#1
Hi

I want to make some psychedelic rock on my own but all I got are chord progressions. However whenever I listen to bands like Pink Floyd, or Rush or King Crimson they sound like they dont use a guitar doing a chord progression but they use a lot of riffs... So im not sure if im doing ok? I mean, I have the idea that if I make a good chord progression I can make a good song since its like the base for everything ... but im not sure.

Tips?
#2
For songs like that, chords are not always the base of everything.

You also should try making a solo first and making a bass line for it. Or vice versa. Or you could make a solo on a chord progression, and then a riff in that same progression (this is trickier) and then erase the guitar that's playing the chords.
#3
Quote by vitorlp
For songs like that, chords are not always the base of everything.

You also should try making a solo first and making a bass line for it. Or vice versa. Or you could make a solo on a chord progression, and then a riff in that same progression (this is trickier) and then erase the guitar that's playing the chords.


But that means that the song, even if there isnt a guitar doing chords has a proggresion? Like the bassline or something like that right? So I have to make a riff that uses the scale for that chord proggresion or maybe use just one bass note for the song like in tomorrow never knows and use scales,modes from that note?
#4
Quote by WhenStarsDie
Hi

I want to make some psychedelic rock on my own but all I got are chord progressions. However whenever I listen to bands like Pink Floyd, or Rush or King Crimson they sound like they dont use a guitar doing a chord progression but they use a lot of riffs... So im not sure if im doing ok? I mean, I have the idea that if I make a good chord progression I can make a good song since its like the base for everything ... but im not sure.

Tips?


Most songs - even the ones you describe - have an underlying chord progression.

The challenge is that they often don't have a guitar just chugging away on the chords. Rather, the chords are played or implied by different instruments, either by individual instruments playing within the arpeggios of the chords or with different instruments playing different parts of the chord.

A simple example of this is Zeppelin's "Whole Lotta Love" where the opening riff feels a lot like a Bm > E5, even though a Bm is never explicitly played (Page plays B, then D with a slight bend - but that's a minor third interval, more or less).

If you come up with a thundering riff, of course, that's great, but it's perfectly fine to work the other way around: start with your chord structure, and then "break it up" by replacing parts of the chord structure with riffs, runs, or arpeggios that imply it.

I suspect this is how, for example, the opening to "Into the Mystic" by Van Morrison was written. There's a a very simple chord structure, but it quickly falls way back in the mix, while those little riffs which are clearly connected to the chords take the foreground.

That being said, remember that melody is more important than chord structure. It's pretty rare that people have a visceral reaction to a chord structure - but it happens with melodies all the time.
#5
get delay and reverb

get some melodies that complement the progressions

sing a little pretty line, preferable something tied to a commentary about society or something

listen to some post-rock, i know they're completely different genres or whatever, but really, there's a lot to be learned about psychedelic from a GY!BE album
modes are a social construct
#6
Quote by Hail
get delay and reverb


Delay and reverb are not answers to songwriting questions.
#8
Quote by HotspurJr
Delay and reverb are not answers to songwriting questions.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=36U4ez7AzKA

though it really isn't in the vein of the bands TS listed, this is the closest thing to chord-form psychedelic i could ever imagine outside of one-off floyd songs
modes are a social construct
#9
hmmmm Songs like Interestellar overdrive doesnt follow a chord proggression its so abstract, but its like it has a main riff.
#10
Like hotspur said... there is a progression happening... whether you like it or not. A progression can be in single notes as well as chord form.

Delay and reverb can be used to great effect... as well as some other extreme settings on other units. So you mention Floyd, Rush and King Crimson. All three of those specific bands have monster players. Geddy Lee is a freak. Robert Fripp is just a pure genius. And Gilmour had the help of Mason and Waters. But seeing as you mentioned Floyd more... Live at Pompeii will be a great help to you in trying to understand the concepts... with visual aid... woohoo!

The newer breed (well, to me) would be something like God is an Astronaut and Magyar Posse. But let's stick to them old suckers. Jefferson Airplane... just listening to White Rabbit has the desired effect anyway. Audience would be a cool old band to get into. Hear their version of "I put a spell on you"... trippy stuff with the sax. Ozric Tentacles is the shit! 28 albums and still going... rather impressive.

