#1
A C#m B F#m

-5--4------2---
-5--5--4--2----
-6--6--4--2---
-7--6--4--4---
-7--4--2--4---
-5---------2---

Is it the b3? I want to write a sad song, but i cant understand what makes the chord progression sad, i know minor chords are sad, but for some reason they sound sadder followed by a major chord, or the way around. Can anyone smarter explain?
#2
Does it sound sad? IMO that B chord just gives it kind of an epic feeling but IMO it doesn't sound sad (when I play it). Maybe it's the way you play it and the melody you play over it.

It's not the chord progression that sounds sad. I think you could make whatever chord progression sound sad if you wanted. It's more about what and how the instruments play over the progression.

For example these two songs have same chord progressions (I-III-IV-iv) (Green Day song: chorus and Radiohead song: throughout the song) but the overall feeling of the songs is very different. It's not all about the chords.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sN0b-adUt9I

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9rsqg95anNw

Damn, now I got inspired by that chord progression... I think I'm going to write a song using those chords or something similar.
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

Gear

Bach Stradivarius 37G
Charvel So Cal
Fender Dimension Bass
Hartke HyDrive 210c
Ibanez BL70
Laney VC30
Tokai TB48
Yamaha FG720S-12
Yamaha P115
Last edited by MaggaraMarine at May 12, 2013,
#3
It doesn't sound quite sad to me as well.

In general minor thirds are be considerered to evoke sad emotions because of the more dissonant interval than major thirds. But songs with m3's can sound happy, and songs with
M3's can sound sad.

To me it sounds you're in C# minor.

So a VI - i - VII - iv progression

Don't know how the person above me got the I-III-IV-iv progression.
#4
If it has a sad melody the song will sound sad. There's a lot more to the "feeling" of a song than the chords or key.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
Soundcloud
#5
It all depends upon how you play it, the rest of the song (such as a melody), etc.

Btw, that song has a deceptive cadence to me, which can have an epic quality.
Last edited by crazysam23_Atax at May 13, 2013,
#6
Quote by deHufter
It doesn't sound quite sad to me as well.

In general minor thirds are be considerered to evoke sad emotions because of the more dissonant interval than major thirds. But songs with m3's can sound happy, and songs with
M3's can sound sad.

To me it sounds you're in C# minor.

So a VI - i - VII - iv progression

Don't know how the person above me got the I-III-IV-iv progression.

I was talking about the songs I posted. They were just examples of two songs that had the same chord progression (not the same as TS) but had completely different feelings. Radiohead's song was sad and Green Day's song more upbeat (not necessarily happy but much more happy than Radiohead's song).

To me the progression TS sent sounds like it's in F# minor (bIII-v-IV-i). I can't make it sound like C# minor.

Now I reworded my first post. I noticed it was pretty confusing. I wasn't trying to say that the OP progression was I-III-IV-iv. It was the progression in the two songs I posted.
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

Gear

Bach Stradivarius 37G
Charvel So Cal
Fender Dimension Bass
Hartke HyDrive 210c
Ibanez BL70
Laney VC30
Tokai TB48
Yamaha FG720S-12
Yamaha P115
Last edited by MaggaraMarine at May 12, 2013,
#7
Quote by Rensa
A C#m B F#m

-5--4------2---
-5--5--4--2----
-6--6--4--2---
-7--6--4--4---
-7--4--2--4---
-5---------2---

Is it the b3? I want to write a sad song, but i cant understand what makes the chord progression sad, i know minor chords are sad, but for some reason they sound sadder followed by a major chord, or the way around. Can anyone smarter explain?


Everything is context in terms of chord progressions. No chords exist in a vacuum. Whether the composer is aware of it or not pretty much every chord you play and every sound or harmony you can imagine can be defined through how it pertains to a particular key. Once you understand the concept of keys and how different chords function within different keys, you will be more able to get straight to the sounds you are after without having to grope around in the dark trying to find chords to fit.

Believe it or not all the chords you have chosen are diatonic (meaning "within the key") of E major.
A is the 4 chord (or subdominant) of E maj
C#m is the 6 chord of E maj
B is the 5 (or dominant chord) of e maj
and f#m is the 2 chord.

