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#582707 - 02/05/08 12:03 AM Re: Lyric to Music exercise [Re: McFredd-o]  
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Jack Swain Offline
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In terms of vocal range it is not that unusual to vary our speech by an octave of more. When you are relaxed you might be in a lower register, but then if you are suddenly excited going an octave higher can happen from the constriction in the throat that happens involuntarily. I would say you would be reasonably safe to write a song that may extend up to an octave and a half without really challenging too many singers. They may need to transpose a key, but the range would not be a huge challenge. That is if they really sing. On the other hand, I would be willing to bet that the vast majority of pop tunes do not exceed an octave in range.

#582795 - 02/05/08 02:22 AM Re: Lyric to Music exercise [Re: McFredd-o]  
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I really like what you all are doing here. Its fantastic. I will sit back and enjoy the process.

Thanks

Michele





#582822 - 02/05/08 03:35 AM Re: Lyric to Music exercise [Re: McFredd-o]  
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--3---5----6/5----5-----3------2/1
all - day - long - he - lurks - there

----2/1----3----1------1
Staring - at - the - screen

1-----3-5-5-----3-----5------6------5------3
A - predator - on - the - world - wide - web

-2----1----3---2---1--2
well you know what I mean

-5-----6---5---6----6----5---3
His - spe-cial-ty - is - grooming

-3---------5-----6--5-----6----5-----5------3
Though - he - sel-dom - wash-es - his - face

5----6---------5----6----6----5-------3-----2/1
He - grooms - the - pret-ty - girls - and - boys

5-------6-----5-----6------6-----7/6/5
And - tries - to - leave - no - trace.

--------------------------------------------------------
Chorus
He's an internet spider
On the World Wide Web.
Come into my parlour
It's time that I was fed.
---------------------------------------------------------

Part 3:

We have been building so far to the chorus, so we should expect a payoff in it. The way I built it so far vocally I would be holding back in volume and if the voice allowed maybe give it a somewhat menacing quality. My voice does not have a very menacing quality to it, but Jim could pull it off easier. He seems to use a natural growl in his voice that would be more effective at this. Once we hit the chorus it should probably be with full voice and swagger.

The last line:

5-------6-----5-----6------6-----7/6/5
And - tries - to - leave - no - trace.

ends on the 7 stepping down to 5. The 7 makes it obvious that we are at the fifth. I don't mean to be confusing here, but when I say the 7 implies the fifth, I mean if you listen to the notes out loud you would probably seek a fifth chord to accompany the melody at that point.

Early on I said this scheme would work for a song in either a major or minor key. I played with a guitar to get a feel for it for the chorus, and I must backpedal a little to state this is really in a major key. It would definitely require tweaking to make this fit in a minor key. It could be done, but what I set out so far fits nicely in a major key without any tweaks. What I am hearing, though definitely has a minor second playing a significant role in setting the tone.

Now I would like to change the words in the chorus a little because it jumps from third person to first person half the way through, plus it now embues the singer with the stigma of being the bad guy. If the intent is to be the bad guy, then it would have been much more effective to start off like that. Then the menace would have been even more pronounced.

I want to use an interval leap here in the chorus. When I want to come up with something interesting I usually try with guitar in hand and explore different intervals until I have one that makes me feel like the chorus stands out, but still makes sense. I chose to go to a higher octave because it seemed like a less common interval to use, so I went for it. Play with the sounds and see if you hear a chord pattern behind it. I definitely have a rough idea behind it that should be fine tuned.

-3-----5----9---8---8----3---2/1-- ..........(Note: 8 and 9 denote the 1 and the 2 in the higher octave)
He's - an - in-ter-net - spi-der

-2----1-----3--------2----1---
On - the - World - Wide - Web.

-3---5-----9/8-- 8---3---2/1
Wel-come - to - his- par-lour

1----2--1-----3------2/1---1
A - spi-der - must - be - fed.


Okay, so I have put a preliminary melody to the verse and chorus (so rinse and repeat). Although there isn't one here I think I would work out a bridge where you could have some words fit to some scary sounds like "he's gonna find you, he knows just where you live..." It could be spoken or sung. A creepy voice speaking the words could be very effective. It should be about four lines long.

I would also change the key at some point, either coming out of the bridge, or before going into the last verse. A key change isn't necessary but it would be easy enough to go up one step to finish the song.

Questions?

#582948 - 02/05/08 01:08 PM Re: Lyric to Music exercise [Re: Jack Swain]  
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So did those interested in this thread see this post or was it buried before you saw it?

#582950 - 02/05/08 01:13 PM Re: Lyric to Music exercise [Re: Jack Swain]  
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I saw it, Jack. And thank you. I'm going to need tro re-read it some more, 'cause we're starting to go over this po' ol' country boy's head. This is very good stuff.

Joe

#582952 - 02/05/08 01:15 PM Re: Lyric to Music exercise [Re: Joe Wrabek (D)]  
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please feel free to ask if there is something that I did not make clear. The best way to do things is to show others because it forces you to work through the process with intent and reinforces the ideas in your own head.

#583000 - 02/05/08 02:43 PM Re: Lyric to Music exercise [Re: Jack Swain]  
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Very cool exercise, this.

Now we're getting to the fun part! We have a melody, so we are fairly well covered for the song except for the bridge. Sounds like we're getting ready to find the right chords to support and to "color" this melody? We'll see what Jack prefers to do next.

But when it happens, the chords Jack picks will either reinforce what people think this sounds like, or it may startle them a bit...because a melody all alone is a lot like reading a lyric all alone--we're a bit blinded by our preconceptions here. The melody may well take on a whole new meaning and "feel" once we hear the chords that go along with it.

