#1
I have a melody, but I don't know what chords to put behind it. I'm not very good at turning scales into chords:

e-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
b--13--12-------------------------13--12-------------15--12--13--12---
G------------14--12--------12--------------14--12-------------------------
D-----------------------14-----------------------------------------------------
A-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
E-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

(All eighth notes in 7/8 time if it helps. Rhythm is "split" into 6/8 time and 8/8 time, aka 4/4)

I'm playing: C - B - A - G - E - G // C - B - A - G - D - B - C - B.

So with intervals: I - vii* - vi - V - iii - V // I - vii* - vi - V - ii - I - vii* ---- right?

C seems to be my root/what the riff resolves to. I just don't know how to turn this into a progression. It's going to be a "pedal" riff (if that's the right word). I'm going to have this riff repeating, while having the chords change underneath it.

I apologize if there is some obvious answer I'm just not seeing.
Caution:
This post may contain my opinion and/or inaccurate information.

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#2
Quote by AWACS

So with intervals: I - vii* - vi - V - iii - V // I - vii* - vi - V - ii - I - vii* ---- right?

...

.......

................


You have some grave, grave misunderstandings about harmony.

Also, the tonic is really E.


You can just play an E minor chord with a G major along the last 4 notes.

And lastly, this isn't 7/8 time. This is alternating 3/4 and 4/4 as you originally intended. That is not the same thing as 2 7/8's.
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...modes and scales are still useless.


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Last edited by Xiaoxi at Mar 29, 2013,
#3
Again, I apologize. Having little understanding about theory in general, and then being up way past my bedtime trying to make sense of what I've written isn't the best combination.

Thank you.
Caution:
This post may contain my opinion and/or inaccurate information.

Current Rig:
2006 PRS CE-24
Mesa/Boogie Mark V
Voltage S212 w/ V30's
Strymon Timeline
CMATMods Signa Drive
TC Electronics Corona & Hall of Fame
#4
Well, you can put a lot of chords underneath it, but you'll have to dive in some theory to fully understand why.

The most logical ones would be:
C - Em - G - Am (in no particular order though)

But you can also play:
F - F#mib5 - Bmi, Bmib5 and D

The riff is in Em/G or Ami/C so you can take any chord from on of those two keys and play it (the only difference in this case is that in Em you play F#mib5 and Bm, and in Am F and Bmib5)

Hoped this helpend you a bit...
#6
Quote by MaXiMuse
The riff is in Em/G or Am/C

Quote by ha_asgag
|Am-G/B-C|-G/B-E-Am|

Why can't most guitarists just learn what inversions are, instead of using slash chords? Using slash chords is lazy...

And that bolded part is nonsense. The key of Eminor contains the note G, and the key of Aminor contains the note C. Saying "the riff is in (the key) of Eminor/G or Aminor/C" is nonsense.


Plus, what Xiaoxi said is the most logical course of action for a melody of this nature.
Last edited by crazysam23_Atax at Mar 29, 2013,
#7
Quote by AWACS
I have a melody, but I don't know what chords to put behind it. I'm not very good at turning scales into chords:

e-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
b--13--12-------------------------13--12-------------15--12--13--12---
G------------14--12--------12--------------14--12-------------------------
D-----------------------14-----------------------------------------------------
A-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
E-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

(All eighth notes in 7/8 time if it helps. Rhythm is "split" into 6/8 time and 8/8 time, aka 4/4)

I'm playing: C - B - A - G - E - G // C - B - A - G - D - B - C - B.

So with intervals: I - vii* - vi - V - iii - V // I - vii* - vi - V - ii - I - vii* ---- right?

C seems to be my root/what the riff resolves to. I just don't know how to turn this into a progression. It's going to be a "pedal" riff (if that's the right word). I'm going to have this riff repeating, while having the chords change underneath it.

I apologize if there is some obvious answer I'm just not seeing.


So I'm going to assume it resolves to C, but it doesn't really matter. You can repeat this exercise in another key if you prefer.

