#1
Hi all, newbie question, really need your help, totally confused...

I want to become more melodical while creating and playing, and feel I'm missing a bridge somewhere.

Which chords stick well together? I mean famous circle says what should follow what, but I need some more - when can you use 7th, 9th, major/minor/sus/dominant chord etc?

When playing a chord progression, it "clicks" somewhere in brain that all this is really series of separate melody lines, but how these melodies combine the best together?

Let me give you an example - from the Foo Fighters song,

e--x--x--0..
B--3--2--0..
G--3--2--1..
D--2--1--2..
A--3--2--2..
E--x--x--0..

Sounds amazing, melody lines on different strings just move a semitone each chord, is this the solution? Or am I still missing something?

Going further - in the band, instruments often play very different melodies, but these sound great together...

Another example - just had Alicia Keys "No One" song on TV (live performance for World Football Champ) - funk guitar was playing one(!!) chord the whole song (seemed like 7th chord) - sounded great, how is this possible?? I noticed that lot of bands do similar thing - like one "core"(??) chord covers all the melody and the whole chords progression...

I don't want to trouble you a lot with examples, but I think you get the question - what really makes the song melodical and works like "surprise" for the ears?

Many many thanks in advance for your comments!!
#2
wow do you really expect one simple answer for this? why do you think people study music for ever?
#4
Hi,

Thanks for comments, i agree. I don't expect single answer, but rather some tips to help with the orientation in the topic... What is the most important parts to look for when analysing the song pieces? When studying the theory? In fact I've studied couple of books and courses already. Before I study it to death and oversee simple things

What should I mostly focus on when listening and analysic music pieces? Can you also advise some good practical tips - and books on the music theory?

Couple of things that i understood already:
. melody: like speech or dialog - avoid big pitch "jumps" in the melody, rather use notes near to each other. use phrasing with shorter "questions" and "answers", rather than long monolooog
. time: to get the piece "grooving", it's good idea to "drum" the rhythm you like and convert it directly to the melody - i.e. use it for the notes length
... and so on.

But what I don't get yet - how can chord progressions sound more melodical? How chords interact with each other? How can an instrument play one chord all the song long, when others play progression? You can say - it's simply the same notes in the chord and progression, but which notes are then most effective and heard? 3rd? 5th? other? what is the most important stuff anyways? theory books I have studied don't tell this unfortunately...

Best regards
#5
How do different chords interact? They just do.

Which notes are most effective? None.

We're not just going to write music for you geez...
Oh yeah.

Quote by hildesaw
A minor is the saddest of all keys.

EDIT: D minor is the saddest of all keys.
#7
Quote by vinetu
Which chords stick well together? I mean famous circle says what should follow what, but I need some more - when can you use 7th, 9th, major/minor/sus/dominant chord etc?


for this, you need to study your theory. honestly, this is a difficult subject to discuss in a forum (not because it's hard to understand, but because it can get rather lengthy). if you don't know a lot of your theory yet, start learning the basics. once you get the basics down, you can go into chords. once you really understand chords, it'll click.

Quote by vinetu
When playing a chord progression, it "clicks" somewhere in brain that all this is really series of separate melody lines, but how these melodies combine the best together?

Let me give you an example - from the Foo Fighters song,

e--x--x--0..
B--3--2--0..
G--3--2--1..
D--2--1--2..
A--3--2--2..
E--x--x--0..

Sounds amazing, melody lines on different strings just move a semitone each chord, is this the solution? Or am I still missing something?


well, it's not as simple as sliding your shape down one fret -- but you're actually on the right track. as you learn theory, you'll probably come across something called voice leading. it's basically how the independent voices resolve. again, once you get into theory you'll be better geared to properly understand it.

Quote by vinetu
Going further - in the band, instruments often play very different melodies, but these sound great together...

Another example - just had Alicia Keys "No One" song on TV (live performance for World Football Champ) - funk guitar was playing one(!!) chord the whole song (seemed like 7th chord) - sounded great, how is this possible?? I noticed that lot of bands do similar thing - like one "core"(??) chord covers all the melody and the whole chords progression...


this is more of a matter of orchestration. theory is a guideline for the content of music, but orchestration is how to distribute it among instruments. i wouldn't worry about orchestration just yet - you'll get into it eventually.