(Jack's leading this exercise, but I'll insert a personal comment here about bridges. When I write songs and get to this point, I often save the writing of the bridge until just a little later. Why? Because I like my bridges to veer off in startling directions, so I take some time to get used to the new music I've just written, even if only for an hour or so...But then when I tackle the bridge, I try to come up with something that takes us someplace else...yet still "fits" and carries us neatly back home. The Beatles called this "the middle bit". It's my favorite part of a song. Okay, back to Jack!)

#583006 - 02/05/08 03:08 PM Re: Lyric to Music exercise [Re: Mark Kaufman]  
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I am with you on that Mark. The bridge should take a different direction. In this case I am hearing not so much a different chord pattern, as I am more unusual guitar and or synthesizer sounds to give it an eerie quality with spoken words. I think this song warrants that type of treatment, but I would usually throw in a an odd chord or something, maybe temporarily change the key center in the bridge before returning to the next verse (or chorus).

What you said about the melody is correct, this is a very straightforward melody save for the interval leap I added in the chorus and if you stuck strictly to the 1/4/5 chords that could be done with what I have here it could be boring. The chord pattern which I have not discussed, but I am formulating in my mind uses the root major and relative minor, so a minor 6th chord plays a dominant role in giving the song some weight.

My goal here was to present a way to conceive a melody from the words. The melody alone will not define the song, but gives you a set of options to work from. Most people who write, especially guitar players, start with chords or riffs, and I do that sometimes, but I often find a more interesting melody by finding an unusual interval to inject into the song, then build a chord pattern around it. In this song I am not getting overly adventurous, but I don't think the style I am going for here needs it to be, for the song to be effective.

I will attempt to go through this exercise again with the other lyric proposed by Sam and I suspect it will get a more adventurous treatment, because I perceive it to be more melodic and less rock-n-roll riff based. As I stated before, it almost seems like a lullaby the way the lyrics read.

#583022 - 02/05/08 04:17 PM Re: Lyric to Music exercise [Re: Jack Swain]  
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Well Jack I did perceive this as a rock type song however kept the format simple so as to enable it to be adapted to a lot of styles and genres in order to get the message out. This was one of the few strong message songs I have written and I did not want it pigeonholed. I like what you have done so far and agree with mark that the "middle bit" should be tackled from a different direction. Eerie or sad sounds good there are lots of "sad chords" I would possibly use and synth sounds good.

#583147 - 02/05/08 09:31 PM Re: Lyric to Music exercise [Re: Jack Swain]  
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Wait, wait, wait! Hang on a minute....I'll speak for all of us who don't have access to the internet at work! And I agree, it does take a little while to let everything sink in! smile

Here's my questions: (you may be sorry you asked)
I sat at the piano and played those numbers like they were notes, but what I'm wondering is, have you considered what kind of notes they are yet? Which ones are quarter notes, half notes? You say there is a preliminary melody and I hear that to an extent but am I missing it?

The other thing I'm wondering is, (okay, so I'll probably never get that "7 implies fifth" thing...that's okay). But, you said to play around with the sounds and see if we could hear a chord pattern. That is exactly what I want to know. Where do those chord patterns develop from? I think I may know the answer, but I want to hear what you say.

Jack, you went thru it step by step, and it's been great to see it unfold so far... smile


A musician must make music, an artist must paint, a poet must write,
if he is to be ultimately at peace with himself. What a man can be,
he must be. -- Abraham Maslow, American Psychologist
#583414 - 02/06/08 02:38 PM Re: Lyric to Music exercise [Re: Kristi McKeever]  
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Kristi, I do have a preliminary note value for each, but I never discussed tempo/rhythm, chord patterns (except in very general terms), etc. My goal was first to give an idea how note choices can be determined when creating a melody. Had I started with a chord pattern, the obvious thing to do would be find notes that fit the chords, but sometimes you can get something more interesting by getting the notes first, then discovering what chords will work well with them. I would encourage, at least trying to find a melody, before assigning chords. It is simply one more approach to your end result.

I probably could have used spacing to imply timelength of notes when I wrote it out, and subconsciously I might have done that to some degree, but I did not do it intentionally, so that would not be an accurate representation of what I have in mind.

What I did so far is create a framework that can be set to a variety of rhythms and the rhythm used will probably influence the exact note lengths. I frequently get to this point thinking I am well on my way and begin working it all out with an instrument only to decide I am not satisfied with it so I start exploring other rhythmic ideas.

The following is lengthy so take it slow, Read a paragraph and let it sink in before moving on or it will seem overwhelming, but in truth it is simple. If I could show you on a chalkboard you would get it in a few minutes.

--------------------------------------------------------

I knew that comment about the 7 implies the 5th would rouse a question, I should have explained it then. Hang on and try to follow this, it isn't hard but could get confusing until it sinks in:

Let's look at what notes make up the 1/4/5 chords. Before we do that here is some background.

Chords are generally built upon triads (3 tones). Two tones can imply a chord, but it is indeterminate. You cannot clearly define it as one chord or another. Three tones give you enough information to declare that the combination of tones defines a specific chord. The same two tones could be part of many chords, so it is indeterminate. You can also embellish a chord by adding additional tones on top of the triad that determined a chord. That is where all those confusing jazz chords come in to play. We are not going there right now; we will stick to the triads.

Here is a simple short-hand approach to understand how to build the basic chord shapes which are called major, minor, augmented and diminished. These four chord types are all defined by triads. The technique I use is something I call stacking thirds .