The normal way you go about this is to identify the stressed notes, and then pick chords that contain those notes. (It gets more complicated, because matching the third of the chord sounds different from matching the root, etc, but we'll ignore that for now).

So for example, if your first stressed note is a C, in the key of C, the obvious choices to harmonize it are a C major, Am, or F major, because those are the chords that contain it. You could also use a chord that joins with the C note to make a new chord. So, for example, if you played a Dm with the C in the melody line you now have a Dm7.

Holding a C chord while the melody goes from C to B will give you a Cmaj7. Etc, etc.

And, of course, you can pick non-diatonic chords as well. The basic idea is to find a chord that supports, emotionally, the note in the melody. That is to say when I have a G note to harmonize, harmonizing it with a G major or an E minor chord are going to give me very different feelings.

Good songwriting is about picking chords (and chord changes) which support the emotional content of the melody. You have lots of options. Your goal is to pick meaningful ones. eg, notice at the end of the bridge of "It Won't Be Long" you get a very different emotional feeling over the words "You're coming home!" with the highly unstable V chord, which supports the feeling of "you're not home yet," which you'd get if there was a I chord there.
#8
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Last edited by qwe634671991 at Mar 30, 2013,
#9
Quote by crazysam23_Atax
Why can't most guitarists just learn what inversions are, instead of using slash chords? Using slash chords is lazy...

And that bolded part is nonsense. The key of Eminor contains the note G, and the key of Aminor contains the note C. Saying "the riff is in (the key) of Eminor/G or Aminor/C" is nonsense.


Plus, what Xiaoxi said is the most logical course of action for a melody of this nature.



Nonsense. This is music so TRUST YOUR EAR NOT logic. I think you should "plant that in your head". The habit of predetermining the chord tones logically based on the melody looks rather silly in actuality.

Naming chords using slashes or their relative inversions is a matter of preference.

No offense but Xiaoxi's suggestion sounded a bit "corny"/ predictable for me.
Last edited by ha_asgag at Apr 1, 2013,
#10
Quote by ha_asgag

Naming chords using slashes or their relative inversions is a matter of preference.


Slash chords mostly indicate when the bass is something other than a chord tone. If you're in an ensemble, only the bassist needs to read the note before the slash. On guitar when you're talking about a standard triad inversion, you can just say "C in first inversion". Save the slash chords for when the bass is voiced separately.
Last edited by cdgraves at Apr 1, 2013,
#11
Quote by ha_asgag

No offense but Xiaoxi's suggestion sounded a bit "corny"/ predictable for me.

Well of course. I'm not gonna come up with something good for no pay.

...modes and scales are still useless.


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#12
Quote by Xiaoxi
Well of course. I'm not gonna come up with something good for no pay.


I guess you're right. My suggestion sounds a bit corny/cliche too.
Last edited by ha_asgag at Apr 1, 2013,
#13
Quote by ha_asgag
I think you should "plant that in your head". The habit of predetermining the chord tones logically based on the melody looks rather silly in actuality.

And why is that? Have you ever done it? It looks rather logical and sounds rather good in actuality, assuming you do it correctly instead of writing it off out of hand.


Naming chords using slashes or their relative inversions is a matter of preference.

Except that, lame guitarists who are too lazy to learn proper inversions are the only musicians who actually use inversions. The rest of the musical world is laughing at the guitar world's laziness.

Quote by cdgraves
Slash chords mostly indicate when the bass is something other than a chord tone. If you're in an ensemble, only the bassist needs to read the note before the slash. On guitar when you're talking about a standard triad inversion, you can just say "C in first inversion". Save the slash chords for when the bass is voiced separately.

Or you could just tell the bass player when he has to play different notes. After all, it's not we can't write up sheet music/figured bass for the poor guy, right? Or if he can't read sheet music, we can't just give him bass tabs, right?
Last edited by crazysam23_Atax at Apr 1, 2013,
#14
But even non-guitarists need slash chords sometimes, because sometimes the bass note isn't a note in the chord.

