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Is chord progression necessary?

Chords, scales, harmony, melody, etc.

Moderator: Moderators (Main)

KVRian
 
1140 posts since 10 Oct, 2004

Postby JumpingJackFlash; Sat May 17, 2014 6:59 am Re: Is chord progression necessary?

Tricky-Loops wrote:Now I still don't understand why V-I is a progression and V-ii is a retrogression... :help:


Ok, I didn't really mean to hijack the thread here...

In functional harmony, chords can be grouped into classifications; the first classification or "dominant" group being V and vii, both of which "progress" to the tonic, I.

Next comes a second classification or "predominant" group which includes ii and IV. These "progress" to the first classification above.

And so on.

If the chords move the other way, from first classification (dominant) to second classification (predominant) for example, then we call that a retrogression.

A classification can also be skipped over (for example moving directly from a second classification (predominant) to the tonic, as with IV-I), and this is called an elision.
Unfamiliar words can be looked up in my Glossary of musical terms.
Also check out my Introduction to Music Theory.
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KVRAF
 
8848 posts since 12 Mar, 2012, from South Bavaria - near the alps... :-)

Postby Tricky-Loops; Sat May 17, 2014 7:08 am Re: Is chord progression necessary?

Sounds logical now, thanks for the explanation...

I'm really thinking about making "retrogressive trance" instead of "progressive trance"... :hyper: :wheee:
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KVRAF
 
3135 posts since 11 Aug, 2006, from Austin, TX

Postby bmrzycki; Sat May 17, 2014 7:35 am Re: Is chord progression necessary?

Juljan wrote:Hey guys,
hope you can help me:

I looked up some house music remakes on YouTube, for example Sebastian Ingrosso-Reload. I realized that in a lot of them there is only one melody line, so really no chord progression but I am not sure if this is what the 'big' producers also do.

So question is: Is chord progression necessary?

If yes, how to put chords under the melody so that you don't have something like a new melody or chord progression which 'destroys' the actual melody?

If no, how to make the melody as a big sound. Only layering in different octaves or are there more tricks how to handle it?

I really hope, you can help me. :wink:

Thank you
Julian
Hi Julian! A better understanding of music theory will help you understand how to make those huge, emotional leads. Chord progression is a way to describe movement in the harmony section of a song. The interplay between harmony and melody can be very powerful. It's definitely a case of the sum being greater than the parts.

There are two books I read that helped me to understand some of this better:
http://www.amazon.com/Theory-Computer-M ... B00B7RFAY6
http://www.amazon.com/Composition-Compu ... B00B7RFBWW

And a new book since I read those has come out, sounds interesting -- I may need to pick up a copy:
http://www.amazon.com/Harmony-Computer- ... B00B7RF9HE

I hope this helps. :)
-Brian
KVRian
 
670 posts since 1 Dec, 2004

Postby MadBrain; Sun May 18, 2014 8:02 am Re: Is chord progression necessary?

Juljan wrote:Hey guys,
hope you can help me:

I looked up some house music remakes on YouTube, for example Sebastian Ingrosso-Reload. I realized that in a lot of them there is only one melody line, so really no chord progression but I am not sure if this is what the 'big' producers also do.

So question is: Is chord progression necessary?

If yes, how to put chords under the melody so that you don't have something like a new melody or chord progresion which 'destroys' the actual melody?

If no, how to make the melody as a big sound. Only layering in differnt octaves or are there more tricks how to handle it?

I really hope, you can help me. :wink:

Thank you
Julian


A classic trick is to try chords that contain the melody notes (especially the accented ones). For instance, if you're in A minor, the chords you use the most often are probably going to be Am, C, Dm, Em, E, F, G. If you have a "C" in the melody, that means the most interesting chords are probably going to be Am (A,C,E), C (C,E,G) and F (F,A,C).

If your melody goes A,B,C,D,E, then your accented notes are probably going to be A and E (but this depends on the rhythm). You can find a chord that fits both (Am), which is more static, but you can also pick Dm or F for the chord on A, and you can also pick C, Em or E for the chord on E. Often I pick the chords that make the nicest bassline (a coherent bassline sounds really good and is something you want to have).
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KVRAF
 
3202 posts since 20 Sep, 2005

Postby codec_spurt; Tue May 27, 2014 5:51 pm Re: Is chord progression necessary?

Juljan wrote:Hey guys,
hope you can help me:

I looked up some house music remakes on YouTube, for example Sebastian Ingrosso-Reload. I realized that in a lot of them there is only one melody line, so really no chord progression but I am not sure if this is what the 'big' producers also do.

So question is: Is chord progression necessary?

