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#500136 - 05/05/07 09:06 AM Chord Prgressions Verse vs. Chorus  
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Kevin Emmrich Offline
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Crozet, VA
I have been reading about the different songwriting forms AABA, ABABCB, etc. and all that makes sense to me. However, I really haven't found an article that gives concrete suggestions on how to change the chorus musically to stay within the context of the song but be different enough to be exciting.

I just put some examples down and ask for ideas. I don't have a song in mind for this, it is just a general question. I'll stay within the key of C to make it easier (I know the chorus, or bridge, can modulate).

Verse example 1: C F G7 C (I, IV, V7, I) --- Chorus ?

Verse example 2: C F Am G7 C (I, IV, vi, V7, I) --- Chorus ?

Verse example 3: C Am G C (I, vi, V, I ) --- Chorus ?

I know there are infinite variations on potential verse progressions and chorus constructions, but I'll stop here to keep it simple.

Note: I was going to post in the songwriting forum, but decided to go here instead.

Thanks in advance,

Kevin


"It's supposed to be hard. If it wasn't hard, everyone would do it. The 'hard' is what makes it great."
Kevin @ bandcamp: Crows Say Vee-Eh (and Kevin @ FAWM 2017)
#500154 - 05/05/07 10:52 AM Re: Chord Prgressions Verse vs. Chorus [Re: Kevin Emmrich]  
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Bill Robinson Offline
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The most simple progression for country music is to go up a fourth to the chorus.
Verse C F G7 (i iv v7) Chorus F G7 C Or F C G7
Thats a three chord song. Bridge . I sometime go to Am D7 G or G7 (VI II7 V)

This is a really simple chord progression. But I'm a simple song kind of guy, LOL


Bill
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#500181 - 05/05/07 12:00 PM Re: Chord Prgressions Verse vs. Chorus [Re: Bill Robinson]  
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Ray E. Strode Online content
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There is no exact way to write a song. To understand it better I suggest you go to a Book Store and find a song book of popular songs that has the sheet music and chords and practice doing the songs. As you advance it will get easier to do.


Ray E. Strode
#500194 - 05/05/07 12:42 PM Re: Chord Prgressions Verse vs. Chorus [Re: Ray E. Strode]  
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Kevin Emmrich Offline
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Ray,

I thought this would be a decent discussion since I really hadn't seen it discussed in any of the songwriting books that I have reviewed. I agree that studying songs is a great way to go, but I was looking for some general ideas and then I could see how these "general ideas" get played out in the real world.

Kevin


"It's supposed to be hard. If it wasn't hard, everyone would do it. The 'hard' is what makes it great."
Kevin @ bandcamp: Crows Say Vee-Eh (and Kevin @ FAWM 2017)
#500196 - 05/05/07 12:49 PM Re: Chord Prgressions Verse vs. Chorus [Re: Kevin Emmrich]  
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Hummingbird Offline
Hummingbird  Offline

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Victoria, B.C. Canada
Originally Posted by Kevin Emmrich
I have been reading about the different songwriting forms AABA, ABABCB, etc. and all that makes sense to me. However, I really haven't found an article that gives concrete suggestions on how to change the chorus musically to stay within the context of the song but be different enough to be exciting.

I just put some examples down and ask for ideas. I don't have a song in mind for this, it is just a general question. I'll stay within the key of C to make it easier (I know the chorus, or bridge, can modulate).

Verse example 1: C F G7 C (I, IV, V7, I) --- Chorus ?

Verse example 2: C F Am G7 C (I, IV, vi, V7, I) --- Chorus ?

Verse example 3: C Am G C (I, vi, V, I ) --- Chorus ?

I know there are infinite variations on potential verse progressions and chorus constructions, but I'll stop here to keep it simple.

Note: I was going to post in the songwriting forum, but decided to go here instead.

Thanks in advance,

Kevin


Verse example 1: C F G7 C (I, IV, V7, I) ---
Chorus - F C G, F C G

Verse example 2: C F Am G7 C (I, IV, vi, V7, I) ---
(don't resolve, lift into the chorus)
Chorus - AM F, AM G,
(repeat melody to diff chord) C F, DM F (resolve) AM

Verse example 3: C Am G C (I, vi, V, I ) ---
Chorus - F AM, F G, (repeat) F AM, F (resolve) C

Give that a try and see what happens :-)


Vikki Flawith: Songwriter/Composer, Singer/Voice Teacher

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#500272 - 05/05/07 04:46 PM Re: Chord Prgressions Verse vs. Chorus [Re: Kevin Emmrich]  
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Joy Boy Offline
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I think the suggestion to look at the progressions in music you admire. Different genres have very different practices.

