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Is my (Basic) Understanding of Chords/ Scales & Progressions 'Correct'

Chords, scales, harmony, melody, etc.

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Mike20
KVRian
 
620 posts since 18 Dec, 2010

Postby Mike20; Thu Jan 24, 2013 2:28 pm Is my (Basic) Understanding of Chords/ Scales & Progressions 'Correct'

Hey, so i've been taking piano lessons for around 4-5 months now and i'm digging in to theory a little bit, basically i am learning a lot about scales and i think i may have cracked the theory behind chords & progressions but i may not have,

To my understanding it works like this (text book that is)..

Say for example i am starting on D Major, which has D, E, F#, G, A, B, C# in it, so say for my first chord, i typically the major chord would be the 1st, 3rd and fifth (i think), but lets just say we are being creative and don't just want a typical sound,

I can choose any notes from above to make up my first D Major chord, so say i choose D, G, C#, D (for an example)

I then want to create a progression, i then go up to F# Major for my second chord,

F# Major contains F#, G#, A#, B, C#, D#, E,

I can then choose from these next notes for my next chord, depending on what fits best with the first

Then i can go on like this for my 3rd/4th whatever chords, obviously i can change it up, turn in to a minor chord or whatever but is that how it works?

You take the available notes from the relative scale (as i shown above) and create a chord from there?

I'm just thinking its a little too easy to have the knowledge of each major and minor scale notes, and be able to create all chords based on that knowledge?

Or am i very much limiting myself here/ just talking rubbish?

Thanks for any advice!!

Mike
Anybody can do anything if they set their mind to it
JumpingJackFlash
KVRian
 
1147 posts since 10 Oct, 2004

Postby JumpingJackFlash; Thu Jan 24, 2013 3:33 pm

Mike20 wrote:I can choose any notes from above to make up my first D Major chord, so say i choose D, G, C#, D (for an example)


No. This is not a "D Major" chord. The D major chord is made up of D, F# and A.
You can use other notes instead, but that's not a D major chord.

Mike20 wrote:I then want to create a progression, i then go up to F# Major for my second chord,
F# Major contains F#, G#, A#, B, C#, D#, E,
I can then choose from these next notes for my next chord, depending on what fits best with the first


No. Scales, keys and chords are all different things.
The chord of F# major is made up of F#, A# and C#.

It's true that this contains the 1st, 3rd and 5th notes of the scale of F# major, but that's not relevant here.

You should see that the chord of F# major does not fit nicely within the key of D major. This is because it contains an A#, whereas D major does not.

If you want to stay completely in the key of D major, you use only chords that are contained within that key. F# minor for example would work (F#, A, C#) because the A is natural, just like in D major. - You can use an F# minor chord and still be in the key of D major.

You don't always have to stick only to chords which are contained in the key, but it will be easier at first if you do so.

If you start moving to the scale of F# major, what you're effectively doing is changing the key, so it's no longer in D major. Music does this a lot, but again, if you're just starting out with theory, it will make it easier if you stick to one key for now.

Mike20 wrote:You take the available notes from the relative scale (as i shown above) and create a chord from there?


Not the relative scale, no.
You use the notes which are contained within your key. Sometimes this will result in a minor chord, sometimes a major chord (and sometimes diminished or augmented).

Check out my Introduction to Music Theory.
Unfamiliar words can be looked up in my Glossary of musical terms.
Also check out my Introduction to Music Theory.
BertKoor
KVRAF
 
8314 posts since 8 Mar, 2005, from Utrecht, Holland

Postby BertKoor; Thu Jan 24, 2013 3:42 pm

I can choose any notes from above to make up my first D Major chord, so say i choose D, G, C#, D
Those notes are part of the scale, but they do not form "the D Major chord", or even "a" major chord. In this case, the quarter interval between D and G will strongly suggest this is a G chord, because seen from G, the D is the fifth note.

Progressions are not changes of scale, they are just series of chords. Weather the notes of the chords are still in the same scale is not relevant, the scale comes second and follows whatever is dictated by harmony and what your intuition tells you should be natural. However straying from the beaten path will make it more interesting to listen to. Just don't over-do it if you want many people to like what you make.
We are the KVR collective. Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated. Image
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Mike20
KVRian
 
620 posts since 18 Dec, 2010

Postby Mike20; Thu Jan 24, 2013 3:51 pm

Thanks very much for the replies, I thought i was wrong to be honest, that 'theory' i seem to have came up with just seemed to easy and what not,

Also thanks for the info.. Huge help!

I understand what you are saying that the chord of say D Major is the 1st, 3rd and fifth, but what does puzzle me is the aspect of choosing chords to write your tracks with,

What i mean by this, i produce progressive trance/electroish kind of a mix, but anyway the point is that hundreds of tracks each week get released in these genres, if they all stuck to the textbook chord (1st, 3rd and fifth) then within a week they would probably start repeating,

Take for example this track, i have looked at the MIDI and there is around 6 notes per chord in this track..

@ 0.32 - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Aypj5qJP2k0

Is there actual theory behind these huge chord tracks or is it just a case of changing notes and seeing what sounds good?

Thanks again!

Mike
Anybody can do anything if they set their mind to it
BertKoor
KVRAF
 
8314 posts since 8 Mar, 2005, from Utrecht, Holland

Postby BertKoor; Thu Jan 24, 2013 4:33 pm

The lower notes function as bass notes. If these are repeated on higher octaves, you do not need to count them in. Some of the notes function as a melody and are not nescessarily part of the chord as such. It usually stops at 4 different notes to make a chord. Basic chords are often spiced up with added 7th, 9th or 11th, to add some flavour.