Quote by vinetu
I don't want to trouble you a lot with examples, but I think you get the question - what really makes the song melodical and works like "surprise" for the ears?


well, to be frank, you do.

three things:
1) listen - easy. listen to music. but instead of just listening passively, really pay attention to what's going on. i guarantee that you're going to come across a song where you hear something and you're going to think "jeez, how the hell did they do that? that's awesome!" so the next thing to do is:

2) analyze - now that you know something you want to learn, you have to analyze it - break it down so that you can understand exactly what it is you're hearing. hopefully, you'll know some theory, and it will be easier for you to take what you're hearing and apply it in any key or even a mode (for your sake, please don't get into modes until you really, REALLY know the major scale front and back). once you can apply what you've learned, the last step is:

3) create - write the music!
Anfangen ist leicht, Beharren eine Kunst.
#8
Quote by AeolianWolf
for this, you need to study your theory. honestly, this is a difficult subject to discuss in a forum (not because it's hard to understand, but because it can get rather lengthy). if you don't know a lot of your theory yet, start learning the basics. once you get the basics down, you can go into chords. once you really understand chords, it'll click.


Thanks, I found most answers in UG Musician talk FAQ links and Guide, I was really missing pieces in chords theory... You guys have talent to explain things in a simple way
#9
Quote by vinetu
Thanks, I found most answers in UG Musician talk FAQ links and Guide, I was really missing pieces in chords theory... You guys have talent to explain things in a simple way
Mention "modes" to see the talented explanations in a simple way, hehehe
#10
Quote by evolucian
Mention "modes" to see the talented explanations in a simple way, hehehe





modes are when you play a scale, but start on a different note

no, (extremely long post explaining)

yea, and you could play E phrygian over C major

again, no. (even longer post explaining)

no, (long rant that makes no sense and is wrong)

*flame war commences*
#11
wasn't this about tritones??!

ahh well tritones, in my opinion, can make or break you.. approaches and more importantly resolutions.
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#12
I also recommend for learning how to play with more melody that you should definitely work on your ear training and begin transcribing like a fiend because then you will be able to eventually hear melodies in your head and be able to translate them to the guitar. The purpose of music theory is to learn it so well that you can forget it and just play. That is the ultimate goal of most musicians. I guarantee you that most professional guitarists aren't thinking "Oh man I gotta switch to the melodic minor scale at this chord progression and the Lydian flat 7 scale at this chord progression," they just hear the changes and their playing shifts accordingly.
#13
Quote by seymour_jackson
wasn't this about tritones??!

ahh well tritones, in my opinion, can make or break you.. approaches and more importantly resolutions.


Yeah, sort of What hits me really in the song is the smooth chord movement, you can hear such stuff often in live concerts. At some point of learning i got bored of simple progressions, like I-IV-vi-V etc - played so, they have too strict, direct changes. Smooth, melodic progression backs your own melody better, no?
Now going through theory in UG articles, I found how to expand the progression: firstly substitutions, this already brought me lots of nice ideas; also using inversions (not so convincing yet in sounding to me); and on the long term study - voice leading to understand why and to which direction (this looks like huge topic really...)
#14
inversions are much more convincing in piano music then in guitar music because of the closeness of the notes...I write music on piano and then solo over stuff on guitar

voice leading really has to do with the harmony underneath it. The melody is most important which is almost equal as the importantance of the bass line..

classical voice leading is quite challenging to master while following the 'rules' formed and broken by Bach
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Last edited by seymour_jackson at Jun 17, 2010,
#15
Quote by seymour_jackson
inversions are much more convincing in piano music then in guitar music because of the closeness of the notes...I write music on piano and then solo over stuff on guitar

wow.. nice info imho!


Quote by seymour_jackson
voice leading really has to do with the harmony underneath it. The melody is most important which is almost equal as the important of the bass line..

classical voice leading is quite challenging to master while following the 'rules' formed and broken by Bach

there is a link in UG FAQ to species counterpoint site, i went through some basic examples - sounds like the terrible stuff we used to sing in school chorus. i get the idea, but this would take years in university
#16
There's an awful lot that can be learned from the common practice era, ie, the "rules" that Bach established regarding tendency notes, voice leading, etc. To be honest, a lot of it is very dull and does sound like the boring stuff you'd hear in high school chorus, but it still may be worth your while to look into. Any music theory class you take in an academic setting 99.999% of the time will cover the basics of tonal harmony which are "rules" regarding why certain harmonic and melodic notions "work". Some of these rules are sort of common sense and work to prevent simply, bad and disharmony in part writing, while others seem incredibly arbitrary and annoying. However, they are not written in stone, simply a scholastic means of explaining the phenomenon and art that we all know as music. But how can we assign such rigorous requirements, rules, and guidelines for music? Seems kinda lame to place such limitations on an art form that is really unlimited, right?