But generally, as the good examples people here have posted show, the most important thing for a chorus progression to do is to resolve back to the beginning of the next verse.

The easiest way to do that is to end the chorus on the V7 chord of the root chord of the key you're in. If you're in C, like your progression, the V7 would be a G7. (G is the fifth note in the C scale, that's why the chord built on it is called a V.)

So if you end the chorus in a G7, the change back to the C chord starting the next verse will be smooth.

It's also pretty common for a chorus to begin on the IV chord. In C, that would be an F. This is all a very basic, generalized "rule of thumb," but if you look at the progressions the other folks listed, you'll see that with some variation, it's pretty much what they're saying.

#500355 - 05/05/07 10:03 PM Re: Chord Prgressions Verse vs. Chorus [Re: Kevin Emmrich]  
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Vondelle Offline
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Hi Kevin,

This is a good observation. Some of what you are asking is built into the discussions of song structure in songwriting books. People are right, Study songs you like. How do the melodies change from the verses to the chorus?
The analogy of how God creates a human, or, how a human is formed (for those who don't believe in God), is a good one. Early in the development of the fetus, the heart is one of the first noticeable parts. Consider the heart of your song, the melody. Your melody on those verse chords will tell you what the chords should be for the chorus. What is the melody that you have put to the verses? Does it stay low? Are the intervals of the notes close together? To make the chorus stand out, move to a higher note, lifting it from the verses. That is the most common change. You can also make the chorus go down, less common. It's fine to start a song from a riff, chord progression, but at some point, you must work on a melody.

You can also change rhythm or how the words sit on the music. If the verse is wordy then make your chorus elongated using shorter words.

If you work on the melody in these ways, consciously changing the melody for the chorus will tell you what chords to use.

Another way to evaluate your chords is by your lyrics. Are your lyrics sad/happy/angry? Is there a particular phrase that calls for an Am in the key of C?

A book I am just starting to go through is "Melody, How To Write Great Tunes" by Rikky Rooksby. I have barely scratched the surface but what I have read is well written and it comes with a cd to listen to the examples in the book.

Have fun,

Vondelle





#501223 - 05/08/07 01:51 AM Re: Chord Prgressions Verse vs. Chorus [Re: Vondelle]  
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coder Offline
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Don't know if I'm repeating what others have said, but I think you should develop the verse progression to include extensions, arpeggios, and a melody with lyrics. Then the chorus will come to you at some point. It might be just me, but I have to go way beyond using triads to get inspired.

#501233 - 05/08/07 02:43 AM Re: Chord Prgressions Verse vs. Chorus [Re: coder]  
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cliff turner Offline
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Outside the chords you use , you can also vary the timing / speed of the chord changes .

1-2 chords / bar to 2-4 chords / bar.

For a good web site talking about chords etc check this out.

http://chordmaps.com/ I've down loaded the entire contents of this site as it chrashed a little while ago and I couldn't access it ....:(

Cliff



Last edited by cliff turner; 05/08/07 02:44 AM.

How many song writers does it take to change a light bulb ?

Change !!!! WTF ....

I Ain't changing nuthin ....
#502733 - 05/12/07 09:09 AM Re: Chord Prgressions Verse vs. Chorus [Re: cliff turner]  
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Kevin Emmrich Offline
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Thanks to everyone for their replies - It looks like I have some work to do!

Kevin


"It's supposed to be hard. If it wasn't hard, everyone would do it. The 'hard' is what makes it great."
Kevin @ bandcamp: Crows Say Vee-Eh (and Kevin @ FAWM 2017)
#502881 - 05/12/07 09:30 PM Re: Chord Prgressions Verse vs. Chorus [Re: Kevin Emmrich]  
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Lynman Bacolor Offline
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Kevin

Some addendum

There is no rule. Bend the rules. Make it your own rule.

Lynman

#503522 - 05/15/07 10:55 AM Re: Chord Prgressions Verse vs. Chorus [Re: Lynman Bacolor]  
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Mike Dunbar Offline
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All good responses and ideas.

There is one rule...make it good.

Changing chords, lifting the melody, using different rhythms, these things all make the chorus "different." Some lyrics seem to beg that the chorus is different, some lyrics have choruses that are better served by having the same or similar musical treatment.

I think of "Tulsa Time" sung by Eric Clapton or Don Williams as a song with a very similar musical treatment of the chorus that really works. "Irene Goodnight" is another example. "Almost Persuaded," by the late, great Glen Sutton is another. So is "Old Time Rock and Roll," "Shake, Rattle and Roll," and many others of the all time classics. The reason is...it works.

