#1
...about what people think of those generic chord progressions, incorporating them into your songs, or hearing them in other songs. Em, C, G, D, for example. (Usually powerchords)

When I write music, I almost never use these. I don't think I would be able to live with myself if I used one. (That's an exaggeration :P). Instead, I try to use more unique (I'm not talking complex 7 or sus chords, although those help) progressions. Like unique combinations of maj and min chords with some complexity thrown in there.

HOWEVER, writing a good sounding song with generic progressions is SO easy, it feels as though I'm giving myself a disadvantage. But, then again, I don't want to compromise my "artistic integrity."

I feel similar when I hear the progressions in other songs. The Offspring, for example, LOVE to use these progressions. In fact, a lot of their songs are just these recycled over and over. I think that if I were the one writing those songs, I'd almost be ashamed of it, it's hard to explain.


Some examples of songs like these are Sum 41's "The Hell Song," or The Offspring's "The Kids Aren't Alright." I guess pop punk use these progressions most often.


Wow, long post. So, what do you guys think?
#5
yeah I know what you mean. but when I use my electruc guitar I usually play in drop D and I always come up with unique progressions with power chords. I change it up with acoustic.

alot of great bands use power chords. Tool, nirvana, APC, audioslave, RATM, SOAD. I could go on. as long as you change it up and be unique with your sound dont feel bad
#6
I feel the same way, which is why it's pretty difficult for me to come up with something. I hate how everything I come up when I mess around sounds like something else.
#7
The "powerchord" is just the root and the 5th of a chord. Usually other notes are implied through the singer and bass line. So don't instantly assume that powerchord = simple or easy. You can add the extra notes yourself.

Also, simple does not mean bad. Many bands have made a lot of money with those "simple" chords, they've just used them to make great songs.
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#8
as long as it sounds good.. who cares.. i mean yes as an artist you should always strive for originality.. but that doesn't mean a work has to be complex as possible. A chord progression is a chord progression. A you can do alot with just a simple G,C, D progression.. just like you can do alot with a G,D,B,Em,F#m, RSTUV progression.. (just lol at it please) its just the G,C,D progession has been used and overused for years.. which is maybe why you opt for the more non-traditional progressions. because you dont want to sound 'generic'..

totally understandable.. but simplicity in music doesn't dictate how generic you might sound.
#9
Quote by AlanHB
The "powerchord" is just the root and the 5th of a chord. Usually other notes are implied through the singer and bass line. So don't instantly assume that powerchord = simple or easy. You can add the extra notes yourself.


And in these songs and chord progression that I mentioned, the implied notes are derived so simply and easily, it's almost laughable.

EDIT: Also, I didn't say that powerchords = simple or easy; I just said that the progression is often in powerchord form. I mean, there are other songs where it uses the maj/min in the actual chords. In the powerchord form though, the derived notes always go back to that progression.

Quote by AlanHB

Also, simple does not mean bad. Many bands have made a lot of money with those "simple" chords, they've just used them to make great songs.


I agree with you there. One example is "Kids" by MGMT, incredibly simple, uses this progression, and is actually a catchy and enjoyable song. On the other hand, I feel like, I could just write a song using these chords and it'd be so easy, and it'd sound good. But that would seem like "cheating," and would be in no way fulfilling. But I could probably make money doing it.

And, Sonic, awesome video, haha. I'm glad I'm not the only one who thinks this.
Last edited by peacemaker898 at Sep 2, 2010,
#10
Quote by pepsi1187
as long as it sounds good.. who cares.. i mean yes as an artist you should always strive for originality.. but that doesn't mean a work has to be complex as possible. A chord progression is a chord progression. A you can do alot with just a simple G,C, D progression.. just like you can do alot with a G,D,B,Em,F#m, RSTUV progression.. (just lol at it please) its just the G,C,D progession has been used and overused for years.. which is maybe why you opt for the more non-traditional progressions. because you dont want to sound 'generic'..

totally understandable.. but simplicity in music doesn't dictate how generic you might sound.