If yes, how to put chords under the melody so that you don't have something like a new melody or chord progresion which 'destroys' the actual melody?

If no, how to make the melody as a big sound. Only layering in differnt octaves or are there more tricks how to handle it?

I really hope, you can help me. :wink:

Thank you
Julian



You don't need chord progression. But to do without it, you will need to be better than the rest. At least have the modal tonal one two up and down kind of thing going on.

When you can do it all on just one chord - then you will be the master. But any old hack can do it on two when they know what they are doing. Most need at least three. Many more need four. Anyone can do it with five. Some even need six.

R.E.M. in 'Don't go back to Rockville' use about seven. Then again, the monster feeds back on itself and you really need to know what you are doing with it all to do that.

Seven chords. ~f**k, there aren't any more than that. You might as well start at the beginning. Three is more than enough for most of us.

House music/Techno plays on the tones within the notes - it is not about the modes or the scales, it is inter-tonal.
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"One never loves enough" - R.D. Laing
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KVRist
 
84 posts since 9 Nov, 2005

Postby metrognome; Tue Jun 03, 2014 7:18 am Re: Is chord progression necessary?

Hoozda Band
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fmr
KVRAF
 
2757 posts since 16 Mar, 2003, from Porto - Portugal

Postby fmr; Tue Jun 03, 2014 7:40 am Re: Is chord progression necessary?

Let me add some salt to this plate ;-)

You don't need any chord progression AT ALL. What you need a is a good melody, a good bass line, and perhaps a counter-melody.

Put these three in motion, and "voilà": you'll have all your chords in place, and didn't even need to think about them (in the second half of the XVII century and beginning o the XVIII century, lots of great music were done with just melody and bass, with figures for the keyboardist to "fill the holes" improvising over these - but even that, not always. Vivaldi, for example, was one that even considered the figures completely dispensable, and even sent manuscripts to his editor without figures, because, in his thought, a competent musician should know what was asked to do, without needing figures).

Chords and chord progressions are highly overrated. It's amazing how people are still tied to a reality that's now like 400 years old. In the beginning of the XXth century, no composer was thinking that way already. This is indeed a "retrogression" :hihi:
Fernando (FMR)
KVRian
 
1140 posts since 10 Oct, 2004

Postby JumpingJackFlash; Tue Jun 03, 2014 8:29 am Re: Is chord progression necessary?

fmr wrote:You don't need any chord progression AT ALL. What you need a is a good melody, a good bass line, and perhaps a counter-melody.

Put these three in motion, and "voilà": you'll have all your chords in place, and didn't even need to think about them ...


This is a bit simplistic and rather misleading.
One can have a melody, bass and any number of other parts that are "good" by themselves, but it doesn't necessarily follow that the sum of those parts will also be "good".

If you want your music to sound "good", you will need at least some idea of how the parts work together - that is, you will need to have some awareness of harmony. It may not be the primary concern by any means, but it's certainly worth thinking about.
Unfamiliar words can be looked up in my Glossary of musical terms.
Also check out my Introduction to Music Theory.
User avatar
fmr
KVRAF
 
2757 posts since 16 Mar, 2003, from Porto - Portugal

Postby fmr; Tue Jun 03, 2014 9:34 am Re: Is chord progression necessary?

JumpingJackFlash wrote:
fmr wrote:You don't need any chord progression AT ALL. What you need a is a good melody, a good bass line, and perhaps a counter-melody.

Put these three in motion, and "voilà": you'll have all your chords in place, and didn't even need to think about them ...


This is a bit simplistic and rather misleading.
One can have a melody, bass and any number of other parts that are "good" by themselves, but it doesn't necessarily follow that the sum of those parts will also be "good".

If you want your music to sound "good", you will need at least some idea of how the parts work together - that is, you will need to have some awareness of harmony. It may not be the primary concern by any means, but it's certainly worth thinking about.

Hi JJP. I know I was being simplistic - I started by saying "let me add some salt to this plate" ;-)

Point is: if someone cannot create three independent parts that go well together, it's unlikely that he/she can do something out of "chord pregressions". People have to stop thinking about "chords", and start thinking about "music". Chord progressions are not music, the same way that technique exercizes to learn the piano are not music, and verbs, articles and adverbs are not literature. If people do not understand this, that's because they don't know what music is.

And I insist - musicians in the end of the XIX century and beginnning of the XX century were already way over this thinking.
Fernando (FMR)
KVRAF
 
9262 posts since 20 Oct, 2007

Postby jancivil; Tue Jun 03, 2014 9:52 am Re: Is chord progression necessary?

