bradrox14
Registered User
Join date: Nov 2012
144 IQ
#1
Hey.

I'm guess I'm trying to write my first official (not really official, just actually decent) song, and I've just been having a lot of trouble with deciding on a damn chord progression!

I have progressions but I'm paranoid and keep questioning whether it is better/worse than the others I come up with..

Anyone else ever debate with themselves on chord progressions? I just think like the difference of one chord will change the whole outcome of the song...Agh i need to just choose something..

Just comment and relate :P
bradrox14
Registered User
Join date: Nov 2012
144 IQ
#3
Quote by #1 synth
i relate, man.

DAGEF#EmGAD

its wut i do. EVERYTIME.



HA. Complications :S
Will23guitar
Registered User
Join date: Feb 2013
109 IQ
#6
My melodies always come first, but then my chord progressions end up getting stuck REALLY simple...Being an electric guitar player without a singer (so far), I always stick to complex melodies and fill in the chords later, usually not getting much farther than the root chord lol
THE POINT BEING that if you have a solid melody going, the chord changes might not matter all that much WARNING this can definitely vary depending on what you want to achieve. This is more of a "don't worry your ass off so much", not a "never bother putting some thought into it".
Then again, I've been taking theory classes and a LOT of classical music gets really complex but it just turns out it's repeating only the tonic/dominant at the core, which is really quite brilliant considering how it turns out in the end.
If all else fails, post both (or however many) versions on a single youtube video, let people in the forum give you some direct feedback.
Last edited by Will23guitar at May 1, 2013,
stevicaPoglesh
Registered User
Join date: May 2013
10 IQ
#7
the cool thing you can do is you just start playing a first chord in a groove you feel,and start singing some melody.If your melody leads you to another chord than change,if it doesent stay.I always write in somekind of agreament with the melody that i hopefuly hear in my head when i play a cirten chord.if you alredy have a melody and you cant determen which chord to put over,than just recordeit and listen.Than its only the matter of sound you hear for that particular song of yours.
Last edited by stevicaPoglesh at May 1, 2013,
afromoose
Registered User
Join date: May 2009
65 IQ
#8
Quote by bradrox14
Hey.

I'm guess I'm trying to write my first official (not really official, just actually decent) song, and I've just been having a lot of trouble with deciding on a damn chord progression!

I have progressions but I'm paranoid and keep questioning whether it is better/worse than the others I come up with..

Anyone else ever debate with themselves on chord progressions? I just think like the difference of one chord will change the whole outcome of the song...Agh i need to just choose something..

Just comment and relate :P


I agree it's hard to settle on chords.

My advice is this - don't think too hard about the chord progression. There are many other ways to add variation to the song, the chord sequence itself isn't the be-all and end-all. In fact, many brilliant songs have positively boring chord progressions (like 'Heroes' by Bowie (who loved interesting chords), or Johnny B Goode, which is blues).

The chord progression may be the first thing you come up with, but bear in mind that there are many other tools you can use that will add a lot of interest - you can use bassline, melody, counter-melody, texture, different voicings of the chords, different forms of rhythmic playing.

Brian Eno said once that the chord progression is just the skeleton on which everything else hangs. Don't agonize over it. Instead, try and think of other compositional elements that might add interest to the song. Once you have something which works, try and move on - there's lots else to do.

If you really are set on doing stuff just with the chords, don't forget to try varying the harmonic rhythm - the rate at which you change chords. Many songs do this, a good example is 'Holiday' by Green Day. During the verse the chords happen 2 per bar, and during the chorus, the same chords, but 1 per bar.
Luke Mosse Guitar Teacher in Bristol, UK
MaggaraMarine
Slapping the bass.
Join date: Oct 2009
3,472 IQ
#9
Quote by Will23guitar
My melodies always come first, but then my chord progressions end up getting stuck REALLY simple...Being an electric guitar player without a singer (so far), I always stick to complex melodies and fill in the chords later, usually not getting much farther than the root chord lol
THE POINT BEING that if you have a solid melody going, the chord changes might not matter all that much WARNING this can definitely vary depending on what you want to achieve. This is more of a "don't worry your ass off so much", not a "never bother putting some thought into it".
Then again, I've been taking theory classes and a LOT of classical music gets really complex but it just turns out it's repeating only the tonic/dominant at the core, which is really quite brilliant considering how it turns out in the end.
If all else fails, post both (or however many) versions on a single youtube video, let people in the forum give you some direct feedback.