If you want to get a darker kind of vibe to your tune, then you need to consider writing your chord progressions within a minor key tonality. Perhaps if you did the same chord progression in the key of e minor rather than e major you would get this:
Am7 (the 4 chord of e minor)
C7 (acting as the 6 in minor tonality)
B7 (the dominant in e minor - extend it with a flat 9 and see if you like it
F#m7b5 (the 2 chord in e minor - also called f# half diminshed)

If all this stuff makes you feel lost or confused then email me and ill recommend some good books for you which will develop your musicianship and compositional/improvisational skills.
#8
Quote by BoogieShinbones
Everything is context in terms of chord progressions. No chords exist in a vacuum. Whether the composer is aware of it or not pretty much every chord you play and every sound or harmony you can imagine can be defined through how it pertains to a particular key. Once you understand the concept of keys and how different chords function within different keys, you will be more able to get straight to the sounds you are after without having to grope around in the dark trying to find chords to fit.

Believe it or not all the chords you have chosen are diatonic (meaning "within the key") of E major.
A is the 4 chord (or subdominant) of E maj
C#m is the 6 chord of E maj
B is the 5 (or dominant chord) of e maj
and f#m is the 2 chord.

If you want to get a darker kind of vibe to your tune, then you need to consider writing your chord progressions within a minor key tonality. Perhaps if you did the same chord progression in the key of e minor rather than e major you would get this:
Am7 (the 4 chord of e minor)
C7 (acting as the 6 in minor tonality)
B7 (the dominant in e minor - extend it with a flat 9 and see if you like it
F#m7b5 (the 2 chord in e minor - also called f# half diminshed)

If all this stuff makes you feel lost or confused then email me and ill recommend some good books for you which will develop your musicianship and compositional/improvisational skills.

But if you just repeat this chord progression, it's not in E major. There are no E major chords in it so it's most likely not in E major. Don't just look at diatonic chords and try to find a key that fits them. Listen to the progression. IMO it sounds like F# minor.
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

Gear

Bach Stradivarius 37G
Charvel So Cal
Fender Dimension Bass
Hartke HyDrive 210c
Ibanez BL70
Laney VC30
Tokai TB48
Yamaha FG720S-12
Yamaha P115
#9
Funny, cause to me it sounds definitely in C# minor.

Especially if I play:

A5 - C#5 - B5 - F#5 - C#5 (drone)

But music is open for interpretation. If i was the composer I'd notate it in C# minor instead of F# minor.
#10
Quote by Rensa
A C#m B F#m

-5--4------2---
-5--5--4--2----
-6--6--4--2---
-7--6--4--4---
-7--4--2--4---
-5---------2---

Is it the b3? I want to write a sad song, but i cant understand what makes the chord progression sad, i know minor chords are sad, but for some reason they sound sadder followed by a major chord, or the way around. Can anyone smarter explain?

I wouldn't describe it so much as sad as 'weak' (as in lacking a strong direction) myself; there're no dominant movements (V-I), which are the strongest way to say "this is the tonic". There's one subdominant (B to F#m) movement, which is the next strongest, so I'd say we're probably in F# minor just going by the chords. The i-III movement after the tonic is not a particularly powerful movement, III-II is reasonably strong though- it wants to keep going to the A and you get it there. If you were to voice it with an energetic bassline and make it so the chords move around more pitchwise you could easily make it a 'happy' piece though, see MaggaraMarine's post. There's a nice little A-G#-rest-F# movement in the top of the chords, which reinforces the idea of F# being where we're trying to be- that's just moving straight down from the third to the root of the scale.
That's just my interpretation though; most of the feeling in a song is not in the progression but the melodies, tempo, time signature and lyrics.
#11
Quote by MaggaraMarine
But if you just repeat this chord progression, it's not in E major. There are no E major chords in it so it's most likely not in E major. Don't just look at diatonic chords and try to find a key that fits them. Listen to the progression. IMO it sounds like F# minor.

I can see why you are confused. You dont see an E maj chord so you think it cant possibly be in E right?
You need to learn about the concept of diatonic harmony.
The word "diatonic" mean "within the key". When you are playing or writing in a particular key, essentially you are choosing a certain selection of notes. To play any notes outside of the particular collection means that you are no longer playing within the key.
IN the case of the key of E major, you get these notes:
E F# G# A B C# and D#
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
using these notes and these notes only, you get this selection of basic triads:

Emaj = E G# B (this is the tonic chord)
F#m = F# A C# (the ii chord)
G#m= G# B D # (the iii chord)
A maj= A C# E (the IV or subdominant)
B maj = B D# F# (the V chord or the dominant)
C#min = C# E G# (the vi chord)
D#dim= D# F# A (the vii chord)

the chord progression is actually:
IV, vi, V, ii (or 4,6,5,2) in the key of E maj.