If it doesn't work, don't do it. If you're too close to the song to know if it works or not, get your team to help you decide.

All the Best,
Mike


You've got to know your limitations. I don't know what your limitations are. I found out what mine were when I was twelve. I found out that there weren't too many limitations, if I did it my way. -Johnny Cash

It's only music.
-niteshift

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#504820 - 05/19/07 02:56 AM Re: Chord Prgressions Verse vs. Chorus [Re: Mike Dunbar]  
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I notice some popular acts from seeing some of their books seem to play using a lot of triads with their guitar.

I have noticed that with acts like Pink Floyd.
Though occasionally there is something more complex.
Especially with a 12 string.

I have hit on to a Country type song sometimes without even realizing it. Or so I was told.
I was trying to play folk.
I normally try to play rock.
But to some folk sounds the same as Country for some reason.
I know little sheet music and that was quite awhile ago.
But it seems that Country seems to work more in the movement and rythmn of the chords than the chords themselves.

I'm not much into Country unless it is mixed with Rock.
But I like some contemporary Country.
The chords don't seem that hard.
It seems to be the rythmn and movements though.

I tried playing some of your notes, verse, chorus on keyboard.

Is there a certain rule with a given genre?

Matt

#517224 - 06/29/07 06:16 PM Re: Chord Prgressions Verse vs. Chorus [Re: mattbanx]  
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Charlann Shepherd Offline
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Charlann Shepherd  Offline
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I'm bumping this up because I have the same question as Matt. Are there certain chord progressions that are more common in certain genres?

Charlann

#518028 - 07/01/07 10:55 PM Re: Chord Prgressions Verse vs. Chorus [Re: Charlann Shepherd]  
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Mike Dunbar Offline
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Hey Charlann,

There aren't exact rules, but there are trends in certain genres, and these trends sometimes become "standard" progressions.

Blues is a great example. the 12 bar blues in C would be:

C F C C
F F C C
G F C C

with maybe some minor changes.

A lot of pop music is based on Blues, so the 12 bar, 8 bar, and 16 bar standard progressions find their way into Country, Rock and Jazz.

Then other progressions become standardized;

Southern Rock:

D C G G
D C G G

is used in "Sweet Home Alabama" and as part of hundreds of other Southern Rock tunes.

Doo Wop music:

C Am Dm G
C Am Dm G

James Brown's type of funk would stay on one chord for a long time, then maybe do a bridge in another chord, then back to the first.

Anyone have more examples?

Mike



You've got to know your limitations. I don't know what your limitations are. I found out what mine were when I was twelve. I found out that there weren't too many limitations, if I did it my way. -Johnny Cash

It's only music.
-niteshift

Mike Dunbar Music

#518313 - 07/02/07 08:17 PM Re: Chord Prgressions Verse vs. Chorus [Re: Mike Dunbar]  
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Charlann Shepherd Offline
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Hey Mike!

Thank you so much! That is exactly what I needed to know!

Now - I just need to figure out how to put strumming into Finale Songwriter!

Charlann

#666692 - 11/10/08 12:52 PM Re: Chord Prgressions Verse vs. Chorus [Re: Kevin Emmrich]  
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I'm gonna take a shot I hope this helps,
Start with a image or feeling.
thats your chorus.
now right the verses using the same progression but strech the lyrics accros maybe two of the chords of the verse in the progressions.
now go back and color the important words in the verse with special chords.
But never speed up the tempo of the words greater than the tempo in the chorus
and let the highest note in the song occure in the chorus.

#692093 - 02/13/09 02:28 PM Re: Chord Prgressions Verse vs. Chorus [Re: Deacon Makell]  
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Jim Offerman Offline
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I'm in the "just make it good" camp on this. Some times, what the song needs is a single chord progression all the way through (I have a few of those) and other times it needs the chorus and verse to be completely different (I have a few of those as well). The question should always be: what does the song need?

I.e. don't put in a bridge, just because a lot of great songs happen to have a bridge. Put in a bridge when the song needs it!


Jim Offerman ~ inspirational pop music
blog - follow me twitter - buy 'Start Here' on bandcamp!
#707962 - 04/04/09 03:32 PM Re: Chord Prgressions Verse vs. Chorus [Re: Jim Offerman]  
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Barry Crannell Offline
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The first place I try to make the change is in the chorus syllable count. At the very least, it makes you do something different with the timing when you feel that it's necessary. (for my taste, I need the change-up).