Now in this music and all music... you have an underlying progression to build a song off of. Just start thinking out the box when building the other instruments' lines... and I reckon you'll be ok now... and you'll get it

Good luck
Last edited by evolucian at Jan 26, 2012,
#11
Quote by evolucian

Delay and reverb can be used to great effect


Let me be clear.

I have nothing against delay and reverb. I think they are awesome tools which have been used fantastically by a lot of musicians.

They are, however, PRODUCTION issues, not SONGWRITING issues.

A very common beginner mistake is to confused a cool sonic palette with a cool song. So maybe you use interesting effects like delay or reverb or a leslie speaker to help create a psychadelic effect ... but if you're not applying it to a well-constructed song, forget it. It's a boring song.

Production can support what's already there in the song, but it can't replace it.

I would suggest that the songwriting process usually (although of course not always) goes like this:

melody -> chord structure -> break down chord structure into interesting instrumentation/riffs -> apply production to instrumentation/riffs.

I read the original question as being about the tendency of songs to use riffs rather than chords.
#12
Quote by HotspurJr
Let me be clear.

I have nothing against delay and reverb. I think they are awesome tools which have been used fantastically by a lot of musicians.

They are, however, PRODUCTION issues, not SONGWRITING issues.

A very common beginner mistake is to confused a cool sonic palette with a cool song. So maybe you use interesting effects like delay or reverb or a leslie speaker to help create a psychadelic effect ... but if you're not applying it to a well-constructed song, forget it. It's a boring song.

Production can support what's already there in the song, but it can't replace it.

I would suggest that the songwriting process usually (although of course not always) goes like this:

melody -> chord structure -> break down chord structure into interesting instrumentation/riffs -> apply production to instrumentation/riffs.

I read the original question as being about the tendency of songs to use riffs rather than chords.


Thanks for the suggestion.

As for songwriting, most of times I dont have a clear melody. I make some chord progressions but I dont like them to be ...how do you say this...? Like "diatonic" ? Im not sure if thats the right name. I like to use chords from other tonalities I think thats called modal interchange. but whatever. I will try to write a melody first, but would it be better if chord proggression goes first and then the melody? Because sometimes I try to make some melodies but the melody changes according to the chord progression. Like not using a specific scale for a melody in a chord progression. Its something im trying to master but is kinda difficult for me.
#13
Quote by evolucian
Like hotspur said... there is a progression happening... whether you like it or not. A progression can be in single notes as well as chord form.

Delay and reverb can be used to great effect... as well as some other extreme settings on other units. So you mention Floyd, Rush and King Crimson. All three of those specific bands have monster players. Geddy Lee is a freak. Robert Fripp is just a pure genius. And Gilmour had the help of Mason and Waters. But seeing as you mentioned Floyd more... Live at Pompeii will be a great help to you in trying to understand the concepts... with visual aid... woohoo!

The newer breed (well, to me) would be something like God is an Astronaut and Magyar Posse. But let's stick to them old suckers. Jefferson Airplane... just listening to White Rabbit has the desired effect anyway. Audience would be a cool old band to get into. Hear their version of "I put a spell on you"... trippy stuff with the sax. Ozric Tentacles is the shit! 28 albums and still going... rather impressive.

Now in this music and all music... you have an underlying progression to build a song off of. Just start thinking out the box when building the other instruments' lines... and I reckon you'll be ok now... and you'll get it

Good luck


Thanks man, and yeah I mentioned Pink Floyd because its one of my favorite bands.
#14
Quote by WhenStarsDie
Thanks for the suggestion.

As for songwriting, most of times I dont have a clear melody. I make some chord progressions but I dont like them to be ...how do you say this...? Like "diatonic" ? Im not sure if thats the right name. I like to use chords from other tonalities I think thats called modal interchange. but whatever. I will try to write a melody first, but would it be better if chord proggression goes first and then the melody? Because sometimes I try to make some melodies but the melody changes according to the chord progression. Like not using a specific scale for a melody in a chord progression. Its something im trying to master but is kinda difficult for me.


Writing melodies is one of the hardest parts of songwriting. A lot of young guitarists write a lot of "songs" which aren't really songs, but rather guitar parts that maybe could fit a song, but they lack the musicality to write a melody.