If you dont believe me...try improvising using the E major scale and you will find that it fits over every chord in the progression.

You could also try using A Lydian, C#aeolian, B mixolydian and F# dorian too over each of the respective chords.

In the end, its all the same stuff - because all these chords and modes are "diatonic" to the key of E major.
#12
Quote by MopMaster
I wouldn't describe it so much as sad as 'weak' (as in lacking a strong direction) myself; there're no dominant movements (V-I), which are the strongest way to say "this is the tonic". There's one subdominant (B to F#m) movement, which is the next strongest, so I'd say we're probably in F# minor just going by the chords. The i-III movement after the tonic is not a particularly powerful movement, III-II is reasonably strong though- it wants to keep going to the A and you get it there. If you were to voice it with an energetic bassline and make it so the chords move around more pitchwise you could easily make it a 'happy' piece though, see MaggaraMarine's post. There's a nice little A-G#-rest-F# movement in the top of the chords, which reinforces the idea of F# being where we're trying to be- that's just moving straight down from the third to the root of the scale.
That's just my interpretation though; most of the feeling in a song is not in the progression but the melodies, tempo, time signature and lyrics.

The reason the progression sounds somewhat "ambiguous" is that it never resolves to the I chord - which in this case is E major. All the chords in the progression are diatonic to E maj.
So the progression is IV, vi, V, ii = hence the lack of resolution
#13
Quote by deHufter
Funny, cause to me it sounds definitely in C# minor.

Especially if I play:

A5 - C#5 - B5 - F#5 - C#5 (drone)

But music is open for interpretation. If i was the composer I'd notate it in C# minor instead of F# minor.

This is an interesting one.
C minor is the relative minor of E major. Actually all the chords in the progression are diatonic to E major even tho no e major chord is played (hence the floaty, ambiguous sound of the progression).
However there are two reasons why its not in C# minor.
Firstly, there is no leading note - the B chord in the progression makes this explicit.
Secondly there is no dominant chord to the C# (which in this case would be G#7).

Every chord in every tune has a place in a wider scheme of things in that it has a function within a key. This progression is actually textbook diatonic harmony in E major. The only thing thats messing you guys up is that there are no E major chords in the progression.

However, given that C#m is the relative minor of E maj, you are definitely warmer than looking at it as F#min.
Last edited by BoogieShinbones at May 13, 2013,
#14
Quote by Rensa
A C#m B F#m

-5--4------2---
-5--5--4--2----
-6--6--4--2---
-7--6--4--4---
-7--4--2--4---
-5---------2---

Is it the b3? I want to write a sad song, but i cant understand what makes the chord progression sad, i know minor chords are sad, but for some reason they sound sadder followed by a major chord, or the way around. Can anyone smarter explain?

Rensa, what your discovering here is the phenomenon of different chord voicings or inversions . Every major and minor chord has its parallels of one another sharing common tones , depending on which aspect your looking at them from you will notice its merely a matter of a single tone change. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parallel_key#Parallel_chord

In functional harmony the tonic ,subdominant , and dominant relationship is what establishes or expresses your tonality depending on what type of voicing you choose. Virtually any chord may become your tonic depending on your type of cadence
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cadence_%28music%29
#15
None of those are inversions...different voicings, yes. Inversions, no.

Edit:
Tbf, none of those chord voicings should be unfamiliar to any guitar player. And an inversion would actually be something like Amaj/C# (even though I hate that notation), because a note other than the root is in the in bass of the chord.
Last edited by crazysam23_Atax at May 14, 2013,
#16
Quote by BoogieShinbones
This is an interesting one.
C minor is the relative minor of E major. Actually all the chords in the progression are diatonic to E major even tho no e major chord is played (hence the floaty, ambiguous sound of the progression).
However there are two reasons why its not in C# minor.
Firstly, there is no leading note - the B chord in the progression makes this explicit.
Secondly there is no dominant chord to the C# (which in this case would be G#7).