"As long as it sounds good..." Yeah, I guess. But then there's the artist (very common, in fact) that will recycle the progression for so many of their songs.

EDIT: My previous post answers this, too. I could make a "4 chord" (using the Axis of Awesome name, thanks for the vid Sonic) song and it would sound good. Undoubtedly. It's so easy, it's ridiculous.
Last edited by peacemaker898 at Sep 2, 2010,
#11
Quote by peacemaker898
"As long as it sounds good..." Yeah, I guess. But then there's the artist (very common, in fact) that will recycle the progression for so many of their songs.


yeah, but that doesn't mean the songs will sound bad.. take for example the 12 bar blues progression.. All the early rockers used that progression, but that doesn't mean one can't be successful at recycling the same progression.

Say you come up with a chord progression(I'm not gonna say create, because I'm confident whatever you come up with has been done by somebody before).. and you take that progression and come up with say a strumming pattern for it on the guitar...

Now what you could do for say another song.. is take that same progression and just do it in a different key or something and come up with a different rhythm for it. something to consider... but nothing to be ashamed of. rhythm and chord progressions are two different things.. I would never copy and paste a rhythm to another song.. but I have used the same chord progression for other songs.
#12
Quote by peacemaker898
And in these songs and chord progression that I mentioned, the implied notes are derived so simply and easily, it's almost laughable.


I see. You mean "in key notes" = easy.
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#13
Quote by peacemaker898
"As long as it sounds good..." Yeah, I guess. But then there's the artist (very common, in fact) that will recycle the progression for so many of their songs.

EDIT: My previous post answers this, too. I could make a "4 chord" (using the Axis of Awesome name, thanks for the vid Sonic) song and it would sound good. Undoubtedly. It's so easy, it's ridiculous.


john lennon supposedly wrote the song help in 15 minutes.. that song has by no means any common chord progressions.. the whole thing is pretty complex .. but putting that together in 15 minutes must have been easy for him.
#14
Quote by pepsi1187
yeah, but that doesn't mean the songs will sound bad.. take for example the 12 bar blues progression.. All the early rockers used that progression, but that doesn't mean one can't be successful at recycling the same progression.


Of course it doesn't mean the song will sound bad, in fact, it will sound very good. Because it is very easy to make a song sound very good with that progression, one doesn't even need to really try. And it would probably make it much easier to become successful. In fact, most successful musicians (modern pop) recycle this progression very liberally.

Quote by pepsi1187

Say you come up with a chord progression(I'm not gonna say create, because I'm confident whatever you come up with has been done by somebody before).. and you take that progression and come up with say a strumming pattern for it on the guitar...

Now what you could do for say another song.. is take that same progression and just do it in a different key or something and come up with a different rhythm for it. something to consider... but nothing to be ashamed of. rhythm and chord progressions are two different things.. I would never copy and paste a rhythm to another song.. but I have used the same chord progression for other songs.


I do that as well, but it's not what I would be ashamed of. I would be more ashamed of using those four chords I posted in maybe just a different key, different tempo, different rhythm.

Quote by pepsi1187
john lennon supposedly wrote the song help in 15 minutes.. that song has by no means any common chord progressions.. the whole thing is pretty complex .. but putting that together in 15 minutes must have been easy for him.


Okaaay...? I'm sorry, I'm not really sure what point you're trying to make with this. :P

I may have been mistaken to say all generic chord progressions, because I'm mainly talking about the one in my first post transposed in oh so many ways. It's just so easy to make an emotional sound song that's really good with it.
Last edited by peacemaker898 at Sep 2, 2010,
#16
You could have just posted "I'm a ponce" and saved yourself a lot of trouble.

"writing a good sounding song with generic progressions is SO easy"

"I think that if I were the one writing those songs, I'd almost be ashamed of it"

"It's so easy, it's ridiculous."

Elitist bollocks like this makes me want to vomit. You're so far up your own arse you could lick your own tonsils.
Actually called Mark!

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Last edited by steven seagull at Sep 2, 2010,
#17
Quote by steven seagull
You could have just posted "I'm a ponce" and saved yourself a lot of trouble.

