alee2117
Registered User
Join date: Feb 2012
179 IQ
#1
to clear confusion in the title, I love how original these progressions are & how they sound. The chords used, the form, how it's composed, everything. But there's no way I could think to write something like this. I didn't know if they were using notes from a certain scale, or what. But these progressions are just fantastic. Is there any tips or theory someone here can provide me with to start writing my own stuff like this? I know a bit of theory so no basic stuff. Just how they can get these progressions & think of what chord would go perfect with the other one. I'll post the progressions here.

http://tabs.ultimate-guitar.com/p/punch_brothers/another_new_world_crd.htm

http://tabs.ultimate-guitar.com/p/punch_brothers/me_and_us_crd.htm

a lot of their other stuff sound like this too but the songwriter also has a lot of background in theory & jazz. Just any help at all would be appreciated. Thank you so much.
MaggaraMarine
Slapping the bass.
Join date: Oct 2009
3,412 IQ
#2
"Another New World" was pretty basic minor stuff. It's not all about the chords though. It's about how you arrange the song.

The other song was pretty strange and I couldn't find a good quality recording of it so I'm not going to comment on that.

To compose this kind of songs you just need to use your ears. Listen to what they do and try to hear similar things in your head. OK, it helps if you can analyze their songs. So learn about harmony. That's really important. But as I said, it's not all about the chords. But without knowing anything about chords, it's hard to understand what's happening in the songs. Some other people can post you some links to lessons.
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

Gear

Charvel So Cal
Ibanez Blazer
Yamaha FG720S-12
Tokai TB48
Laney VC30
Hartke HyDrive 210c
alee2117
Registered User
Join date: Feb 2012
179 IQ
#3
Yeah I understand what you're saying. I just get confused how someone can use an Em, E7, & a EmM7 all in the same song. I also have no idea what key the second song is in. I can generally pick out the key pretty easy but in this case it seems there is no key center. But something tells me there is. After researching further I think my answer may be in secondary dominant chords somewhere. I've studied them before but it wasn't very thorough.Is this even close?
alee2117
Registered User
Join date: Feb 2012
179 IQ
#4
Also, I'm 99% sure I'm hearing a key change after that E7 chord on Me and Us (the second link).
alee2117
Registered User
Join date: Feb 2012
179 IQ
#5
If someone could just help me figure out what key "me and us" is in I'm sure I can figure out how he got the progression. I've been studying secondary dominants, modal interchange, & modulation quite extensively the past week now. I just need the key of the song.
HotspurJr
Registered User
Join date: Jul 2011
191 IQ
#6
Quote by alee2117
If someone could just help me figure out what key "me and us" is in I'm sure I can figure out how he got the progression. I've been studying secondary dominants, modal interchange, & modulation quite extensively the past week now. I just need the key of the song.


If you can't figure out the key of the song, then you're going about this all backwards.

What does the key sound like? Where does the harmony sound resolved? If you're stuck with that, listen to where the melody sounds resolved. That might help.

Here's the problem.

You don't compose by applying a bunch of rules and saying "Oh, he got this by modal interchange, plus a secondary dominant, and then he had the idea to modulate," etc.

What I strongly suspect - and, in fact, would bet a large sum of money on - is that the composer of this song has a solid PRACTICAL grasp of those concepts. He recognizes a secondary dominant when he heard one, for example. He knew how to hear a modulation (which you don't, since you can't identify the key this is in).

When you can HEAR music, really hear what's going on, and you immerse yourself in a that style of music, you start to THINK in that sort of music. And then you start to hear things IN THAT STYLE that nobody has written yet, and you WANT to write them.

You don't say to yourself, "This would be an interesting place for a modulation." You say, "it goes like this, and it goes like that ..." and maybe as you figure out what chords you need to play to get those sounds, you realize "Oh, neat, I just modulated." You don't say "hmmmm Em7b5 might be a cool sound here, and it fits the scale" you think "I want that sound, what is that sound? Oh yeah ... this." ANd you play it.

Studying theory is helpful because it teaches you to identify the concepts, but it's only MEANINGFUL if you can identify those concepts IN PRACTICE. Think of theory as a tool to help you acquire that PRACTICAL skill - hearing what's going on.

And then you'll find that, if you're inclined to write music, that you'll write music like this. Without trying.
crazysam23_Atax
Feuergesicht
Join date: Oct 2009
5,710 IQ
#7
Quote by alee2117
Yeah I understand what you're saying. I just get confused how someone can use an Em, E7, & a EmM7 all in the same song.

Well, I'm guessing you figured out what the song resolved to, correct?

To understand how you could have all of those chords in one song, you'd need to understand the difference between diatonic and non-diatonic chords. Diatonic chords are chords built using the notes of the key signature. Non-diatonic chords obviously contain accidentals. You could have any chords in any key, in practice; of course, whether those chords will sound "good" or whatever depends upon the song.
Last edited by crazysam23_Atax at Aug 17, 2013,