So back up. Work on your ear to help you develop your ability to write a melody. And it's fine if you have a chord progression and want to write a melody for it, just recognize that it's easy to get stuck there.
#15
Hotspur... seeing as you put them in caps for me, I will now have to disagree. Effects can very well be used in the songwriting process, due to it being sound. Sound is important. If you only apply the effects after the whole process, it could heavily change the arrangement into it not being good anymore.

Some people write with sounds preprogrammed and use that while they create their skeleton outline. In no way am I saying the TS should do this if he's still new to writing... but he can. For one, if he has a bouncing delay he will find out very quickly that a note like a b2 (or pretty much any other conflicting note between one or two chords) hitting against the chord constantly is not going to sound too good if he hasn't resolved it. If he was on a clean setting at the time of writing, he may not have noticed it.

So I'll say it again... effects can be used in the songwriting process. And it doesn't have to be left till later in the process. The sound itself can also help inspire the rest of a piece. To only think of effects as a production thing added only much later in the process... well, no.

Learning to write songs is an ongoing process... a skillset that can only be improved by writing more and more songs. Someone just learning progressions won't really be able to write a good song. Someone just learning melody writing will also not really be able to write a good song. Someone who does both stands a better chance. But writing songs is always a hit and miss... sometimes its good, sometimes it isn't. To always land up with something good... as in always... big misunderstanding there. Some B sides have brilliant songs... but they also tend to have absolute crap. Sometimes the crap makes it onto the A side as a filler.

Anyway, just a morning ramble... if it helps someone, cool.
#16
Quote by WhenStarsDie
Hi

I want to make some psychedelic rock on my own but all I got are chord progressions. However whenever I listen to bands like Pink Floyd, or Rush or King Crimson they sound like they dont use a guitar doing a chord progression but they use a lot of riffs... So im not sure if im doing ok? I mean, I have the idea that if I make a good chord progression I can make a good song since its like the base for everything ... but im not sure.

Tips?


Floyd uses a lot of keyboard based chord progressions. Something to think about.
#17
Quote by evolucian
Hotspur... seeing as you put them in caps for me, I will now have to disagree. Effects can very well be used in the songwriting process, due to it being sound. Sound is important. If you only apply the effects after the whole process, it could heavily change the arrangement into it not being good anymore.

Some people write with sounds preprogrammed and use that while they create their skeleton outline. In no way am I saying the TS should do this if he's still new to writing... but he can. For one, if he has a bouncing delay he will find out very quickly that a note like a b2 (or pretty much any other conflicting note between one or two chords) hitting against the chord constantly is not going to sound too good if he hasn't resolved it. If he was on a clean setting at the time of writing, he may not have noticed it.

So I'll say it again... effects can be used in the songwriting process. And it doesn't have to be left till later in the process. The sound itself can also help inspire the rest of a piece. To only think of effects as a production thing added only much later in the process... well, no.

Learning to write songs is an ongoing process... a skillset that can only be improved by writing more and more songs. Someone just learning progressions won't really be able to write a good song. Someone just learning melody writing will also not really be able to write a good song. Someone who does both stands a better chance. But writing songs is always a hit and miss... sometimes its good, sometimes it isn't. To always land up with something good... as in always... big misunderstanding there. Some B sides have brilliant songs... but they also tend to have absolute crap. Sometimes the crap makes it onto the A side as a filler.

Anyway, just a morning ramble... if it helps someone, cool.

When I had a multi FX I used to sometimes randomly go through the patches and play the first thing that came into my head, and it was actually really interesting as different sounds almost demanded that I play in a certain way.

So I can see where Hotspur's coming from, but at the same time the sound you're using can have a significant impact in what you end up creating. Changing the tone, chucking in an effect or two is one way to help the creative process and that change in tone can be the catalyst to help you fill a gap
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#18
Quote by evolucian
Hotspur... seeing as you put them in caps for me, I will now have to disagree. Effects can very well be used in the songwriting process, due to it being sound. Sound is important. If you only apply the effects after the whole process, it could heavily change the arrangement into it not being good anymore.


True. No real disagreement here. I made a very linear example to make a point.

Certainly it happens that a guitarist might discover a sound, be inspired by it, and then seek to write a song in order to use that sound. Absolutely. I agree 100% that this happens. (I even started to write this out, and decided it'd get into TL;DR territory).