Some choruses only need to take you to another interval within the same tonic chord as the verse, but it's still able to lift it to a different kind of feel. I tend to lean toward the IV chord, but I'm trying to get away from that a little, just to get a different sound within my own repertoire.

Cheers,

Barry



"the older I get, the better I was"
#710052 - 04/12/09 07:01 AM Re: Chord Prgressions Verse vs. Chorus [Re: Barry Crannell]  
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JulesBloeth Offline
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Kevin, you can take the chorus anywhere you want it to go melodically; you can even change the key in the chorus. The thing is, in the end, typically by the last two lines, you have to seque smoothly back into the verse chord structure.

I don't love the key of C, but in the examples you gave, try going to Em, F, Cadd9, G... which would take you back to your verse chord of C. Experiment. Play an A2 on the 5th fret - sounds similar to an Em, yet adds a little something. Become a chord junkie. I don't know of any literature that can point you in the right direction here; I wish I did. Just have fun with it, and make sure that by the end of your chorus, you take the melody and chords back home.

#714006 - 04/24/09 06:01 PM Re: Chord Prgressions Verse vs. Chorus [Re: JulesBloeth]  
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I write around bass and often what follows with the other instruments seems more pronounced to me.

I have been looking at harmony vocals more.

I try to combine what I started doing, such as post punk/synth pop type stuff and have attempted three part harmony vocals with it.
It seems to be a territory between acts like REM and Big Star.

I wanted to build beyond thin arrangements and have more to work with in my influences before I came to the internet.
I have that certain set of songs I have been working on.

Anthemic rock, Beach Boys, Simon & Garfunkel, and The Everly Brothers has seemed to open up some new horizons.
Not just with harmonies, but the overall song structure.

#714015 - 04/24/09 06:38 PM Re: Chord Prgressions Verse vs. Chorus [Re: mattbanx]  
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Joe Wrabek Online content
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Me with El Foot, mostly. As far as what progressions to use, I'd offer two Proverbs of Wisdom from two writers--and caution that you should not pay attention to them entirely. It was Harlan Howard (quoted a lot by Loretta Lynn) who said country music was "three chords and the truth." And Woody Guthrie: "If you're using more than two chords, you're showing off."

I write mostly country music, and I do tend to go for the simple--mostly because it makes it easy for a band that hasn't heard it before to follow along. The band I played with over in Eastern oregon got into the habit of referring to one of my songs as "the one with the A minor in it," because I do tend to complain that anything with more than two syllables is "fruity" and belongs in jazz.

As far as the chorus being different from the verses, no, it does not have to be. A lot of great songs--including the ones Mike cited--have chorus music that's identical to the verses. You'll find that a lot in country music, folk music, and rock 'n' roll. And in blues, the progression almost never changes.

I decide whether the chorus has to start differently mostly on a basis of whether I want the audience to sing along. If I do, I will often try to have the chorus start on the IVth or Vth (F or G if you're playing in C)--but then I'll keep the rest of the chorus music as close as possible to what's in the verses. That's one of the rules of writing congregational music--hymns that church "audiences" are going to sing along with: you want to make it easy for them to follow (and therefore as familiar as possible), but you also want to signal them when the chorus is coming, so they'll be ready.

As far as the specific progressions you mentioned, in the first, one definite option is to keep the chorus chords same as the verses. Like in the old standard "Honky Tonk Angel," or my "Dirty Deeds We Done to Sheep." Alternatively, when I musicated Betty Holt's "Our Own Little Stimulus Plan," which had that progression in the verses, I had the chorus go to a IV/I/V/I (repeated twice) instead.

For the second one, any time I've got a verse ending on a V-7th, I tend to start the chorus on the IV. Just feels right. There are obviously other ways to go. But again, I try to keep the rest of the progression as much the same as I can. You can get around that "unresolved" V-7th by throwing in a final line at the end that resolves to the I.

And for the third--do you really need those A minors?--that is, I believe, the same progression Ian Tyson used in "Four Strong Winds." And he used the same progression in the chorus.

You may no3w return to your regularly-scheduled thread.

Joe

_____________

Foot loose. --Pinocchio

#717370 - 05/05/09 07:39 AM Re: Chord Prgressions Verse vs. Chorus [Re: Joe Wrabek]  
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Lots of great advice here. You should never find yourself in a situation where you have the verses and then must decide on a chorus, you should plan ahead. It's about how the whole connects through the bits, so if you want unsettlement in the verses you could let them avoid the root, and release the root in the chorus, and vice versa. For me harmonization is all about interpretation of what the song is about, and working with triggering emotions through tension/resolve etc. Embellished chords are great, but also slash chords with different bass notes in them will do wonders.