Every chord in every tune has a place in a wider scheme of things in that it has a function within a key. This progression is actually textbook diatonic harmony in E major. The only thing thats messing you guys up is that there are no E major chords in the progression.

However, given that C#m is the relative minor of E maj, you are definitely warmer than looking at it as F#min.



Boogie, There's no advantage claiming a diatonic hierarchy over any piece of music unless the song at least provides a cadence on the tonic key of reference .

Major Dominants are not a requirement in minor keys , the leading tone from the 3rd of the minor subdominant to the 5th of tonic generates the resolution.
You often find the dominant or subdominant of any tonic taking on either one of the major or minor profiles and being deceptive with their variant parallels .

In the chord sequence being discussed here one can feel right at home with either C# minor or F# minor as the tonic , although I'd probably go with MaggarMarines claim of F#minor since he sounds most familiar with the piece .
Last edited by TheJasbo at May 14, 2013,
#17
Quote by Rensa
Is it the b3? I want to write a sad song, but i cant understand what makes the chord progression sad, i know minor chords are sad, but for some reason they sound sadder followed by a major chord, or the way around. Can anyone smarter explain?

it sounds sad to you because everything is subjective and that's the way you hear it, nothing more. it may mean that there's a specific harmonic activity here that to you sounds sad, but you'll have to discover it on your own

ignore most of the large toilet bowl of verbal diarrhea sloshing around this thread, why are there so many words anyway
#18
Quote by BoogieShinbones
I can see why you are confused. You dont see an E maj chord so you think it cant possibly be in E right?
You need to learn about the concept of diatonic harmony.
The word "diatonic" mean "within the key". When you are playing or writing in a particular key, essentially you are choosing a certain selection of notes. To play any notes outside of the particular collection means that you are no longer playing within the key.
IN the case of the key of E major, you get these notes:
E F# G# A B C# and D#
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
using these notes and these notes only, you get this selection of basic triads:

Emaj = E G# B (this is the tonic chord)
F#m = F# A C# (the ii chord)
G#m= G# B D # (the iii chord)
A maj= A C# E (the IV or subdominant)
B maj = B D# F# (the V chord or the dominant)
C#min = C# E G# (the vi chord)
D#dim= D# F# A (the vii chord)

the chord progression is actually:
IV, vi, V, ii (or 4,6,5,2) in the key of E maj.

If you dont believe me...try improvising using the E major scale and you will find that it fits over every chord in the progression.

You could also try using A Lydian, C#aeolian, B mixolydian and F# dorian too over each of the respective chords.

In the end, its all the same stuff - because all these chords and modes are "diatonic" to the key of E major.

Sorry but I know a lot about harmony. But even if you can find a key that all of the chords would fit, it's not necessarily the key. You know that what key you are in is all about the key center - where everything resolves to. And to find that you need to listen to the chord progression. You can use non-diatonic chords. I mean, why would this be in E major? Why not C# minor? All the chords are also diatonic to C# minor.

And yeah, you need to have an E major chord somewhere in the song if the key was E major because otherwise it doesn't resolve to E major. There are no E major chords - the tension never releases. So most likely the key center is not E major.

As I said, it could be C# minor but it just doesn't sound like it was in C# minor. IMO it resolves to F# minor. Using a major IV chord in a minor key is pretty usual in pop music.

Also keys and scales are different things. Sometimes when you have lots of non-diatonic chords, there might not be a scale that fits it. But it can still be in one key (no modulations). You don't determine key by just looking at what scale would fit the chords.

What key you are in has a lot to do with rhythm and the time you spend on the chords. Also the order of the chords has to do with it. You could make it sound like C# minor even if you used the same chords but just in different order. For example C#m-B-A-F#m. That would be in C# minor.

OK - I'll test you. It's a Long Way to the Top by AC/DC has chords A, G and D. What key is it in?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZDCs7ijNUVM

Hint: The point is not only to look at it on paper but listen to it. You'll hear the resolution. Which chord feels like "home" in the progression?
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

Gear

Bach Stradivarius 37G
Charvel So Cal
Fender Dimension Bass
Hartke HyDrive 210c
Ibanez BL70
Laney VC30
Tokai TB48
Yamaha FG720S-12
Yamaha P115
Last edited by MaggaraMarine at May 14, 2013,
#19
ACDC. ok. lol. You can test my ears.
im listening to the link....this recording is in Bb.
what has this got to do with the OP's post?
Last edited by BoogieShinbones at May 14, 2013,
#20
Quote by BoogieShinbones
ACDC. ok. lol. You can test my ears.
im listening to the link....this recording is in Bb.
what has this got to do with the OP's post?