That catch is that when you do this, you still have to go back and create a melody and chord progression. If you start with a riff+sonic palette, you have to go back and reverse-engineer it to find a chord progression and melody. (Which will often then cause you to change it some). I know, for example, that a lot of U2's best stuff started with an interesting sonic idea from The Edge, but the only time during their "peak" where they occasionally forgot to create full songs around it was "The Unforgettable Fire" - although that album still has plenty of songs with fully-developed melodies on it.

We all have probably heard songs where somebody fell in love with a sound and skipped the whole songwriting part, and that's the path that Hail's answer ("reverb and delay") to a question about the connection between chords progressions and atmospheric riffs would send the original poster down.

So yes, I agree with you - if a certain grouping of effects inspires you to create a riff in a certain way, then yes, absolutely, run with it. But if you want to create a memorable song, you still need to connect that riff to a chord progression and melody. Otherwise you're likely to end up with amorphous fluff.
#19
who cares if you know what the progression or melody "is" as long as it sounds good?

at the end of the day, it's a means to an end. if you like how something sounds, that's all that matters. doesn't sound full enough? play with new sounds, play with new notes, rearrange things. theory helps a ton, there's no disputing that, but one of my favorite musicians knows nothing but self-taught basic piano arrangement and self-taught production. not that he's famous or anything (far from it), but he makes music he enjoys. Sometimes you have to just let go of conventions and follow your ears.
modes are a social construct
#20
"Just let of conventions and follow your ears" almost always results in something that's well-covered by theory, and usually pretty basic theory.

who cares if you know what the progression or melody "is" as long as it sounds good?


I'm not sure what this even means. What would it mean to not know what the melody of your song is?

It's just such a common trap. "ooh, cool effects ... bam, that's a song!" No, it's not. If you're going to use it as a starting point, that's fine - I have problem with that. But a starting point is not a finished song.
#21
Quote by HotspurJr


It's just such a common trap. "ooh, cool effects ... bam, that's a song!" No, it's not. If you're going to use it as a starting point, that's fine - I have problem with that. But a starting point is not a finished song.


you're missing a whole land of electronic music if sounds can't be songs
modes are a social construct
#22
Quote by Hail
you're missing a whole land of electronic music if sounds can't be songs


I actually listen to a lot of electronic music. Including ambient stuff.

And the good stuff isn't just sounds.

Some of the pablum is.
#23
Quote by HotspurJr
I actually listen to a lot of electronic music. Including ambient stuff.

And the good stuff isn't just sounds.

Some of the pablum is.



By your theory if I played electronic songs on my acoustic guitar, it will be received the same as in a production?

ie. If I take a palm muted riff progression like one green day has, and play it on a piano, it will loses much of it's allure.


I agree with that having a strong melody beforehand is good, but a melody might become strong and interesting due to the finishing touch of sound.

Sound goes hand in hand with how a piece of music is received, otherwise guitarpro midi's would dominate the airwaves, and orchestra's would have no value.

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Last edited by xxdarrenxx at Jan 27, 2012,
#24
Quote by xxdarrenxx
By your theory if I played electronic songs on my acoustic guitar, it will be received the same as in a production?

ie. If I take a palm muted riff progression like one green day has, and play it on a piano, it will loses much of it's allure.


Uh, you're attributing something to me that is very far removed from anything I've said.

If you play a distorted palm muted Green Day song on a piano, it will sound very different. It may not sound as good (in fact, if the choices about what instruments and production to use in the recording were good ones, it won't sound as good).

But it'll be the same song.

That's because there is a song there.


I agree with that having a strong melody beforehand is good, but a melody might become strong and interesting due to the finishing touch of sound.


The melody isn't going to become better because it's produced differently. A boring melody won't be interesting because you put cool effects on it.

What those cool effects might do is highlight and support the melody. They might distract from the absence of much of a melody and make you not care (although this happens far less often than one would hope). There are good ways to present a given melody and there might also be bad ways to present a given melody.

But the melody is the melody.


Sound goes hand in hand with how a piece of music is received, otherwise guitarpro midi's would dominate the airwaves, and orchestra's would have no value.


No disagreement there at all.