"writing a good sounding song with generic progressions is SO easy"

"I think that if I were the one writing those songs, I'd almost be ashamed of it"

"It's so easy, it's ridiculous."

Elitist bollocks like this makes me want to vomit. You're so far up your own arse you could lick your own tonsils.



This.

There was absolutely no point to this thread
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#18
Quote by peacemaker898
Exactly, I am talking primarily about pop/pop punk/modern music, after all.


And your music on the flipside, is the uniqueness which we all crave for.

Edit: And this elitist attitude, it will hinder you in the music industry, and every other industry where you have to work with other people.
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#19
Quote by steven seagull
You could have just posted "I'm a ponce" and saved yourself a lot of trouble.

"writing a good sounding song with generic progressions is SO easy"

"I think that if I were the one writing those songs, I'd almost be ashamed of it"

"It's so easy, it's ridiculous."

Elitist bollocks like this makes me want to vomit. You're so far up your own arse you could lick your own tonsils.


this this this this this
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#20
I wouln't look down at a chef for using those generic ingredients eggs, flour, butter and milk in the majority of their cooking. I admire their ingenuity in being able to make dozens of completely different dishes useing with those same simple things as a base.

A song is greater than the sum of it's parts, and even if one or all of those parts is generic, or simple it doesn't make the song bad or indeed prevent it from being great. Arguably using a cookie-cutter approach whereby you make a conscious effort to include "complicated" chords or progressions is just as much of a failing as resorting to generic progressions - at the end of the day it's all about choosing what's best for the song and a lot of time keeping it simple is the most logical, most effective choice. A song comprised of one or two primary chords is no less valid an expression of aristic intent than a complex opus.

By adopting this kind of stance you've already compromised your cherished "artistic integrity".
Actually called Mark!

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#21
Very interesting topic. I've been thinking about this alot lately after finding myself really enjoying a Calvin Harris song and then listening again to count he repeats the same 4 bar theme 44! times in a row.

Music can be many things to different people.

It can be elitist, searching for that chord progression that's never been used before, over that unique time signiture, with high fashion clothes to boot. This isn't bad, it just alienates your possible audience most of the time.

Repetition, on the other hand acts to include the audience. Intro, Verse, Prechorus, Chorus, Verse, Chorus, Bridge/solo, Chorus. There is a million great songs that use this exact formula. Five hundred thousand of them are in the key of C or G.

Or you can find a balance between exclusive and inclusive, which to me is the most interesting. Using your art as a business, and poking fun of the whole thing while you're at it.

Write a song with a sick beat (or not), some fat bass (or not), slippy guitar (or not, not every song HAS to have guitar you know). Maybe I'm making a point here.


To me, music is all about good vibrations. You need to have them before your audience can. Music is about group cohesion, story telling, performance, art, life. How you choose to use it entirely depends on what you hope to achieve. Me personally, want to achieve two girls at the same time.
#22
Quote by steven seagull
Elitist bollocks like this makes me want to vomit. You're so far up your own arse you could lick your own tonsils.



Sigged :')


OT: I'm gonna be honest, i'd rather listen to a catchy, enjoyable song based on a simple progression, than something totally mind****y
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Quote by steven seagull
Elitist bollocks like this makes me want to vomit. You're so far up your own arse you could lick your own tonsils.
#23
Some of the greatest music ever has been written using simple triads and basic 7th chords. If you can't write music using those principles without sound generic then you need more practise
#24
Quote by griffRG7321
Some of the greatest music ever has been written using simple triads and basic 7th chords. If you can't write music using those principles without sound generic then you need more practise


Of course one can use the chords without sounding generic, but why not use them, make an easy, catchy pop song, and get a leg up in the industry?

Quote by steven seagull

By adopting this kind of stance you've already compromised your cherished "artistic integrity".


I wrote that originally in quotes because I knew it sounded pretentious, just didn't know how to say it another way.

