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Looking for "Formulas" in Chord Progressions


King Conga

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OK! I'm a drummer that went to a music school that thought there was no life after Bach and Beethoven, so I really didn't get much out of music theory in the way of figuring out how to construct tasteful, modern chord progressions. I've "studied" and listened to pretty much all the modern pop, and jazz legends that wrote 90% of the guidelines we use today, and I can tell a maj7 -> min7 progression, and maybe a little more, but that's about it. And, YES! I've heard all the jokes from guitarists, etc about drummers don't sing, or write music...blah, blah, blah:blah:

 

What I'm trying to ascertain is any kind of criteria, or "formulas" that songwriters use to construct chord progressions. For instance, I have a keyboard player friend that has a magical ear, even though, he's not into composition, and he always starts with listening to a pre-existing bass line to figure out the chords. But what if I'm starting from scratch?

 

Any Help is Appreciated (but PLEEEZE!! NO Smart@$$ jokes),

KC

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:D

 

They stretch a point (a little past breaking) but they've got a point... most pop music doesn't fall very far at all from the big tree.

 

 

Honestly, you may not have any real interest in playing a little bit of keyboards or guitar (or both) but getting a casual familiarity with blocking out chords on guitar or keys would probably pull you a lot farther along that road.

 

With regard to formulas, I've been finding that the single biggest aid in that regard has been basic chord analysis. Lately I've been putting everything into Nashville notation.

 

(Roman numeral is fine, too, but Nashville seems to cut a little more directly for me; I would imagine even more so for those who didn't have the Roman numeral numeric system beat into their heads by rote [which is the only way to do it, since there's so little logical consistency; it wasn't until the Arabs introduced the decimal system and the zero that Europe had a numeric system that made a lick of sense.)

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[YOUTUBE]pepRaCZeMvA[/YOUTUBE]

 

Two chords. No Bridge. David Sylvian's the only guy that I know of to pull off such a repetitive song and make it work so profoundly well. The whole "loop" structure of the song makes one appreciate the subtleties of the shifting atmospheres and Fripp's powerful yet understated contributions. And Mel collins just jumps in a the perfect time, don't he?

 

As for my own songs, ton's of chord changes happen but they reflect the subtle dynamics of shifts in mood and direction that occur throughout the composition than complexity for complexity's sake. Structure-wise I'm based more on the modern classical/Early Music/old video game music/jazz/nonwestern folk idiom than the traditional blues-based pop/rock song. This allows me to dress up my music in any style I want, but usually I go "non-genre".

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