Todays A-team in Nashville, with Brent Mason up front, is very knowledgeable about the great guitarists and even jazz/fusion guys like Larry Carlton etc., so the simple stuff is not always that simple anymore. Those guys just makes things seem so simple by world class technique and fantastic rhythm chops!

Also a thing not to be forgotten is the polyphonic approach, where the bass is playing one note of a triad, the singer is doing another, and perhaps the guitarist a third - creating harmony together! Also a great way to avoid the usual suspects of block chording through a song, creating air and great mixes.


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#717485 - 05/05/09 01:56 PM Re: Chord Prgressions Verse vs. Chorus [Re: Kolstad]  
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Hi Cliff has got it right Chord content per measure,
can and should speed up your melody phrasing or slow it depending what you have to contrast with.

It's an idea to modulate into another key, but not for every song.
And also to save a few magic chords for your chorus not used prveiously.

I always work out my chorus from the title or hook and then write the verses to suit my chorus.
If you have not got a great chorus tyhe song is not worth the effort.

Best wishes.


Have been working at E.M.I. Hayes U.K. in many departments starting as Tea Boy and worked through to A and R, New Artist Management,
Co Writing , with Boy Bands, and some solo acts
I have always played in bands,

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#717487 - 05/05/09 01:59 PM Re: Chord Prgressions Verse vs. Chorus [Re: Split Level]  
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With respect Joe,

things have moved on from Harland Howerd and Woody.

Todays top writers are using modulations and bass inversions

Cant live in the past forever.However the rest of what you say is spot on

Nice One


Have been working at E.M.I. Hayes U.K. in many departments starting as Tea Boy and worked through to A and R, New Artist Management,
Co Writing , with Boy Bands, and some solo acts
I have always played in bands,

SPLIT LEVEL
psuedonymn of course to many thieves and robbers on the web these days
#718608 - 05/08/09 07:36 PM Re: Chord Prgressions Verse vs. Chorus [Re: Split Level]  
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Modulations in Country music go back to the days of Eddie Arnold. Complexity in Country is a pendulum swing. For example, "Lovesick Blues" written by Cliff Friend and Irving Mills, and recorded by Hank Williams, has six chords in it. "Crazy" by Willie Nelson, recorded by Patsy Cline, also has six chords in it, more when folks throw in diminisheds. In the eighties, Country started doing rather complex modulations and chord structures. "I'll Still Be Loving You" by Mary Ann Kennedy and Pam Rose, recorded by Restless Heart, is as modern in it's chord structures as any pop song today...more modern than most. In the nineties, Wynonna's "No One Else on Earth" by Jill Colluci, Stewart Harris and Sam Lorber, is funky with it's changes with flat sevens, flat threes, flat sixes. Her "Only Love" by Marcus Hummon and Roger Murrah...well...you tell me what key it's in...I don't know. It's the only song outside of Coltrane that I decided should be charted with letters instead of numbers, and it was a country hit in the early nineties.

Yes, Harlan Howard wrote with three chords. Some of the pop and hip hop folks write with one. It's not a matter of living in the past, it's a matter of what sub-genre we write for. A lot of country today, like in the fifties, sixties, seventies, eighties and nineties, use complex chord changes. A lot also does not. It's the same in rock, blues, pop, jazz, you name it. There are veins of complexity, rootsiness, sophistication, simplicity, lushness, and bare bones.


You've got to know your limitations. I don't know what your limitations are. I found out what mine were when I was twelve. I found out that there weren't too many limitations, if I did it my way. -Johnny Cash

It's only music.
-niteshift

Mike Dunbar Music

#723127 - 05/23/09 03:48 PM Re: Chord Prgressions Verse vs. Chorus [Re: Mike Dunbar]  
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Yes, tools doeasn't mean anything. No one will be complementing you for the hammer you use - it's all about the house you build.. so simple/ complex doesn't matter, if it does the job!

It's a good rule to keep it as simple as possibly possible.. :-)


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#723133 - 05/23/09 04:04 PM Re: Chord Prgressions Verse vs. Chorus [Re: Kolstad]  
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Hey Magne,

Very good. In music, it's really all about the "whole." Only other bass players will listen only to the bass player.

I would expound on your rule. Yes, keep it as simple as possible...within the genre. If you are writing bebop or fusion jazz, you don't want to write all half notes. If you are writing dixieland jazz it won't be a solo instrumental. The trick is, to keep it in a range. "Less is more" is gone with the Bauhaus school of architecture. The truth is: less is less, more is more, too much is too much, and not enough is not enough.