What is a third?

There are two types of thirds, a minor third and a major third. The difference is best described by thinking of the keyboard on a piano. Start on any note as the root note of a chord and begin playing the next notes up the scale, including all the white and black keys as they fall into sequence. From the root note, a minor third is one and one half steps above the root. Each subsequent note when stepping up all the keys, white and black are a half-step apart. So if you start on the G and walk up one and one half steps you have found the Bb. A major third is two whole steps up, so starting on the G, two whole steps up is the B. This is the important thing to understand before we proceed. If you understand the difference between the minor and major third, then what I say following will become obvious.

So here is the idea of stacking thirds:

A triad in a given chord is made up of two intervals between the three notes. Both of those intervals are a third. That is, from the root to the second note in the chord you have to step up a third, then from the third to the next note is another third interval, thus you have two third intervals stacked one on the other. The top note of the triad is a fifth from the root note, but it is a third away from the second note. Okay, take a breath and let that sink in.

Now the cool part:

A major chord is a major third interval with a minor third interval on top of it.

A minor chord is a minor third interval with a major third interval on top of it.

An augmented chord is a major third interval with a major third interval on top of it.

So what do you think a diminished chord is? You got it:

A diminished chord is a minor third interval with a minor third interval on top of it.

This is a powerful thing to know because I can find a chord anywhere on my fret-board by simply building it from thirds. It may be clumsy the first few times I use it, but once I know where it is I can practice and smooth it out.

(A Note on inversions, but not germane to discussion)
I have not discussed inversions, because they will not help my discussion here at all, but understand that the same three notes could be played by choosing a different one of the three to be at the bottom. Therefore triads can be made as a root inversion as we have done here, a first and a second inversion. All the inversions are still called the same chord name, but because the arrangement of first, third and fifth have been rearranged the sound of the chords have a different color. Don't worry about them for now. I just want to be clear that what I have shown is not the only way to make chord shapes.

So finally back to the question about what I mean by the 7 implies the fifth:

The 1 chord, or root chord is made up of the 1/3/5 notes, the 4 chord is made up of the 4/6/8 (the 8 is the octave 1), and the 5 chord is made up of the 5/7/9 (the 9 is the octave 2). So, when I said the 7 implies the fifth, I meant it was one of the tones that appear in the 5 chord.

This post is long enough to choke a horse so I will stop here, but I do have more to say about the augmented and diminished chord types and how to use them.

Last edited by Jack Swain; 02/06/08 05:31 PM.
#583426 - 02/06/08 03:04 PM Re: Lyric to Music exercise [Re: Jack Swain]  
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Jack I think you are going at the correct pace. It allows time for most of it to sink in before going onto the next item. To much at the one time could be overwhelming both for you writing it and for us reading and understanding it. Thanks I have some Qs but will save them for later.

#583474 - 02/06/08 05:15 PM Re: Lyric to Music exercise [Re: BIG JIM MERRILEES]  
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Not to mention this is one of the best-explained music lessons I've seen in a long time. This particular lesson is one of the best you can learn from music theory. Great stuff, Jack, well-presented.

#583482 - 02/06/08 05:39 PM Re: Lyric to Music exercise [Re: Mark Kaufman]  
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Thanks for the kind words. I love it when I can enlighten others with what little I have to share.

#583553 - 02/06/08 08:28 PM Re: Lyric to Music exercise [Re: Jack Swain]  
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Anyone following this who is feeling a little mystified? My advice is to print out Jack's last lesson and read it next to a keyboard (the musical kind...you know, like a piano). If you play the intervals and chords he talks about, you will hear the difference. Then play around with major, minor, augmented and diminished chords...chances are you might find yourself composing something...

#583555 - 02/06/08 08:41 PM Re: Lyric to Music exercise [Re: Mark Kaufman]  
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Mark Did it already......I wonder how close the final thing will be to mine. I might get my keyboard player to play it properly and record it. See how it compares. If more people do the same we might see some real revelations and differences.

#583556 - 02/06/08 08:49 PM Re: Lyric to Music exercise [Re: BIG JIM MERRILEES]  
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You mean, have a bunch of different people write music to your song, and then compare? That would be interesting.

#583563 - 02/06/08 09:00 PM Re: Lyric to Music exercise [Re: Mark Kaufman]  
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That would be great but I was meaning using Jack's outlines. It would still be full of diversity.

#583631 - 02/06/08 11:39 PM Re: Lyric to Music exercise [Re: Jack Swain]  
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Believe it or not, I'm with ya! (or let's say I'm not lost!) smile Phew! BUT...

Jack, you said there are no note values yet. Okay, that sort of boggles my mind. But that's okay. We forge on...

May I ask though, you said the rhythm will influence the note lengths....what do you mean by rhythm there?

The chord explanation is excellent. Brought me right back to the basement of Mrs. Johnson's house on Saturday mornings...but I'm gonna have to print that out like Mark suggested for point of reference...thank you for that detailed account.

I guess I'll wait for your explanantion about how to use these chords, because that is where my questions lie. When I write a melody, I find the notes and note values first. But it gets complicated for me when I want to spruce it up with stuff...like chords! The one-handed melody line is actually fun for me when I get into it, it's when I go to assign the chords where it gets tricky...and this seems to be where we are here now...