Nothing really but I was testing if you understand how you determine a key.

Bb or whatever. They are tuned a half step up or then they sped it up in the studio (so that the pitch went up a half step), dunno. I play it in A and that's how they play it live.

My point was, the TS song can't be in E major because E major is not the key center. It doesn't resolve to E. And key is determined by the key center where everything resolves to. And IMO C# minor doesn't feel like the key center either. You can use non diatonic chords, even though the chord progression could be diatonic in other key. If the key center is something, it really doesn't matter what the other chords are, as long as the progression resolves to the key center. And if it doesn't resolve to the key center, then the key center really isn't the key center, lol.

For example if you have chords C, F and G, the key isn't necessarily C major. It could be in F major (G functioning as a secondary dominant: F-G-C-F I-V/V-V-I) or G major (G-F-C-G: I-bVII-IV-I - used a lot in rock music) too. Or something else depending on what happens after that progression.

You just don't pick a scale and see if the chords fit it. It doesn't necessarily mean it's your key.
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

Gear

Bach Stradivarius 37G
Charvel So Cal
Fender Dimension Bass
Hartke HyDrive 210c
Ibanez BL70
Laney VC30
Tokai TB48
Yamaha FG720S-12
Yamaha P115
#21
Quote by MaggaraMarine

And IMO C# minor doesn't feel like the key center either.


And IMO it does. To me, if I play a high F#m (for example barred at the 9th fret), it doesn't feel like the end station, but it wants to go to E > D#dim > C#m, and we're home.

But please don't try to force your opinion on me or somebody else. You repeated that F#m story a billion times. You can't force me (or anybody else) to hear something I don't.
#22
Quote by deHufter
And IMO it does. To me, if I play a high F#m (for example barred at the 9th fret), it doesn't feel like the end station, but it wants to go to E > D#dim > C#m, and we're home.

But please don't try to force your opinion on me or somebody else. You repeated that F#m story a billion times. You can't force me (or anybody else) to hear something I don't.

Yes, I agree. But I was talking to BoogieShinbones that said it's in E major. Yeah, maybe I shouldn't hijack the thread. It got a bit off topic.

But yeah... Back to my post about the AC/DC song...

It has chords A, G and D (or Bb, Ab and Eb if you want). Those chords would fit G major so BoogieShinbones, why isn't the song in D major? The G major chord isn't diatonic to A major?

Sorry, I couldn't resist.
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

Gear

Bach Stradivarius 37G
Charvel So Cal
Fender Dimension Bass
Hartke HyDrive 210c
Ibanez BL70
Laney VC30
Tokai TB48
Yamaha FG720S-12
Yamaha P115
Last edited by MaggaraMarine at May 14, 2013,
#23
Quote by deHufter
And IMO it does. To me, if I play a high F#m (for example barred at the 9th fret), it doesn't feel like the end station, but it wants to go to E > D#dim > C#m, and we're home.

But please don't try to force your opinion on me or somebody else. You repeated that F#m story a billion times. You can't force me (or anybody else) to hear something I don't.


sure , but the leading tone Diminished is a chord quality of either Sub Dominant
or Dominant and so this Cadence "force" may generate a Tonic "home" when leading to any diatonic chord .
Last edited by TheJasbo at May 15, 2013,
#24
The only aspect we need in a song or cadence is relativity with major/minor tonic, sub dominant and dominant ; any other chord type can be generated from their parallels and can function without having to claim a different diatonic hierarchy http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parallel_chord#Parallel_chord .

Once we are familiar enough with a cadence or chords profile we know the tonal quality it generates and can expect the same results to happen wherever applied . The chord sequence provided by Rensa could serve functional harmony for any major or minor diatonic chord .

................................................. A C#m B F#m
......Maggars key of F#minor tP d S t
.............Rensas key of A major : T (d S)Tp
.......deHuffers key of C# minor : sP (d S)s
.............Boogies Key of E major : S (d S)Sp
........................Key of B Minor dP (d S)d
........................key of D major : D (d S)Dp
Last edited by TheJasbo at May 15, 2013,