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how to write more "rock" songs?


Still.ill

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i've noticed that a lot of harder (not metal) rock stuff that i like uses chords like the b3, b6, b7, basically the non-diatonic chords....

unfortunately i find it harder to write a good vocal melody to go along with than with normal "pop" chords

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Try using mostly normal pop chords, but throw one of those "spicy" chords in on occasion just for some flavor. Perhaps once every 5-6 chords, for example? Try not to stay on some of the stranger chords for long. If then chord sounds dissonant, just stay on it for a couple beats. Use them as a spice. Too much just gets in the way, but a little will add enough to really make things interesting. And I believe that it will be easier to write a melody over the top of this.

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You should take some time to learn about chord substitutions. Basically, you can substitute a non-diatonic chord for one of the diatonic ones, if they share some common notes or characteristics. It's a very powerful technique that is used a lot in jazz, but the principals can be applied to any type of music.

 

Here's a simple introduction to chord substitutions. You can find tons more with your favorite search engine.

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And remember, dissonance is all about setting up for release from the tension, resolution with the root. That's why it's often better in smaller doses, but depending on the song, may be used for extended periods to really ratchet up the tension.

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And remember, dissonance is all about setting up for
release
from the tension, resolution with the root. That's why it's often better in smaller doses, but depending on the song, may be used for extended periods to really ratchet up the tension.

 

 

i'm not talking about dissonant chords im talking about swaggering songs that use the chords

 

I-b3-IV as their primary progression

 

[YOUTUBE]rozWkixhs9k[/YOUTUBE]

 

[YOUTUBE]WzCfESR17p8[/YOUTUBE]

 

or I-b7-b3

 

[YOUTUBE]a0sry6TyEUU[/YOUTUBE]

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Johnny Lydon wasn't much good at it either. :) Though I still love his follow-the-chord "melodies". That Pistols tune is the sweat off the dog's bullocks. I love it but it's pretty standard stuff. To write like Lydon/Rotten... just follow the chords. Instant mongloid rock. Cool stuff but wears thin fast.

 

The 1st Oasis tune is inspired though.

 

Just listen to Supersonic's melody without thinking about the chords for a minute. It's pretty straight pop melody. The chords are pretty straight too. Thing is, he doesn't play the "right' chords. He playing all kinds of fun "wrong" chords that blend together to rub against that simple melody in a godlike way.

 

If it's in Em it's just a simple Em G A progression. But he uses all the chord tones in a counter direction. So instead of ascending Em G A his chord tones descend and you hear predominately that D on the G chord then resolving to the C# note on the A chord.

 

So, in essence, he's doing the opposite to what Lydon does to great effect, adding counter direction while it stll being mindnumbingly simple, awesome and ROCK.

 

It's all simple {censored}. Just take it apart, have things go in chord direction, then counter chord direction for flavour, then crank it up as CM suggests, get a coke habit, divorce your wife and start doing your bass player, switch to Jack, buy a Harley and get brain damage on a spill over Mullholland on the way to your therapist whilst wasted.

 

ROCK:thu:

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Sorry... I wasn't paying enough attention. I have to say I've been putting things together by ear since day one and even after I learned a little rudimentary theory, it's something I typically apply when I'm analyzing something that already exists. I'm a lot quicker at trying a bunch of different chord combinations than I am at figuring out a theoretical solution to something. When I was in punk bands we just sort of threw things together and saw how it sounded... half the time we wouldn't know what key something was in without just playing a melody line against it to see. ;)

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Showing the rather exiguous boundaries of my music theory knowledge, I was more than a little hazy about just what a cadence is so I did what any modern seeker of wisdom does... But, man, the Wikipedia article just kept rolling on and on... it appears that every possible combination of elements has been classified and labeled with improbable and stunningly opaque jargon.

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cadence_%28music%29

 

Thank heaven I already knew the music side to a fair extent or it would have made no sense at all. That's not a criticism of the article; it appears to be fairly thorough and well written, as these things go.

 

But once again, I find myself thinking, Man, if they ever want anyone to be able to learn how to play and write music from this stuff, they need to completely upend the manner in which they talk about and describe it.

 

I've pulled at a lot of dense and obscure jargon in my 6 decades, from the law to competing schools of object oriented programming, and, though I have some practical understanding of music, I have to say that the formal language devoted to broad music theory is stupefying: an etymology of arbitrariness bordering on the utterly absurd.

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Oh... and use a pentatonic with minor scale for fill in. A simple pentatonic melody is gonna rock.

 

 

Very true. The pentatonic can work well with strange chords if you find common tones between chords. Once you start thinking about it there are tons of possibilities with chord substitutions, or taking an expected melody and altering one note to fit with an unexpected chord.

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there lies the problem... i seem to over rely on pentatonics on my guitar, yet i can't make up pentatonic melodies in singing
:(

 

 

Or so you seem to have convinced yourself... :)

 

Think very simple for a pentatonic melody. No noodling but driving. Get a cool, simple rhythm for the voice then try out the b7 to the tonic on that rhythm.

 

Just for illustration purposes:

 

Think about the rhythm of the 1st line in the song Happy Birthday.. Now, use the b7 for the "happy" bit and then the tonic for the word "birthday". Slow it way down and chug an Em chord.

 

Now change the words to "Kill your sister". :eek:

 

D

Kill your

Em

sis-ter!

 

Em

And your

D

mo-ther! (same melody but chord changes)

 

D

And your

G

princi-pal (same melody rubbing against the chord change)

 

G

After you...

A

drug-her!!! (same deal)

 

 

The "melody" of rock is all about simple note choices rubbing against the b3 and b7 harmony and most overlooked... driving melody rhythm.

 

Happy Birth-DAY!!!

 

Kill your Dad's dog

And his girl freind

As we pray to

Charles Manson

 

Like that.

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Questioning how someone quantifies genres is boring... and silly.

 

 

Normally I couldn't agree more but in the case of asking how to make songs sound more like [genre] I think it's important, if only to give me an idea...I was thinking Queens of the Stone Age type music, which has a very specific playing style, which of course varies massively from style Oasis employ.

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I think it's important, if only to give me an idea...I was thinking Queens of the Stone Age type music, which has a very specific playing style, which of course varies massively from style Oasis employ.

 

 

queens of the stone age sure might be heavier but are not as melodic

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also another thing:

 

it seems guitar seems to limit the type of songs you write... i have been listening to pet sounds a lot recently and some of the songs with their weird progressions just are clumsy on guitar, but lead into together perfectly on piano

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also another thing:


it seems guitar seems to limit the type of songs you write... i have been listening to pet sounds a lot recently and some of the songs with their weird progressions just are clumsy on guitar, but lead into together perfectly on piano

 

 

I've mentioned this a number of times on this forum. I agree with you.

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