I'm feeling positive about all this...just hope I don't step off the cliff on the next round...! smile

Kristi


A musician must make music, an artist must paint, a poet must write,
if he is to be ultimately at peace with himself. What a man can be,
he must be. -- Abraham Maslow, American Psychologist
#583633 - 02/06/08 11:45 PM Re: Lyric to Music exercise [Re: BIG JIM MERRILEES]  
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Originally Posted by BIG JIM MERRILEES
That would be great but I was meaning using Jack's outlines. It would still be full of diversity.

Hi Jim,

I don't think we've met! I just wanted to ask you what you mean by this....I might try it too if I understood what to do.


A musician must make music, an artist must paint, a poet must write,
if he is to be ultimately at peace with himself. What a man can be,
he must be. -- Abraham Maslow, American Psychologist
#583637 - 02/07/08 12:10 AM Re: Lyric to Music exercise [Re: Kristi McKeever]  
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I'm learning a lot too. My usual way is to play an instrument (guitar or piano) and after randomly messing around for awhile, I find myself repeating a chord pattern, just 'cause I like how it sounds...that's usually the first thing that happens for me...then I take things from there by adding further structure, and words, and melody.

Since I've joined this forum, I've tried all sorts of new things. The last few songs I've written started with lyrics, and I NEVER used to do that. Now Jack has introduced the idea of first making a melody just by assigning notes to the words, but not necessarily chords yet. That's just fascinating to me.

Kristi, Jack says this song is going to be "riff-based"...so he's going to come up with a cool riff, and that will have it's own rhythm. Based on the length and style of that rhythm, some lyrics will just plain flow differently...maybe the lyrics will sound better syncopated between the notes of the riff, or maybe right along with them...it sort of remains to be seen until then. And what's a riff, anyway? Y'know, like the intro guitar in The Beatles' "Day Tripper", or "Louie Louie"...those are riffs that drive the rest of the song and sort of dictate the way you place your words when you sing them. I'll leave that for Jack to REALLY explain...

One way to play with assigning chords is to play a song you know, let's say one that has a section that holds onto the C chord for a bit. Now sing along to that same bit--same melody, same notes--but play an A minor chord while you sing it. It probably works...but sounds different. And these are the sorts of choices we can make with tunes we are creating.

#583649 - 02/07/08 12:45 AM Re: Lyric to Music exercise [Re: Mark Kaufman]  
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Hi Kristi,

There is good news. If you do come up with a melody which is the most important part, there are people out there who can write chord charts for you to compliment your notes if you get stuck on this part. You might have to pay somebody but it may be worth it if you feel you have a strong melody. Demo studios will also put chords to your melody whether you play with one hand on the piano or sing it onto a CD or tape cassette without any instrumentation when you submit your worktape to the studio. The closer your voice can convey the melody the easier for the demo studio to follow what you want melodically and they will work their magic on the chords, arranging, do-dahs, etc.

Best,
Lynn

Last edited by Lynn Orloff; 02/07/08 12:46 AM.

My Music at Soundclick
http://www.soundclick.com/bands/page_music.cfm?bandID=788266

~call it a blessing or call it a curse, but I see all of life in verse~

Always open to collaborations smile

God Bless Our Military!!!
#583668 - 02/07/08 01:23 AM Re: Lyric to Music exercise [Re: Mark Kaufman]  
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Mark,
Ya know, I always thought the chord in your left hand had to "match" the note you're playing w/your right. For example, if I'm playing an E, then what I do is assign a chord of CEG (C Major) or some variation of it (EGC, GCE) to play with the right handed E. The E is in the chord. I go by sound though, really. I ask myself, does that sound right? But when I think about it, that's my "theory"! (until now... I'm seeing there's other ways to do things)

So the riff is just a repeated phrasing of notes....Wow, that whole concept is very foreign to me. I'm gonna have to do some experimenting I see. Maybe Jack will give us some homework! smile Thanks for your explanations!

Lynn,
That is good news! I'm glad you told me about that. But then there's the money issues with these types of things as well. I wonder how people manage that!




A musician must make music, an artist must paint, a poet must write,
if he is to be ultimately at peace with himself. What a man can be,
he must be. -- Abraham Maslow, American Psychologist
#583689 - 02/07/08 01:51 AM Re: Lyric to Music exercise [Re: Kristi McKeever]  
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yes the $$$ is an issue. You can always ask people to give you $ for Christmas and birthdays instead of gifts and tell them why, atleast family members who you feel comfortable saying it to and who understand your passion. smile


My Music at Soundclick
http://www.soundclick.com/bands/page_music.cfm?bandID=788266

~call it a blessing or call it a curse, but I see all of life in verse~

Always open to collaborations smile

God Bless Our Military!!!
#583703 - 02/07/08 02:06 AM Re: Lyric to Music exercise [Re: Lynn Orloff]  
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Or just ask a friend. wink

#583706 - 02/07/08 02:09 AM Re: Lyric to Music exercise [Re: Lynn Orloff]  
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Hi Kristi
What I meant was this. If you give someone just lyrics they can make a melody and chord structure in so many different ways. There are endless possibilities of how a song can turn out as you can imagine.
Different chords melodys style pace tempo etc etc the sky is the limit.
However if you give a basic pattern and structure to work to they have to work around that pattern. There are still numerous directions to go but always within the basic structure rythm and pattern. I hope I make sense. It would be interesting to see just how diverse folk can get using the same basic pattern that Jack laid out rather than just a complete free hand.
It is like building the walls and then asking someone to complete the house. There is only so much can be done within that framework but every house could be different. As opposed to giving someone a free hand to build any old house any shape any size from scratch.