Mike


You've got to know your limitations. I don't know what your limitations are. I found out what mine were when I was twelve. I found out that there weren't too many limitations, if I did it my way. -Johnny Cash

It's only music.
-niteshift

Mike Dunbar Music

#723149 - 05/23/09 05:04 PM Re: Chord Prgressions Verse vs. Chorus [Re: Mike Dunbar]  
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Joe Wrabek Online content
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Sounds like an application of the old programmers' rule: To really fix a computer, you need the right hammer.

joe

#723193 - 05/23/09 08:25 PM Re: Chord Prgressions Verse vs. Chorus [Re: Joe Wrabek]  
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John Lawrence Schick Offline
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My opinion is stated in my signature.

Best, John

#723213 - 05/23/09 09:59 PM Re: Chord Prgressions Verse vs. Chorus [Re: John Lawrence Schick]  
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After learning a ton of music theory, well, I stopped using it. I wouldn't rely on anything in a concrete-rule way. My suggestion would be to just write what you feel sounds best. If you get stuck in a song, then pull out CDs and books for theories and examples.

Brian

#724555 - 05/28/09 02:59 PM Re: Chord Prgressions Verse vs. Chorus [Re: Mike Dunbar]  
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Kolstad Offline
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Originally Posted by Mike Dunbar
Hey Magne,

Very good. In music, it's really all about the "whole." Only other bass players will listen only to the bass player.

I would expound on your rule. Yes, keep it as simple as possible...within the genre. If you are writing bebop or fusion jazz, you don't want to write all half notes. If you are writing dixieland jazz it won't be a solo instrumental. The trick is, to keep it in a range. "Less is more" is gone with the Bauhaus school of architecture. The truth is: less is less, more is more, too much is too much, and not enough is not enough.

Mike


Actually, that's one thing I've learned in science. The best theories are the most simple ones! There's nothing as practical as a simple theory, they say (I agree) :-)

As a songwriter who writes, records and produce everything of my own stuff (except for vocals once in a while), it is really satisfying to lay down a root-fifth bass line once in a while. As a guitar player it is also good practice of humble disciplin, and an excersise in channeling energy through simple structure and focus more on things like technique.


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#724662 - 05/28/09 09:07 PM Re: Chord Prgressions Verse vs. Chorus [Re: Kolstad]  
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Magne,

I'm glad you mentioned that old "one-five-one-five" bassline, I invented that years ago, should have gotten a copyright on it I guess, I hear people pirating it all the time smile

Actually I think more of the rhythmic expression of the bass than the melodic expression. I think of the bass as almost a rhythm instrument. Yes, the root-fifth is simple, the trick is to make people want to dance when they hear it. Also, concentrate on the cut off of the note as much as the attack. The little spaces between the notes often open up a "window" for the snare drum or for a rhythm guitar strum.

As an old drummer buddy of mine, the late Tom "The Hitman" Cerone, used to say, "Nobody ever danced to a ****ing lead guitar."


You've got to know your limitations. I don't know what your limitations are. I found out what mine were when I was twelve. I found out that there weren't too many limitations, if I did it my way. -Johnny Cash

It's only music.
-niteshift

Mike Dunbar Music

#724683 - 05/28/09 10:26 PM Re: Chord Prgressions Verse vs. Chorus [Re: Mike Dunbar]  
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Quote
Verse example 1: C F G7 C (I, IV, V7, I) --- Chorus ?

Verse example 2: C F Am G7 C (I, IV, vi, V7, I) --- Chorus ?

Verse example 3: C Am G C (I, vi, V, I ) --- Chorus ?

Here's what struck me, sitting in the office trying to imagine those chords:

Example 1: Go to D minor (or E minor)

Example 2: Go to G

Example 3: Go to D then to G

#724698 - 05/28/09 11:35 PM Re: Chord Prgressions Verse vs. Chorus [Re: Mark Kaufman]  
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Mark, you're thinking too much about this stuff. Step...away...from the...theory book, smile

I read a theory book one time that insisted the four chord was really a substitute for the two minor. That had me putting two minors in parentheses for months: IV(ii) which is really 8 I guess. IV(ii)=VIII=IIX. But if the four substitutes for a two minor, how about a four minor? Simple! That would be a substitute for a six-flat. iv=VIb. Of course, they're not equal, only substitutes. After that I started drinking a lot of Jack Daniels, getting real high, and playing the Blues. I think there was a causal relationship there. I was substituting.