JumpingJackFlash wrote:If you want your music to sound "good", you will need at least some idea of how the parts work together - that is, you will need to have some awareness of harmony. It may not be the primary concern by any means, but it's certainly worth thinking about.
And this dismisses all music that does not deal in harmony. I think Fernando is not dismissing awareness, either. The question addressed is 'chord progression', now it's 'awareness of harmony'.
You know that per the history of western music harmony began as part-writing.

Not one of my oeuvre begins with 'this harmony, so these parts' and my awareness of chords is not it, it only matters when it does, lot of the time it just doesn't matter; this means I can make things work per se. Fernando is right, by the twentieth century people had moved on from being boxed in by that conception. This opinion [how parts work together = chords] resides in a preference, but in fact a lot of music is made outside of the conventions of harmony. When you find a vertical phenomenon in your linear writing that doesn't fit any naming out of harmonic practice, what do you do, question it or discard it just through that? So it smacks of dogma and it may be misleading.

People overrate chords. I was about to say that this focus on chords as an impetus is for many a convenience in order to avoid melody; it takes a genuine spark to create melody, OTOH you can grab a chord progression like a template and fill in parts as a game, paint-by-numbers, we see that frequently.
KVRAF
 
6023 posts since 21 Nov, 2000, from Southern California
 

Postby Uncle E; Tue Jun 03, 2014 11:16 am Re: Is chord progression necessary?

fmr wrote:You don't need any chord progression AT ALL. What you need a is a good melody, a good bass line, and perhaps a counter-melody.


That's still harmonic progression, which ultimately is the same thing as chord progression. ;)
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KVRAF
 
3668 posts since 3 Jul, 2012

Postby V0RT3X; Tue Jun 03, 2014 11:21 am Re: Is chord progression necessary?

:shrug: You could use two chords and write a long drone. It's not very musical, but it can sound pretty neat..
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fmr
KVRAF
 
2757 posts since 16 Mar, 2003, from Porto - Portugal

Postby fmr; Wed Jun 04, 2014 12:35 am Re: Is chord progression necessary?

Uncle E wrote:
fmr wrote:You don't need any chord progression AT ALL. What you need a is a good melody, a good bass line, and perhaps a counter-melody.


That's still harmonic progression, which ultimately is the same thing as chord progression. ;)

Or not :hihi:

It depends on what kind of paradigm you are following. You may even have chords now and then, but not necessarily "chord progressions" in the functional harmony sense of the word. Or you can have aggregates of fourths. Or you can have what was called by the late romantics "progressive tonality", where you have so many chromatic development that you no longer devise one tonality.

Or you can have a strictly modal piece, where chords are carefully avoided, in order to not destroy the mode.

Music is an immesne universe, and it is a shame that people reduce it to "chords". It's like snitching to the world from the hole of a locker and take what you see as the whole reality.
Fernando (FMR)
KVRAF
 
9262 posts since 20 Oct, 2007

Postby jancivil; Wed Jun 04, 2014 6:22 am Re: Is chord progression necessary?

Uncle E wrote:
fmr wrote:You don't need any chord progression AT ALL. What you need a is a good melody, a good bass line, and perhaps a counter-melody.


That's still harmonic progression, which ultimately is the same thing as chord progression. ;)
No, you can totally have all three of these components and no chord at all. And 'harmonic progression' might not be chord progression or something you can define as chords.
KVRian
 
1140 posts since 10 Oct, 2004

Postby JumpingJackFlash; Wed Jun 04, 2014 6:45 am Re: Is chord progression necessary?

jancivil wrote:
Uncle E wrote:
fmr wrote:You don't need any chord progression AT ALL. What you need a is a good melody, a good bass line, and perhaps a counter-melody.


That's still harmonic progression, which ultimately is the same thing as chord progression. ;)
No, you can totally have all three of these components and no chord at all. And 'harmonic progression' might not be chord progression or something you can define as chords.


Literally, a "chord" is simply a group of notes (most would say it needs at least three, although some argue it could be two) sounding at the same time. In the West, we traditionally make chords from stacking thirds, but that is not the only way to build them. There is certainly a lot more to "chords" than just G7, C minor and so on. And there is a lot more to "harmony" than the conventions of Western functional tonality.

There's also an interesting debate here about counterpoint vs. harmony, or the horizontal vs. the vertical. It varies with time and geography whether a culture values one over the other (and to what extent), but there is no objectively "right" and "wrong" way, and just because an approach is more recent does not make it "better". Just because a culture has no concept of "chords" and/or "harmony" does not necessarily mean those things are not there. In most cases, whenever there is more than one note sounding at the same time, both vertical and horizontal elements are going to be present to one degree or another, although one might only be a by-product of the other.
Unfamiliar words can be looked up in my Glossary of musical terms.
Also check out my Introduction to Music Theory.
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