And if you're doing that, it actually seems more consistent to do it for everything rather than to just do it for cases where the bass note isn't a chord tone.
#15
Quote by crazysam23_Atax
Except that, lame guitarists who are too lazy to learn proper inversions are the only musicians who actually use inversions. The rest of the musical world is laughing at the guitar world's laziness.


Assuming that your claim that only guitarists use inversions was a mistake: They're laughing so hard that not only will the ABRSM accept what they label as 'Jazz Chord Notation' as a valid way of completing the harmonisation exercises at grade 6 but the companion guide 'Music Theory in Practice: Grade 6' outlines how to do so, including using the dreaded slash in order to specify the note in the bass ("...you must always state the bass note for any chord you intend not to be in root position . This can be done by drawing an oblique stroke immediately after the chord description and then writing the letter name of the bass note...").

Not that it even matters what the rest of the musical world thinks. The chord letter name system including the slash chord convention is effective for communicating what it needs to communicate in a pop performance context. What matters is that if I went to a session gig and the chord chart was laid out in front of me like that I could play it straight off, more or less. If you gave me roman numerals and figured bass to work out I'd tell you to go fuck yourself. I'm not a baroque-era organist. And if a system communicates the information it needs to communicate effectively, then where's the issue?

figured bass


I get the feeling you don't actually know how figured bass works, because if you did you'd know that writing it out would be totally useless to an electric bassist who typically only plays one note at a time.

I would like to know, and it's not just you doing this, what's up with the subclass of users on UG who seem to have become self-hating guitarists, bashing certain conventional ways of doing things in the guitar world just because they're the conventional way of doing things in the guitar world, and guitarists are dumb because they're guitarists. And for curiosities sake I would genuinely like to see you demonstrate your obviously superior grasp of music theory in a composition.
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Last edited by Nietsche at Apr 1, 2013,
#16
Quote by Nietsche
Assuming that your claim that only guitarists use inversions was a mistake: They're laughing so hard that not only will the ABRSM accept what they label as 'Jazz Chord Notation' as a valid way of completing the harmonisation exercises at grade 6 but the companion guide 'Music Theory in Practice: Grade 6' outlines how to do so, including using the dreaded slash in order to specify the note in the bass ("...you must always state the bass note for any chord you intend not to be in root position . This can be done by drawing an oblique stroke immediately after the chord description and then writing the letter name of the bass note...").

Oh, hurrah! The "Jazz does it, so you should no issue with it" argument.

I get the feeling you don't actually know how figured bass works, because if you did you'd know that writing it out would be totally useless to an electric bassist who typically only plays one note at a time.
Any decent bass guitar player can easily just play the bass note that the figured bass is showing. He doesn't have to play the other notes that are implied. As you know, figured bass is generally for piano anyway, but a smart bass player could easily adapt it.
#17
lets see..using slash chords (G/B) means your "lazy"...did ted greene know this...??
#18
Quote by crazysam23_Atax
Except that, lame guitarists who are too lazy to learn proper inversions are the only musicians who actually use inversions. The rest of the musical world is laughing at the guitar world's laziness.

Ridiculous comment.
#19
Quote by crazysam23_Atax
Oh, hurrah! The "Jazz does it, so you should no issue with it" argument.


That's not my argument at all. You said that other musicians were laughing at guitar players for using slash chords and I pointed out that the ABRSM views it as a valid way of completing the harmonisation exercises. And that was a factual aside, my main argument is that chord letter name notation including the use of slashes to indicate inversions is a form of chord notation that communicates the information it needs to effectively, which is all it needs in order to be a valid system.

Any decent bass guitar player can easily just play the bass note that the figured bass is showing. He doesn't have to play the other notes that are implied. As you know, figured bass is generally for piano anyway, but a smart bass player could easily adapt it.