You've got to know your limitations. I don't know what your limitations are. I found out what mine were when I was twelve. I found out that there weren't too many limitations, if I did it my way. -Johnny Cash

It's only music.
-niteshift

Mike Dunbar Music

#724700 - 05/28/09 11:44 PM Re: Chord Prgressions Verse vs. Chorus [Re: Mike Dunbar]  
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I'm thinking about theory too much? grin Haha, I was just feeling for another chorus direction in me daft haid.

I took music theory in high school, and I think I knew more about it then than I do now. Now I do what I used to do before that theory class...I plod on from one chord to the next, in search of cool sounds.

Pass me that there bottle now, willya?

#724724 - 05/29/09 01:38 AM Re: Chord Prgressions Verse vs. Chorus [Re: Mark Kaufman]  
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Mike Dunbar Offline
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Here ya go, Mark!

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You've got to know your limitations. I don't know what your limitations are. I found out what mine were when I was twelve. I found out that there weren't too many limitations, if I did it my way. -Johnny Cash

It's only music.
-niteshift

Mike Dunbar Music

#728027 - 06/08/09 09:12 PM Re: Chord Prgressions Verse vs. Chorus [Re: Mike Dunbar]  
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Mark,

That's what I was getting at. I am all for doing what feels right, but sometimes it seems like a good idea to do what's common until it is second nature. Then as you develop songs -- do what feels right.

Sort of like "you got to learn the rules before you can really break them"

Kevin


"It's supposed to be hard. If it wasn't hard, everyone would do it. The 'hard' is what makes it great."
Kevin @ bandcamp: Crows Say Vee-Eh (and Kevin @ FAWM 2017)
#728031 - 06/08/09 09:24 PM Re: Chord Prgressions Verse vs. Chorus [Re: Kevin Emmrich]  
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Mike Dunbar Offline
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Kevin, that's my feeling exactly. You learn, then you let go. I tell students before a performance that they should spend a lot of time slowly getting everything as perfect, technically, as possible. Then for about a week for the performance they should forget all that technical stuff and just pracitce playing emotionally.


You've got to know your limitations. I don't know what your limitations are. I found out what mine were when I was twelve. I found out that there weren't too many limitations, if I did it my way. -Johnny Cash

It's only music.
-niteshift

Mike Dunbar Music

#728054 - 06/08/09 09:58 PM Re: Chord Prgressions Verse vs. Chorus [Re: Charlann Shepherd]  
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Originally Posted by Charlann Shepherd
I'm bumping this up because I have the same question as Matt. Are there certain chord progressions that are more common in certain genres?

Charlann


Hi Charlann,

I'm with Mike - "just make it sound good".

However, if you want to start with the chords that occur more often in a given key, you can choose the chords that are "closely related" (chords built on the degrees of the Major diatonic scales).

In the key of "C", they would be:
Tonic: C
Relative Minor of Tonic: Am
Subdominant: F
Relative minor of subdominant: Dm
Dominant: G
Relative minor of dominant: Em
And also the chord built on the "leading tone": B diminished (can think of this as G7 for now).

In other words; in the key of "C" the most common chords would be: C, F, G, Am, Dm, Em, and B diminished (think G7).

Key of "F" would be: F, Bb, C, Dm, Gm, Am, and E diminished (think C7)

Key of "G" would be: G, C, D, Em, Am, Bm, and F# diminished (think D7)

Etc...

If you choose one of the three "keys" above and play around with the closest related chords to that key, you'll get a feel for common chords within a certain key. Experiment with just those chords for an exercise.

I hope I explained it in an understandable way. This should get you started. Next week we'll cover "modulation". Don't be late for your lesson! laugh

Best, John
cool

#729979 - 06/15/09 05:14 PM Re: Chord Prgressions Verse vs. Chorus [Re: John Lawrence Schick]  
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I have no training in music theory what-so-ever. Nada...Zip...Cero. I do not read music appreciably. Once you get beyond the tonic (1), subdominant (4), dominant (5), and their relative minors, music theory to me is like a drunk man trying to learn to speak Russian while at the same time learning to write it with the Japanese alphabet. It's just too complex for my comprehension.

However, I write pieces with very complex chord patterns and variations. I love the sound of diminished 7ths, augmenteds and 9ths with a flatted fifth. Also, minor 7ths with a flatted 13th are very pleasing to my ear. But, I do not know the theory of why those things work the way they do. However, I innately know how and when to use them. In my mind, I have a syntax for the arrangements. I could never explain it anybody such that they would grasp it.