Jesus, it's not like I was trying to be elitist Alan, Seagull. This is what goes through my mind when I try to write music, or when I listen to it. I'm sure it NEVER goes through your minds, on your great high horses. I thought of it, realized how common it was, and came here to ask what you guys think of it and if you yourselves used it. At least the thread had a good start.
Last edited by peacemaker898 at Sep 3, 2010,
#25
Quote by peacemaker898
Of course one can use the chords without sounding generic, but why not use them, make an easy, catchy pop song, and get a leg up in the industry?

I wrote that originally in quotes because I knew it sounded pretentious, just didn't know how to say it another way.

Jesus, it's not like I was trying to be elitist Alan, Seagull. This is what goes through my mind when I try to write music, or when I listen to it. I'm sure it NEVER goes through your minds, on your great high horses. I thought of it, realized how common it was, and came here to ask what you guys think of it and if you yourselves used it. At least the thread had a good start.


It sounds pretentious because it is. We're not being on our "high horses" because we aren't actively discounting music which uses "generic" melodies and structure - that's you.

What goes through my head when I write music is "do I like this?", "will the audience like this?". That's enough for me. Sometimes it results in a little 3 chord pop song with a generic melody which sounds like it's ripped off the top 40. Do I like it? Yep. Does the audience? Yep. So where's the problem? Nowhere.
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#26
You dont use a progression to completly write the chords for you, you use it to have something to start with.

It's like starting out with deciding that your song will be in a 4/4 time signature with a 120 bpm tempo.. it doesnt say anything about the actualy rythm, there are so many variations under the same general description, and that is not even getting into melody, timbre, dynamics, and so on.

And you know, starting out with something, a point of departure, some limits.. for me it's so much more conductive to inspiration than having a completly blank slate.

I'm not sure who said it, but I remember a quote.. "Creativity isnt about having no boundaries at all, it's about having a bunch of boundaries and limits and see how far you can go within that."
#27
No I don't have a problem at all with it.

Your position on this is one thing, but it also seems to throw the net farther than just at yourself by implication, for example in a way you are casting a backhand that those of us that use these progressions that you decry, somehow lack "Artistic Integrity"

Best,

Sean
Last edited by Sean0913 at Sep 3, 2010,
#28
Why is it ok for pop artists to sound the same/ use the same formulas, but when it's metal/metalcore it's "oh that generic crap with the cookie monster vocals"? Just an observation here not trying to start an argument, and please oh god please no ridiculous flaming. It's cool if you don't like it but I don't want to hear it.
Just a general wondering. Again I don't need to hear about my absolutely dreadful taste in music.


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#29
Quote by brandon2784
Why is it ok for pop artists to sound the same/ use the same formulas, but when it's metal/metalcore it's "oh that generic crap with the cookie monster vocals"? Just an observation here not trying to start an argument, and please oh god please no ridiculous flaming. It's cool if you don't like it but I don't want to hear it.
Just a general wondering. Again I don't need to hear about my absolutely dreadful taste in music.


Well actually it has everything to do with your absolutely dreadful taste in music. Or at least the people who would call it "that generic crap with the cookie monster vocals" would think you have dreadful taste. Often times people who aren't educated in music can't appreciate the artistry in styles that they don't like. They can't relate it to what they do like, they only dismiss it. Obviously this is a huge generalization but it's something to keep in mind.

Also, I might add that artists are often cast as elitists by artists of other fields thanks to people like the TS. To ever insinuate that your taste in music is better than someone else's is arrogant and a bunch of shit.
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#30
Just thought I'd add that creating a really catchy pop song isn't as easy as it seems, even with the classic I vi ii V progression.

In my opinion
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#31
Quote by FacetOfChaos
Just thought I'd add that creating a really catchy pop song isn't as easy as it seems, even with the classic I vi ii V progression.


I disagree mostly. I think it's more trouble to stay relevant than to be catchy. We had the whole alicia keys soul R+B thing, going to the Taylor Swift small town appeal stuff, to the strange Lady Gaga stuff with songs about texting or whatever. I think the producers have a harder time trying to read the trends of female/male populations from ages 8-25 that are uneducated in music and dont have music a prime role in their lives.
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