#1
No, I don't want someone to do it for me...I want to know what to look up, what theory to learn etc.

Basically, I've made up a riff (with Am pentatonic). How do I figure out what chords to play underneath it? Can I simply just play any chords in that key? Obviously some things will still sound better than others.

Just looking for some guidance. Thanks!
#2
hey!

Ig you have written a riff in Am, then you are going to have to work with what you have written. Its not going to be magic, you do have to follow the rules of the key. But think more so in chord structure. Are you hangning on to some cords longer, changing the riff Key and engage a different feeling.

keep that stuff in mind!

good luck
#3
Quote by swarley
No, I don't want someone to do it for me...I want to know what to look up, what theory to learn etc.

Basically, I've made up a riff (with Am pentatonic). How do I figure out what chords to play underneath it? Can I simply just play any chords in that key? Obviously some things will still sound better than others.

Just looking for some guidance. Thanks!


Basically, as long as the root note is in the A minor Pentatonic scale, it will "work". You need to decide if it sounds good or not though, which is personal choice.
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#4
Great question.

Learn what scale or predonimant scale your riff seems to come from. From that Identify the Key - (To do that you learn the major scale and how to write it out correctly in every possible key, and then do so with Minor, and how to add Harmonic Minor variations to that situation, for example so you recognize a V in a minor key when it should be present) Then from that Identify the chords, both triads and entensions that are derived from that key, and then identify which, if any notes from your riff are not diatonic, and come up with an individualized solution for those, use them as passing tones to create tension or resolution, or define what passing chords they may suggest.

Best,

Sean
Last edited by Sean0913 at Jun 25, 2010,
#5
Analyze your riff according to the major which that A minor is derived from: C major.

Now, pick out what degrees you are playing. The notes you emphasize are the most important.

Once you know what degrees you are playing, you can construct the chords by picking chords that use the same degrees as the once your riff uses.

Quick example: Say your riff is using the 5, b5, the 6, and the 1 (typical minor blues) in your A minor riff.

This means you could use..
- C5
- C6
- Cb5 (dissonant)
- A5
- Ab2 (really dissonant sounding)
- G4

Those aren't really chords, just simple harmonic intervals, but I thought that would help you understand it more easily.
#6
Please don't take this as a rule, it's usually a cliche and the kind of thing that can work great when you break it, but as you're learning it might be a good easy way to try things out. Also, I don't know your riff, so it might just not work.

Take your riff apart and check which notes you emphasize, usually they're the notes you play first on the bar. Make that note a chord, keeping it in the key of Am, and see how that works out. So if you play 3 on the D string, then play F. Take a common pop song, say Dammit from Blink, and you'll hear that working.
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#7
Quote by swarley
No, I don't want someone to do it for me...I want to know what to look up, what theory to learn etc.

Basically, I've made up a riff (with Am pentatonic). How do I figure out what chords to play underneath it? Can I simply just play any chords in that key? Obviously some things will still sound better than others.

Just looking for some guidance. Thanks!


LISTEN, and decide what chords to use based on how they sound.

Fancy words aside, thats how you decide what notes/chords to use.


If you really want to get into theory, thats great. Prepare by learning to read music, and by building up a repertoire of music. Then get yourself a theory book and/or take a class.

Ultimately, regardless of how many fancy words you know, it still comes down to the same thing..... .listening.
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Last edited by GuitarMunky at Jun 25, 2010,
#8
Quote by GuitarMunky
LISTEN, and decide what chords to use based on how they sound.

Fancy words aside, thats how you decide what notes/chords to use.
+1

If it's a simple riff (reasonably likely if it only uses notes from the minor pent) then they'll be lots of different chord progression could be played under it. Each progression will give the riff a different feel.

A good starting point would be to try various chord progressions in A minor. If you want to be a bit more focussed then for each part of the riff which you think should have a separate chord, find the key note(s) (the ones that sound the most important) and use a chord which contains that note(s).

But remember that there are no real rules and there is definitely not one correct progression to use, just try lots of different ones and pick the one you think sounds best.