F# major chord is a good candidate).

Whether you like this short progression will be a matter of taste, the point is that I can use a combination of experimentation and theory to make something that (in my opinion) that's a bit unusual while still being comprehensible.

Here are the questions I'm constantly asking myself:
- What chord is next moving by the circle of fifths from the key of the tonic?
- What chord is next by moving by the circle of fifths if I pretend that I'm in some other key?
- What chord is next if I only move one or two fingers either a whole step or a half step? (keyboard logic)
- What chord is next if I move all three fingers by different amounts or in different directions? (keyboard logic)
- What chord do I want to get to, and what combination of diatonic changes or keyboard logic do I need to get there?

According to music theory, there are actually multiple logical ways to progress from any chord, and you get to choose which one (for instance, after those 3 chords, there are many directions I could go next which would all be "correct"). There are is a wide variety of rules in music theory: Renaissance music theory had one set of rules, Baroque music another, and Romantic music yet another. For example, my second chord progression would make no sense to Baroque ears, but it would make perfect sense to the Romantics.

Music theory will encourage you towards particular possibilities, but it's really not a set of rules that you must follow (especially because there actually many "music theories"). What's most important is to develop your own music theory and your own set of rules for what you think does (and doesn't) sound good.

Whether you come up with your personal music theory by studying formal music theory, or by noodling around, or both... it doesn't matter, as long as you pick a set of your personal rules for the sound you want and follow them consistently.
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Old 25-12-2012, 05:14 PM   #37
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Re: Composing chords

Quote:
Originally Posted by Reg Reginald View Post
Noodling and music theory are not mutually exclusive. Here are the two ways I learning to make chord progressions:

1. Through the circle of fifths, and diatonic functions (look up those terms on Wikipedia, and any other jargon I use, since I can't post links). These are where most of the typical progressions in popular music come from.

For instance, if I wanted to write a 3-chord diatonic progression in D-minor, here is how I might do it:

- Dm (composed of D, F, A, in that order)
- B-flat (composed of the same D and F, moving the A up to a B-flat). B-flat is the submediant chord of D-minor
- F (C, F, A)

So the progression is Dm, B-flat, F, aka i-VI-III, aka tonic, submediant, mediant. I'm sure you guys have all heard progressions like these before. It sounds good (using the submediant in minor always sounds good), but it's very conventional.

2. The second method is chromatic chord progression. This form of chord progression became especially popular during the Romantic period. One method of chromatic chord progression is called "keyboard logic," where you find the next chord by moving some number of fingers in half steps or whole steps on the keyboard. For keyboard logic, some method of experimentation can be useful. Chromatic progressions will sound more dissonant, weird, or strange than diatonic progressions.

Combing keyboard logic with diatonic functions and the circle of fifths can result in some very interesting progressions. Let's use this method to make a progression that's a bit more unusual and slightly weirder, but also comprehensible.

I'm going to start with the same D-minor triad (D, F, A).
Next, I'm going to experiment with some keyboard logic. I will voice-lead the F to an F#, and voice-lead the A to a B-natural, and see how it sounds.

So now, our progression is D-minor, B-minor (with the B-minor chord inverted). This chord change is much less common and somewhat mysterious sounding.

Where do we go next? Well, let's try using the circle of fifths. Now, theoretically, I am in D-minor, because that's where I started. But B-minor is a departure from D-minor, so I'm going to use a little thought experiment: "If I was in B-minor, where could I go next?"

Well, in melodic minor, I could simply go to the dominant chord of B-minor, which would be an F# major chord. And my fingers are happy to go there. Right now they are at D, F#, B-natural, so I just drop the D down to C#, and the B down to A#. F# as the next chord makes sense from both the circle of fifths, and from keyboard logic, because I only need to move two fingers while I keep one in the same place. And since I know music theory, I can already hear in advance what the chord will sound like (because I know what the dominant chord sounds like).

The progression is now D-minor (D, F, A), B-minor (first inversion: D, F#, B-natural), F# (second inversion: C#, F#, A#). Give it a try and see how it sounds.

Where do we go next? There are a lot of possibilities... we could moving chromatically back to D-minor or D-major. We could go back to B-minor. Or we go to G-minor. Using a diatonic (e.g. circle of firths) or chromatic progression with voice-leading gives me a bunch of options to try.

To use this progression in a real piece, we could put the chords in different inversions, and add a bass voice to flesh out the chords. We could also try suspending some of the chords (the F# major chord is a good candidate).

Whether you like this short progression will be a matter of taste, the point is that I can use a combination of experimentation and theory to make something that (in my opinion) that's a bit unusual while still being comprehensible.

Here are the questions I'm constantly asking myself:
- What chord is next moving by the circle of fifths from the key of the tonic?
- What chord is next by moving by the circle of fifths if I pretend that I'm in some other key?
- What chord is next if I only move one or two fingers either a whole step or a half step? (keyboard logic)
- What chord is next if I move all three fingers by different amounts or in different directions? (keyboard logic)
- What chord do I want to get to, and what combination of diatonic changes or keyboard logic do I need to get there?

According to music theory, there are actually multiple logical ways to progress from any chord, and you get to choose which one (for instance, after those 3 chords, there are many directions I could go next which would all be "correct"). There are is a wide variety of rules in music theory: Renaissance music theory had one set of rules, Baroque music another, and Romantic music yet another. For example, my second chord progression would make no sense to Baroque ears, but it would make perfect sense to the Romantics.

Music theory will encourage you towards particular possibilities, but it's really not a set of rules that you must follow (especially because there actually many "music theories"). What's most important is to develop your own music theory and your own set of rules for what you think does (and doesn't) sound good.

Whether you come up with your personal music theory by studying formal music theory, or by noodling around, or both... it doesn't matter, as long as you pick a set of your personal rules for the sound you want and follow them consistently.
This is a very, very, very good post.

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Old 25-12-2012, 08:31 PM   #38
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Re: Composing chords

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This is a very, very, very good post.
ya rly

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Old 25-12-2012, 09:38 PM   #39
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Re: Composing chords

subbed.

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It sounds like two records playing at once .
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Old 26-12-2012, 02:35 AM   #40
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Re: Composing chords

Some good posts in this thread, and some not so good


I'll say this: wether you are noodling or theorizing. the most important thing is your EAR.

the most important thing is your EAR.


You have to LISTEN to a lot of music with interesting harmonic content and internalize it. Based on your talent level this can take varying amounts of time.

After you've internalized it (aka you can listen to it in your head like a radio station), then creating it will become possible. Then finding and understanding the method that allows you to create it will become possible.

The most important part is your ear.

But yea IMO knowing some kind of theory is helpful. Keep in mind that doesn't have to be traditional music theory, it can just be some general guidelines that work for you. This is kind of how folk, rock, and blues musicians have worked in the past

I know a moderate amount of music theory, and I compose 90% by ear. In retrospect I might analyze what I've done and use theory to improve it, or perhaps as a springboard into some kind variation.


you ear...

it's the most important thing.

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