Last edited by BIG JIM MERRILEES; 02/07/08 02:10 AM.
#584021 - 02/07/08 08:42 PM Re: Lyric to Music exercise [Re: BIG JIM MERRILEES]  
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I had to go back and reread what I last posted to know where to go from there, so I think I should give a little more information about chords, especially augmented and diminished chords and one more special case, the 7th chord.

There is not a whole lot more I can say about major and minor chords that I think you don't already know instinctively because we hear them so much. Obviously, a major chord is demonstrative, and often conveys happy sounds, while the minor chord carries an element of sadness, or sometimes foreboding or menace depending on how it is presented.

The Augmented Chord

What does the name imply? One definition for the word augment is:

to make greater, more numerous, larger, or more intense

So how is an augmented chord increased? The literal meaning is the fifth is increased by half a step. Remember an augmented chord is a major third interval with another major third interval on top. That means using a major chord as the base, the fifth (the top note of the triad), which is sometimes called a perfect fifth, is now modified or increased a half step.The fifth is no longer "perfect" and it is sometimes notated as a "+5".

The Diminished Chord

Likewise, the diminished chord implies that something is taken away or reduced. That is the fifth again. Starting with a minor chord this time, the perfect fifth is now reduced by half a step, and it might be found notated as a "-5".

How do you use augmented or diminished chords?

When you play an augmented or diminished chord it seems to have a slightly unsettling sound. In musical terms we say they sound "unresolved". That is, when you hear one of these chords there is a subconscious expectation that something else should follow. These chords are often referred to as passing chords, or chords used in transitional ways within a piece of music. The best way to see this is to start with a major chord, then play its augmented chord for a beat then step to the 4th chord (another major chord). Do you hear how it steps up from the 1st to the 4th?

You can now take a minor chord, then make it a diminished, before stepping to the relative major (of your minor chord). You will likely detect a sense of stepping down from your minor chord to the relative major. I sometimes use a diminished to go from a 1st chord major, to a diminished chord and back to the 1st chord major, and it has the effect of sort of taking a step back and then forward again.

Relative Major/Minor Chords

In case you are wondering about a relative major (or relative minor), let me tell you what that means. If you choose a key to play in, it could have some combination of sharps or flats, or in the case of C major, no sharps or flats. The relative minor would be the minor key that would have exactly the same combinations of sharps or flats. In C major where there are no sharps or flats, its relative minor is A minor which also has no sharps or flats.

The relative major/minor relationship means that the two chords share notes in their composition and because of that, they tend to complement each other when used in the same piece of music. How many songs can you think of that are in C and also have the A minor chord in it, or a song a G major, where an E minor (the relative minor to G major) fits prominently in the song?

The 7th Chord

I mentioned the 7th chord was a special case. So what did I mean by that? Remember when we created simple chords we used a triad made up of a third interval between the first two notes and another third interval on top of that from the middle note to the top note. A 7th chord is another third added to the top of the pile.

This chord gets a lot of different names and what we commonly call a 7th chord, say an E7th is in actuality very poorly named because it does not tell us what it really is. We have come to know the meaning only through common usage. The E7th chord, as we know it, is in fact an Emaj\min7 which is much too long winded, so we resort to short-hand. Sometimes you see it notated as an E min7. Do you see the confusion with this? Is it a major chord with a minor 7 or a minor chord with a 7? Well, as a rule we have come to call the minor 7th as simply the 7th, and only if there is a major 7th do we spell it out. The minor 7th chord is used much more frequently in music, so the short-hand comes in handy.


What do you think an Emaj\min7 is using the method of stacking thirds?

We have an Emaj, or simply an E which is made up of a major third interval on the bottom with a minor third interval on top. Then we add the minor 7th on top of that. That means we add another minor third interval on top (3 intervals between 4 notes). Many times on the guitar the 7th chord is built short-handed with a 1/5/7, but the full chord includes all four notes.

So that leaves another possibility that we haven't yet discussed. What happens if instead of adding a minor third over your triad, you added a major third? That would be a major 7th chord. They are not used nearly as often as the minor 7th, but they are still pretty common. They have a lighter, softer sound than the minor 7th. It might frequently be found in easy listening type music because of its soothing quality.

I am off to pick up my daughter. Later, all.

Last edited by Jack Swain; 02/07/08 09:31 PM.
#584038 - 02/07/08 09:19 PM Re: Lyric to Music exercise [Re: Jack Swain]  
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Another great lesson, Jack.

Okay, Beatles again: 7th chords figured prominently in their early stuff. Listen to the guitar intro of "She's a Woman", just before he sings "My love don't give me presents"...those are all 7th chords. They used them constantly, and 7ths add a nice rowdy flavor, good for rock, blues or country. I love 7ths.

#584058 - 02/07/08 10:15 PM Re: Lyric to Music exercise [Re: Mark Kaufman]  
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Thanks Jack. For anyone not clear about chords and their structure...


here is a link which shows the main chords on a PIANO and a demo as to how they sound.
http://www.8notes.com/piano_chord_chart/

Here is a link about chords on a GUITAR and how they sound.
http://www.8notes.com/guitar_chord_chart/

Useful tools for any songwriter.




#584109 - 02/08/08 12:21 AM Re: Lyric to Music exercise [Re: BIG JIM MERRILEES]  
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Wow..lots of info there. All the names are a bit intimidating, but when you sit and play the piano keys and follow your explanations it's much much easier to "get it". I like the idea of adding to the pile. That makes sense to me.

I do like those 7th chords. They are so cool sounding and it's all very simple. Just count up from the 1st note and it's the 7th one (interval). Or stack it, like you say, Jack, by plopping on another 3rd. I did listen to that Beatles song, Mark...I am going to be so aware of every song I listen to from now on! And if I find myself picking one of those out of a song tomorrow, I'll just flip!