In classical music chord progressions actually are progressions. Many times in pop music (I'm referring to all non-classical music) you have a chord vamp rather than a real progression. Because IMO progression means it should progress. And a 4 chord progression doesn't really progress anywhere, at least if you repeat it throughout the song.

And I think it makes classical music sound interesting. In classical music you usually don't have a 8 bar part that you repeat twice and then a 4 bar part that you repeat four times and then another 8 bar part and then you repeat the same from the beginning.

A bit off topic, I know.

But yeah, my point was maybe don't let your chords guide your song if you want something really interesting. Try to write a melody and don't care about chords yet. You don't need to use a repetitive 4 chord progression. There are pop songs without that kind of repeating progression. You can use simple chords and sound interesting. Though sometimes a simple chord vamp sounds good. Do what sounds good to you.

If you have many ideas, just use one of them. You can use the other ideas later. Don't throw anything away!
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

Gear

Bach Stradivarius 37G
Charvel So Cal
Hartke HyDrive 210c
Ibanez BL70
Laney VC30
Tokai TB48
Yamaha FG720S-12
Yamaha P115
HotspurJr
Registered User
Join date: Jul 2011
191 IQ
#10
Quote by bradrox14
Hey.

I'm guess I'm trying to write my first official (not really official, just actually decent) song, and I've just been having a lot of trouble with deciding on a damn chord progression!

I have progressions but I'm paranoid and keep questioning whether it is better/worse than the others I come up with..

Anyone else ever debate with themselves on chord progressions? I just think like the difference of one chord will change the whole outcome of the song...Agh i need to just choose something..

Just comment and relate :P


It sounds like you're shuffling around chord progressions in a vacuum.

That's a mistake. Couple of things that will help you with this:

First, figure out your melody. The melody is the song, not the chord progression. The melody will also tell you where the chord progression needs to go.

Second, figure out what the song is about. If you look at well-written songs, it appears that chords are sometimes chosen because of how they match the lyrical/thematic content. A big part of "good songwriting" is finding the chord/melody relationship that perfectly underscores what the lyrics are talking about.

Last, don't compose chord progressions by experimenting around and seeing how different things sound. Hear it in your head first, then find the sound from your head on your guitar. This is crucial and will stop the problem you describe dead in its tracks - and help you create more original songs, too.
20Tigers
1
Join date: Jun 2008
640 IQ
#11
Quote by MaggaraMarine
In classical music chord progressions actually are progressions. Many times in pop music (I'm referring to all non-classical music) you have a chord vamp rather than a real progression. Because IMO progression means it should progress. And a 4 chord progression doesn't really progress anywhere, at least if you repeat it throughout the song.

And I think it makes classical music sound interesting. In classical music you usually don't have a 8 bar part that you repeat twice and then a 4 bar part that you repeat four times and then another 8 bar part and then you repeat the same from the beginning.

Pachelbel's Cannon?
I V vi iii
IV I IV V

Or a couple of old school (17th Century) chord progressions that were so popular they were named...

Passamezzo Antico
|i |bVII |i |V |

|bIII |bVII |i V |i |

Passamezzo Moderno
|I |IV |I |V |
|I |IV |I V |I |
Si
ElliottJeffries
Registered User
Join date: Apr 2013
223 IQ
#12
I love working with chord formulas within a key signature to come up with song ideas. I don't even think about melodies. The melody can evolve when playing around with a chord progression. This works great you're coming up with brand new material from scratch.

If you have a melody in mind and you're looking for the chord progression then it could simply be a matter of finding what the key is. Then you'll know what chords are available. You'll have many different options with using chords for harmony and rhythm depending on your preference.