Has your piano teacher delved into construction of chords other than the 1-3-5 structure? Maybe now is the time for you to ask... There's so many extra flavours: 7 and 9 are very common, suspended and diminished come next.
We are the KVR collective. Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated. Image
My MusicCalc is back online!!
JumpingJackFlash
KVRian
 
1147 posts since 10 Oct, 2004

Postby JumpingJackFlash; Thu Jan 24, 2013 4:42 pm

Mike20 wrote:Is there actual theory behind these huge chord tracks or is it just a case of changing notes and seeing what sounds good?


A "chord" is just a group of notes sounding at the same time. There could 3 notes or 23! (Usually not 23 different notes though otherwise it would just be a mess!)

A "triad" is perhaps the most basic type of chord you can get; that is what we're talking about when we say D,F#,A for example. But in certain circumstances, you can form more complex "chords" by adding notes to that or even taking some away, and the basic underlying effect could essentially still be D major. (Although this is where chords get complicated).

But even with basic triads, don't let their apparent simplicity fool you. You can play hundreds of songs (and other music) using just three of them (I, IV and V in any major key).
Unfamiliar words can be looked up in my Glossary of musical terms.
Also check out my Introduction to Music Theory.
Mike20
KVRian
 
620 posts since 18 Dec, 2010

Postby Mike20; Thu Jan 24, 2013 4:45 pm

Thanks very much for the replies, they have just helped me a lot!

Going to revise this and ask my piano tutor some questions when i next see her,

Again, thank you!

Mike
Anybody can do anything if they set their mind to it
trewq
KVRist
 
179 posts since 23 Nov, 2008

Postby trewq; Mon Jan 28, 2013 12:43 pm

JumpingJackFlash wrote:
Mike20 wrote:Is there actual theory behind these huge chord tracks or is it just a case of changing notes and seeing what sounds good?


A "chord" is just a group of notes sounding at the same time. There could 3 notes or 23! (Usually not 23 different notes though otherwise it would just be a mess!)

A "triad" is perhaps the most basic type of chord you can get; that is what we're talking about when we say D,F#,A for example. But in certain circumstances, you can form more complex "chords" by adding notes to that or even taking some away, and the basic underlying effect could essentially still be D major. (Although this is where chords get complicated).

But even with basic triads, don't let their apparent simplicity fool you. You can play hundreds of songs (and other music) using just three of them (I, IV and V in any major key).


Good info! To expand a little:

These bigger chords may have notes from other scales of course, but to keep from sounding too abstract you might impose a restriction like: a combination of any two chords should not be more than 7 tones ( like 8, 9, or 10 tone scales). For example you can have BbM9 and FM9 chords combine to be the F Major scale, but adding a Fm69 chord will combine with the BbM9 to be D Bluesb6, and combine with FM9 to be D Blues9 (D Blues with a 9th added).

I'm not saying its a requirement, or even real theory. They can combine to be any part of a 7 tone scale or even 8 tones(but I've never tried that). Its enough sometimes just to know what you are doing.
Make music, not war.
VicDiesel
KVRAF
 
2782 posts since 2 Mar, 2003, from The only civilized county in Texas

Postby VicDiesel; Mon Jan 28, 2013 1:50 pm

Mike20 wrote:What i mean by this, i produce progressive trance/electroish kind of a mix, but anyway the point is that hundreds of tracks each week get released in these genres, if they all stuck to the textbook chord (1st, 3rd and fifth) then within a week they would probably start repeating,


*cough* *cough*

Take for example this track, i have looked at the MIDI and there is around 6 notes per chord in this track..


I doubt it. I sounds kinda jazzy, but I don't think it goes much further than your ordinary 3-note chord with one note added. If you study your plain old theory you'll start to recognize what the essential chord notes are (that's the 1-3-5) and which incidental notes have been added for flavour. And then you can start making your own flavours.

Victor.
Nanakai
KVRian
 
592 posts since 3 Oct, 2011

Postby Nanakai; Mon Jan 28, 2013 11:32 pm

Mike20 wrote:What i mean by this, i produce progressive trance/electroish kind of a mix, but anyway the point is that hundreds of tracks each week get released in these genres, if they all stuck to the textbook chord (1st, 3rd and fifth) then within a week they would probably start repeating,



Not just the hundreds of dance tracks per week, but rock ballads, epic metal anthems, folk songs, violin concertos, and sonatinas. Triads are everywhere.
wrench45us
KVRAF
 
2223 posts since 15 Jul, 2003

Postby wrench45us; Tue Jan 29, 2013 6:25 am

bear in mind more complex song structures can modulate to different keys momentarily or for more extended segment and there are common methods to delay resolution (backfilling) and lead back to the start (turnarounds)


I really don't know trance/electronica very well
but a lot of pop and folk music does rely on simple triads and the occasional dominant 7th chord (V7)
greater use of the dominant 7th comes with the infuence of blues

and jazz theory builds on triads as its foundation to use 4 note chords (maj7, min7, dom7 dim7, halfdim7) as its foundation and that gets extended to upper tension notes 9 11 13 usually on dom 7 chords

so while it all starts from a few simple triads, there are a lot of ways to build from there
and also bear in mind how chords are voiced and move one to another affects the sound and how some simple chords can function

it's a lifetime learning pursuit
tapper mike
KVRAF
 
3654 posts since 19 Jan, 2008

Postby tapper mike; Tue Jan 29, 2013 3:26 pm

OP

This is a conversation you should be having with your teacher. If you don't know ask if you don't understand ask in a way that can make you understand.

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