Jim, that piano page is very visual, and I could test myself to see if I chose the right notes for each "type" of chord. (the sound didn't work though..but I didn't need it, I have the keyboard!)

So that's great! You're a natural teacher Jack! Have you ever taught music? smile





A musician must make music, an artist must paint, a poet must write,
if he is to be ultimately at peace with himself. What a man can be,
he must be. -- Abraham Maslow, American Psychologist
#584115 - 02/08/08 12:46 AM Re: Lyric to Music exercise [Re: Kristi McKeever]  
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Kristi, that piano page is cool because it also shows the inversions that Jack mentioned above. Inversions give the same chord a different feel. A normal C major (C E G) has a naturally bright sound, to me. Now try it inverted this way: G C E. Somehow that feels more vibrant, to me. And when you play that inversion with your right hand, and use your left hand to hit two lower C's in an octave, all at once...Boom, that's powerful!

Jack talked about how the usual 7th chord is confusing, because you play a major triad and stack a minor third on top of it. So you have a major chord with a minor 7th topping it. Well, a minor triad with a minor 7th on top also sounds very cool. Try a couple of those and you might find yourself writing something...

Remember Chicago's early 70's hit "Colour My World"? That piano riff that opens it is playing a major triad with a major 7th on top of it. It walks up and down a major 7th chord, one note at a time, like this: F A C E C A (repeat 4 times)...

Last edited by Mark Kaufman; 02/08/08 12:52 AM.
#584127 - 02/08/08 01:25 AM Re: Lyric to Music exercise [Re: Mark Kaufman]  
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No, I am not a music teacher. There is a great deal of theory that I wish I knew better, but I have a foundation that I draw upon all the time.

In any field of endeavor, you can never say "I know it all, there is nothing left to learn." My engineering background taught me that everytime there is a major breakthrough in science that serves to answer some really big questions, it is only a matter of time before we realize we have a whole new set of questions that may never have occurred to us before.

#584136 - 02/08/08 01:44 AM Re: Lyric to Music exercise [Re: Mark Kaufman]  
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Oh my gosh, I haven't thought about that song in ages but instantly, I remember those notes...I just never knew those notes together had a name. Just thought they picked the notes FACECA cuz that's the sound they wanted. So, it's all very calculated...these chords etc...I notice he changed a note within the chord as it went on...I see, I see...that's what makes it a song! grin

I can't believe it, but I just found sheet music to that song in my piano bench (and I wasn't really looking for it! lol) Some memory gene must have just kicked in or something.... It's in 12/8 time! OH my!

So I can see coming up with some sort of song without a lyric if you have this framework (theory) to go by. Without it, it's all just a bunch of notes and it's a free-for-all. Maybe that's why I need the words first, to guide me...who knows. I'll definitely have to sit and experiment, who knows what will happen. But without words it's still gonna feel weird, but I can sort of see how music develops now from nothing.

Oh, and yes, the inversions..yep..I do that part alot - sort of. smile

Jack - I wish I had that foundation you draw upon!!

Last edited by Kristi McKeever; 02/08/08 02:10 AM.

A musician must make music, an artist must paint, a poet must write,
if he is to be ultimately at peace with himself. What a man can be,
he must be. -- Abraham Maslow, American Psychologist
#584159 - 02/08/08 02:32 AM Re: Lyric to Music exercise [Re: Kristi McKeever]  
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Originally Posted by Kristi McKeever

So I can see coming up with some sort of song without a lyric if you have this framework (theory) to go by. Without it, it's all just a bunch of notes and it's a free-for-all.

Now I get why so many people write songs before they know what the music will be! That quote says it all. See, when I first joined this forum I had a hard time understanding how someone could write that way. (I just wrote two of my last three that way...now I kinda like it.) Well, duh...that's because I had a map...I was always driving somewhere...but without that map, everything would have looked like a bunch of roads, all looking the same, so where the heck do we go?

Well, I hope you try to write something instrumentally now, then fuse some lyrics to it. It's a real good feeling. Sometimes it's easier to write a cohesive song, because once you hear it, you know the mood...and it might be easier to write words in any mood than write music in any mood. Different strokes for different folks. -Sly Stone cool

#584168 - 02/08/08 03:00 AM Re: Lyric to Music exercise [Re: Mark Kaufman]  
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Yeah, I know what you mean. We must s-t-r-e-t-c-h our creative minds...I meant to say thanks for providing those examples and extra info...it all helps to piece it all together! smile


Last edited by Kristi McKeever; 02/08/08 03:05 AM.

A musician must make music, an artist must paint, a poet must write,
if he is to be ultimately at peace with himself. What a man can be,
he must be. -- Abraham Maslow, American Psychologist
#584196 - 02/08/08 08:54 AM Re: Lyric to Music exercise [Re: Kristi McKeever]  
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Well we all seem to be getting somewhere. I think everyone has learned something. Personally I have learned a lot. One thing worth considering is that lyrics can be a melody in themselves.
Our natural speech contains a lot of intonation and spacing of words. A tune in itself if you like. It is sometimes easier fitting a melody to lyrics than lyrics to a melody. Some lyrics almost form ther own tune as you speak.
Now I know that most folk here are country orientated whilst I am classic rock however the "rules" are very similar.
I am a big fan of the band YES. Now to illustrate a point about lyrics carrying its own tune. They took lyrics to extremes not just music. Most of the Yessongs are quite complicated pieces. The lyrics are just a collection of haphazard words. They do not tell a story and mostly do not even make sense. They just sound good. They chose words just for their sounds to compliment the melody and each other. Weird but it works. Suggest listening to Close to the Edge by Yes.