Kevin asked about the variances from verse to chorus. The suggestions from everyone sound fine to me. I think part of the "magic" to making a song appealing is the manner in which we transition fron one chord to another. As an example, in the key of "C", if my first chord of the chorus is Am, how do I get there? Do I simply go straight to it at the appropriate time? Do I use an e7th as a transitional chord? Do I use an Em? Do I use a G7th followed quickly by an A-FlatDim7th? Do I use a G with a B bass? Do I get there by way of a D-Dim7th followed quickly by an F-Dim7th? There are other avenues for that transition. I just mentioned a few that came quickly to mind. I think it is these tansitional chords that add so much to the character of a song and make for an interesting switch from verse to chorus, or the opposite. I guess you could say it's the nuances of the changes that color the music.

Just my thoughts. By the way Kevin, your playing is getting so much better. Your songs are always a pleasure to listen to.

Alan

#730629 - 06/18/09 06:01 AM Re: Chord Prgressions Verse vs. Chorus [Re: Kevin Emmrich]  
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Back From Zero Offline
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I'm new to the board but I liked the question so I thought I'd give it a go.

Technically, there's no right or wrong way to write a song. Personally, I feel the song should go where you want to take it and not so much a formula. For example, in stead of thinking theory, think to yourself, am I hearing a vocal line after a certain part, or am I hearing a specific musical part instead.

When I listen to The Beatles for example, I can't help but to think that a lot of the time Lennon thought the song out vocally as opposed to any other way, as oppose to say writing the guita part first and then writing lyrics over the guitar.

Also it depends on whether or not you're hearing other instruments in the mix. Is there a violin, or a piano, or strings, etc...I always ask myself if I were a horn or a violin, what would I be saying here in or after this part?

Just a thought.

Austin

Last edited by Back From Zero; 06/18/09 06:02 AM.
#730712 - 06/18/09 01:57 PM Re: Chord Prgressions Verse vs. Chorus [Re: Back From Zero]  
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It's a good thought, Austin, welcome.

Some writers write with a "vision" of the song. They know where the trombone is going to fill. Other writers sort of let the song take them where it will. And others still, will write many versions of the same song. Each technique can produce good songs and each technique can produce songs that don't quite make it.

As a technical musician, I have spent a lot of time learning music theory, analyzing genres, and developing skill. But, thanks to some older musicians who beat it into my skull, I've tried to focus on just making the darn thing sound good.


You've got to know your limitations. I don't know what your limitations are. I found out what mine were when I was twelve. I found out that there weren't too many limitations, if I did it my way. -Johnny Cash

It's only music.
-niteshift

Mike Dunbar Music

#941907 - 01/23/12 02:58 AM Re: Chord Prgressions Verse vs. Chorus [Re: Kevin Emmrich]  
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If you are in C, the dominant seventh is G7.

But, a common device for a bridge is to modulate to C7, which is the dominant of F, so modulate the bridge to F from there, and to get back to C, use a G7, or Dm7 - G7 to cadence back to C. In harmony, a "cadence" progression is one the establishes a key, which is the dominant, or the supertonic followed by the dominant. So, if you were in C and played C7 ( the V of F ) or Gm7 - C7 ( ii - V of F ) you'd be modulating to the key of F, and the cadence chords cause the ear to anticipate the key change. A good example of this was done by Willie Nelson on his classic song, "Crazy".

That being said, I don't write songs based on "chords", which is a bottom up approach. I, or I try to use a top down approach, i.e., I write a melody, and the melody, if it is a good one, articulates the harmony. However, sometimes, if I'm stumped for a bridge melody, which is a new melody, in truth, sometimes relying on devices can help you get there. So, build up a repetoire of devices and a good way to do that to study how others have done it, so learning a bunch of hit songs of the past is a good thing to do and will help you write better songs. No, I'm not implying infringing, remember, chords are like water, they are a physical resource that no one owns, which is why they can't be copyrighted.

Last edited by pathardy; 01/23/12 09:44 PM.
#941911 - 01/23/12 03:20 AM Re: Chord Prgressions Verse vs. Chorus [Re: Pat Hardy]  
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Posts: 3,710
MI
Another great thread. I've got nothing to add to it, but I sure enjoyed reading it.


Write from your heart, not what you think others want to hear.

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#941956 - 01/23/12 01:50 PM Re: Chord Prgressions Verse vs. Chorus [Re: Kevin Emmrich]  
Joined: Jul 2011
Posts: 224
Aaron Corley Offline
Serious Contributor
Aaron Corley  Offline
Serious Contributor

Joined: Jul 2011
Posts: 224
West Valley City, UT
Both Songwriting for Dummies and Composing for Dummies have models for chord progressions in different genres of music. You can find other examples in books on theory and improvisation. Most of what I have read is for the piano, since I don't play any other instruments, but I'm sure the theory carries over. Good luck!


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