As music and composition techniques developed, so did these "rules". As composers experimented with new ideas, what became acceptable changed until the list of "rules and regulations" eventually became solely suggestions to be taken into consideration while many artists said to hell with them entirely (this, in of itself is a pretty round-about way of explaining it, but hopefully you get the idea),. But in the end, its all what sounds right to you, and what sounds right to your ear will change as you develop as a player, listener, composer and overall musician. I know that when I first started playing jazz standards, I was completely at a loss at some of the sounds I was hearing, the chord changes in particular. Very much of it sounded wrong, and did not sound like it "worked" to my ear, and the reason why was inexperience. Over time, as a I became more familiar with the jazz idiom, my ear got used to hearing different chord changes, for example the millions of different ways to voice and play a ii - V - i, modal playing, and all the rest.

Choosing the right chord, whether major, minor, augmented, diminished, and extra chord tones ("color tones") beyond the basic triad (root, third and fifth) ie, 7th, 9th, etc are very much influenced by the melody, which is very much influenced the tendencies of the tones that are chosen. For instance, the 7th degree of a major scale (the leading tone) typically resolves up by half-step to the tonic, or root note. Concepts like these are very handy at explaining why things "work", and how certain dissonances resolve themselves.

In the grand scheme of things, theory obviously operates in parallel with actual practice, playing and composing. You can learn all that you want about the "textbook" side of music and such, but none if it is worth a damn if you've never heard what it sounds like, and at the same time, very often the same "textbook" stuff can help you understand precisely what it is that your ears are hearing. If you're worried that there is a lot that you don't understand, don't worry. It will all get better with time and experience if you continue to challenge yourself. I play and study at the university level and I am still learning new things every day I spend time with the guitar, there is still, and always will be more to learn!
"don't you know there ain't no devil? Its just god when he's drunk"
-tom waits
#17
Quote by teenagemisfit2
In the grand scheme of things, theory obviously operates in parallel with actual practice, playing and composing. You can learn all that you want about the "textbook" side of music and such, but none if it is worth a damn if you've never heard what it sounds like, and at the same time, very often the same "textbook" stuff can help you understand precisely what it is that your ears are hearing.


+1,000. absolutely. alan belkin once said "analysis can be useful, but it is no substitute for actual practice."

generally speaking:

analysis + practice > just practice > just analysis
Anfangen ist leicht, Beharren eine Kunst.
#18
Quote by teenagemisfit2
...But in the end, its all what sounds right to you, and what sounds right to your ear will change as you develop...

Exactly!!

Quote by teenagemisfit2
Choosing the right chord, whether major, minor, augmented, diminished, and extra chord tones ("color tones") beyond the basic triad (root, third and fifth) ie, 7th, 9th, etc are very much influenced by the melody, which is very much influenced the tendencies of the tones that are chosen. For instance, the 7th degree of a major scale (the leading tone) typically resolves up by half-step to the tonic, or root note. Concepts like these are very handy at explaining why things "work", and how certain dissonances resolve themselves.

While reading your post over again - it's all amazing info.
I'm in the phase when things I know about music and the stuff what I hear bands playing differs a lot - and I want to understand the directions / concepts / you call it, to find how different melody lines work together. I experiment for long hours to get which things sound good together, but I think understanding right concepts would make this much more effective. I'm keen to learn, but also want to learn efficiently - would really appreciate an advise on which theory topics to focus!
#20
Quote by vinetu
I'm keen to learn, but also want to learn efficiently - would really appreciate an advise on which theory topics to focus!



^That said, Google is your best friend. There are lots of articles on this site, albeit some better than others that attempt to explain elementary concepts of theory. Think about picking up a book at your local bookstore, Amazon. There are loads of good texts out there, all geared towards different audiences. Some are written specifically with the guitar player in mind while others cater to all musicians by simply explaining the musical concepts at hand. My advice would be, start with the basics...the harmonized major scale, the function of dominant and subdominate triads, etc. It all seems very very overwhelming and no doubt it is since the material is pretty much endless and there is much to learn! But the key is, don't make it too hard on yourself. Not everything will come easily, but don't let it dog you. Break things down into manageable chunks and I think you will be surprised at how much you absorb without having to pull any teeth.

Cheers.
"don't you know there ain't no devil? Its just god when he's drunk"
-tom waits