#584231 - 02/08/08 12:15 PM Re: Lyric to Music exercise [Re: BIG JIM MERRILEES]  
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How can the wind with so many around me, anyhow?

Yes, Big Jim, you're right. And what you say about the melodic quality of words themselves, and the choice of words based on their sound quality...I think that is already a huge concern of country music. The lyrics and the stories are one of the most important elements of country...it follows that the best ones not only follow all the rules of clarity and cleverness and completeness, but they also "flow" just right...they "sound" great. It goes way back...I'm thinking about the sound of Hank's voice when he sings "Hey, Good Lookin'". If you didn't know the language, you'd still recognize it. The "Hey" sound could never be replaced by an "uh" sound. "Luuuuv me baby" just wouldn't fit that one.

Time for me to play "The Gates of Delirium"...

#584254 - 02/08/08 01:24 PM Re: Lyric to Music exercise [Re: Mark Kaufman]  
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Here is another point to consider on the internal melody of speech. Each language, and even dialects within a given language display sometimes unique timbre and pitch in normal conversation. So, in Scotland, there may well be phrases in the English language that would be verbalized differently than they would in the US, or even in some cases in London. Sometimes country songs have what may sound like over-exaggerated accents to people not used to hearing the way people speak in the Southern US. But, if you spent enough time in the Southern US you would begin to recognize some of that exaggeration comes from normal speech patterns in the South. That said, way too many country singers adopt a heavy singers' southern accent because that is just what they think it needs to sound "country".

The truth is, if you travel around the south and spent enough time in various regions there, you would begin to detect regional southern accents. For example, the area in Georgia/South Carolina tends to have a softer, to my ears more melodious southern accent with more rounded tones. The region around Arkansas/Tennessee where I was originally from tends to be a little harder in their pronunciations, which has a slightly harsher tone to my ears. This variation affects the way words are pronounced, which affects the timbre and pitch of speech.

Musically, this diversity is a good thing.


Last edited by Jack Swain; 02/08/08 01:26 PM.
#584304 - 02/08/08 03:42 PM Re: Lyric to Music exercise [Re: Jack Swain]  
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There is a huge diversity of language and accents in Scotland never mind the UK. Even different parts of a city like Edinburgh have slight differences in the way they speak from area to area. Glasgow accents (which is only 40 miles away) are completely different and speak in a sing song voice. Their voice pitches go up where we go down and down when we go up and are a lot harsher.

#584308 - 02/08/08 03:54 PM Re: Lyric to Music exercise [Re: BIG JIM MERRILEES]  
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The most beautiful sing-song voice I ever heard was that of a little old Welsh woman who I almost ran over driving up the side of a mountain in Northern Wales. It was Easter Sunday morning in 1986 and she had just attended Easter service in one town and was hitch-hiking to the next town abot 13 kilometers away. She stepped out in front of the car and if it hadn't been going uphill on a rather steep hairpin turn I probably would not have been able to stop and miss her.

When she spoke it sounded exactly like a combination of singing and yodeling in the most melodic set of tones I have ever heard in anyone's speech. I could not understand a single word she said, but I kept encouraging her to speak because her voice sounded simply beautiful. If I wasn't travelling south with the intent of meeting someone at a set time, I might have considered waiting for her to come out of church and take her home just to visit a little longer and listen to her speak.

#584486 - 02/08/08 10:37 PM Re: Lyric to Music exercise [Re: Jack Swain]  
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I see what you all are saying about speech patterns, but how come many times singers "lose" their accents when they sing a song? Or at least they seem to.

Big Jim, I listened to that Yes song(s) and that is like, all very weird to me. But I understand what you're saying. There are many songs I have no idea what the words are but I love the sound, ya know?


A musician must make music, an artist must paint, a poet must write,
if he is to be ultimately at peace with himself. What a man can be,
he must be. -- Abraham Maslow, American Psychologist
#584490 - 02/08/08 10:46 PM Re: Lyric to Music exercise [Re: Kristi McKeever]  
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Jack Swain Offline
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Jack Swain  Offline
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Berwyn, IL, US
That is a valid question of which I cannot give you an honest answer. However, I was not really trying to focus on the accent as much as the speech patterns, where the notes rise and fall and the timbre of the voice. The different regions and dialects have variations on the words we use in the way we stress a syllable or the length of a word or syllable.

My point about all this was that I feel a way to find melodies that work well with a lyric is to take advantage of those indiosyncratic ways we say the words to evolve a melody from it. To make a fully formed melody you will end up exaggerating those idiosyncracies, but the advantage to doing it is you are not trying to shoe-horn words into a mismatched melody. You are, instead, letting the words themselves build the melody for you.


Last edited by Jack Swain; 02/08/08 10:55 PM.
#584495 - 02/08/08 10:55 PM Re: Lyric to Music exercise [Re: Kristi McKeever]  
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BIG JIM MERRILEES Offline
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Edinburgh, Scotland. UK
Well Kristi A lot of people sing in a fake accent usually American cause that is what sells.
Re Yes.... I can see you are not a Prog Rock fan. They were the top prog Rock band of the seventies and still are touring.
They are all technically top of the tree musicians. They did a lot of experimental pioneering stuff. If you are a country fan then it is no wonder you find them weird. Just as I find country weird. It is just down to taste. But they did use lyrics more as a tune conveyer than a story or message. It helps to look at all music for an education in how to write.