You don't seem to understand how figured bass works. In figured bass notation you notate the bass notes on the stave and then mark underneath the intervals to be played above the bass line. If all the bass player is doing is playing the bass part, there is absolutely no need to add figured bass markings to the music. The reason figured bass notation is for keyboard instruments is because you need an instrument capable of playing chords in order to realise it.
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Last edited by Nietsche at Apr 1, 2013,
#20
Quote by Nietsche
That's not my argument at all. You said that other musicians were laughing at guitar players for using slash chords and I pointed out that the ABRSM views it as a valid way of completing the harmonisation exercises.
Yes, I was mocking you for appealing to authority. Just because ABRSM teaches it that way, that doesn't mean a thing. Also, frankly, it's a 6th grade music course you used as an example; no one's expecting 6th graders to get more complicated concepts, so they dumb them down a bit.

And that was a factual aside, my main argument is that chord letter name notation including the use of slashes to indicate inversions is a form of chord notation that communicates the information it needs to effectively, which is all it needs in order to be a valid system.

And why is that all it needs?

You don't seem to understand how figured bass works. In figured bass notation you notate the bass notes on the stave and then mark underneath the intervals to be played above the bass line. If all the bass player is doing is playing the bass part, there is absolutely no need to add figured bass markings to the music. The reason figured bass notation is for keyboard instruments is because you need an instrument capable of playing chords in order to realise it.

I understand that. I'm saying, if you have a band using figured bass for the keyboard, then just hand the bass guitar player the figured bass. He should be able to figure it out, assuming he can read standard music notation. I thought that was evident.
Last edited by crazysam23_Atax at Apr 1, 2013,
#21
Quote by crazysam23_Atax

And why is that all it needs?

Because it communicates the information it needs to communicate. If someone reads X chord in Y inversion and proceeds to play the exact the same thing they would have played if they had read X/Y, then they are both valid ways of doing it. The point of any system of notation (such as slash chord notation), is to communicate information. Does it do that? Yes. Does it do it well? Yes. Sure one is easier, but it doesn't mean you're lazy. That's like saying you're lazy if you use efficient movements while playing, rather then lifting your fingers two inches off the fretboard every time you stop a note.
#22
Quote by crazysam23_Atax
Yes, I was mocking you for appealing to authority. Just because ABRSM teaches it that way, that doesn't mean a thing.


Yes, it does. Remember, you claimed that only 'lame' guitar players use slash chord notation and the rest of the music world is laughing at us. I have provided evidence to the contrary, and you have provided no evidence of musicians criticising the chord-letter notation system or the system of notating the bass of a chord with a slash. Which means going on what we have so far, your original statement was false.

Also, frankly, it's a 6th grade music course you used as an example; no one's expecting 6th graders to get more complicated concepts, so they dumb them down a bit.


Grade 6 music theory as in grade 6 violin or grade 6 classical guitar, not as in the music theory course taught in the 6th grade of American schools. And there is no dumbing down, the harmonisation exercises can be notated in any way which the candidate sees fit, as long as their intentions are clear, and the main demonstration method is extended roman numeral analysis. Jazz Chord notation is recognised as a valid alternative system of notation, however.

And why is that all it needs?


Is this a serious question?

I understand that. I'm saying, if you have a band using figured bass for the keyboard, then just hand the bass guitar player the figured bass. He should be able to figure it out, assuming he can read standard music notation. I thought that was evident.


But who in their right mind would notate a keyboard part for a band playing in a contemporary music style with figured bass? My Mum can't even read figured bass let alone realise it on sight and she teaches classical piano. How do you think your average keyboardist in a rock band is going to react when you show him how you've neatly laid out the keyboard part for him in a language he can't understand?

You seem to be stuck on right and wrong ways of notating chord changes without thinking about practicality. Here's the rub: Roman numeral analysis is fine as a way of looking at harmony in the context of an analysis of a piece. But in a Jazz/Pop/Rock performance context it's just unwieldy and unnecessarily complicated. A session guitar player doesn't need to know that the next chord in the piece is a II6/5 chord in the key of F major, he just needs to know to play a Gmin7/Bb. Why notate it in a way which he's probably unfamiliar with when you can write the latter and know for sure that he'll understand what to play?
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