#584500 - 02/08/08 11:21 PM Re: Lyric to Music exercise [Re: Jack Swain]  
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Kristi McKeever Offline
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Kristi McKeever  Offline
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USA
Originally Posted by Jack Swain
a way to find melodies that work well with a lyric is to take advantage of those indiosyncratic ways we say the words to evolve a melody from it. To make a fully formed melody you will end up exaggerating those idiosyncracies, but the advantage to doing it is you are not trying to shoe-horn words into a mismatched melody. You are, instead, letting the words themselves build the melody for you.


Jack- Yes, I think that is the best way to do it. Makes perfect sense. Depending upon the emotion, the words would be said differently too. As long as it's natural to the mood, feeling, you can't go wrong, wouldn't you agree?

Jim-Yeah, I remember them (Yes). I didn't collect their albums, no, but progressive rock, I don't even know what that is, so I can't say. I like country music, but I like other styles better. I was trying to get a feel for what you were saying regarding that song, but.. Got another one I can try to appreciate?


A musician must make music, an artist must paint, a poet must write,
if he is to be ultimately at peace with himself. What a man can be,
he must be. -- Abraham Maslow, American Psychologist
#584634 - 02/09/08 11:00 AM Re: Lyric to Music exercise [Re: Kristi McKeever]  
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BIG JIM MERRILEES Offline
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Edinburgh, Scotland. UK
Hey Kirsti. OK Different direction. Try another language. Country music, if this forum is anything to go by, is all about telling a story and precise understandable lyrics that spell it out. Just to alter that viewpoint listen to a song in another language. You might not understand what the story is about or understand the words but you will certainly appreciate the sounds fitting the music.

Try Chanson D'Amour by Manhatten Transfer. (French)

It is a good example of this.

#584854 - 02/09/08 10:54 PM Re: Lyric to Music exercise [Re: BIG JIM MERRILEES]  
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Michele Howlett Offline
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Michele Howlett  Offline
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Hunter Valley NSW Australia
Hi you all, I have been busy with work. I have a lot of posts to read to catch up, so I will try and read them later when the kids are asleep.

All the numbers, I am a little lost. I have never played an instrument, and I will hopefully learn them one day. My cute hubby came home the other day and surprised me with a keyboard, I love it. Its one of those ones that show you which finger to use and where to put them on the keyboard. I am only starting to learn how to play amazing grace.

Anyway I love what use are doing, I will hopefully get a look at your posts tonight, and if I have any questions, I will ask you all later, if thats okay.


#584855 - 02/09/08 11:00 PM Re: Lyric to Music exercise [Re: BIG JIM MERRILEES]  
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BIG JIM MERRILEES Offline
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Edinburgh, Scotland. UK
Originally Posted by BIG JIM MERRILEES
Thanks Jack. For anyone not clear about chords and their structure...


here is a link which shows the main chords on a PIANO and a demo as to how they sound.
http://www.8notes.com/piano_chord_chart/

Here is a link about chords on a GUITAR and how they sound.
http://www.8notes.com/guitar_chord_chart/

Hi Michele. I've reposted this for you. Click on the links to show chord tables. They are well worth looking at and printing off a copy. It will help with the numbers and chord patterns.
Useful tools for any songwriter.




#584887 - 02/10/08 01:26 AM Re: Lyric to Music exercise [Re: BIG JIM MERRILEES]  
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Kristi McKeever Offline
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Kristi McKeever  Offline
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USA
Originally Posted by BIG JIM MERRILEES
Hey Kirsti. OK Different direction. Try another language. Country music, if this forum is anything to go by, is all about telling a story and precise understandable lyrics that spell it out. Just to alter that viewpoint listen to a song in another language. You might not understand what the story is about or understand the words but you will certainly appreciate the sounds fitting the music.

Try Chanson D'Amour by Manhatten Transfer. (French)
It is a good example of this.


Thanks Jim. That is clearer to me. Yeah, I know exactly what you’re saying. True. Very true.

Awareness of this kind of thing just makes the songs we write that much better!


A musician must make music, an artist must paint, a poet must write,
if he is to be ultimately at peace with himself. What a man can be,
he must be. -- Abraham Maslow, American Psychologist
#584908 - 02/10/08 04:00 AM Re: Lyric to Music exercise [Re: Kristi McKeever]  
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Michele Howlett Offline
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Michele Howlett  Offline
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Hunter Valley NSW Australia
Jim,

I will get a chance later, to have a look, and I will get on to my hubby to get our printer working, so I can print off a copy.

Thanks a bunch.
Cool.

Michele


#584979 - 02/10/08 12:45 PM Re: Lyric to Music exercise [Re: Michele Howlett]  
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Mark Schuessler Offline
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Mark Schuessler  Offline
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Posts: 672
Lockport, NY, USA
Great thread!

Jack, thanks for sharing your insights into the songwriting process. I especially appreciate the chord theory lesson, and your explanation of how the different chords can be used in songwriting. Lyle, your examples are a BIG help. It gives me something concrete to drive home the point. (And with my thick skull, concrete is EXACTLY what is needed!)

Jim, I'm a fellow Yes fan from way back. I saw them in concert 30 years ago...and again about five years ago. They are still amazing musicians and Jon Anderson still sounds great. The thing I always loved about Yes is how their music is made up of such interesting and complex parts from all of the instruments. There is always something satifying going on, musically.

Mark


"In theory, theory and practice are the same. In practice, they are not."
http://www.soundclick.com/bands/pagemusic.cfm?bandID=756982
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