#1
Basically, I'm writing material with my friend - he goes totally by ear and sometimes this results in some accidental, odd chords (or at least, they're odd when I transcribe them to guitar)


However, he naturally just seems to get good progression where the melody is within them.


I'm looking for information on the function(s) of a chord within a key and how to use/substitute chords.


I'm interested in getting away from standard guitar chords and I'm not trying to split my thinking - the bass will be the piano left hand, the guitar the piano right hand and write songs this way.


With that in mind, can anyone recommend guitarists who write in this realm and provide links on chord function and substitutions - my theory knowledge is okay, enough to talk the lingo and comprehend it.
#2
Jazz is where you'll find the clearest example of substitution and other harmonic concepts that apply in other popular styles. Classical music is where you'll get the best information on voice leading and subtleties of harmonic function.

Harmony, broadly, is what you're asking about, and that's a huge concept. Just picking something and start digging.
#4
Quote by rocknrollstar
Basically, I'm writing material with my friend - he goes totally by ear and sometimes this results in some accidental, odd chords (or at least, they're odd when I transcribe them to guitar)


However, he naturally just seems to get good progression where the melody is within them.


I'm looking for information on the function(s) of a chord within a key and how to use/substitute chords.


I'm interested in getting away from standard guitar chords and I'm not trying to split my thinking - the bass will be the piano left hand, the guitar the piano right hand and write songs this way.


With that in mind, can anyone recommend guitarists who write in this realm and provide links on chord function and substitutions - my theory knowledge is okay, enough to talk the lingo and comprehend it.


My suggestion is start with listing the notes of all chords in a key. Knowing all the notes that make up a triad or 4 part chord, gives you insight into function, by seeing the similarities of notes from one chord to the next. This gives you clues as to functions.

Why for example is Am7 a good substitute for a C major? If you know your chords and notes and understand cadences, chord movement, and the basic thought how chords either move away the tonic or back to it, then you can begin to generally not only categorize them as functions, but also as harmonic substitutions.

Those would be my tips for you. Good luck!

Best,

Sean
#5
Quote by Sean0913
My suggestion is start with listing the notes of all chords in a key. Knowing all the notes that make up a triad or 4 part chord, gives you insight into function, by seeing the similarities of notes from one chord to the next. This gives you clues as to functions.

Why for example is Am7 a good substitute for a C major? If you know your chords and notes and understand cadences, chord movement, and the basic thought how chords either move away the tonic or back to it, then you can begin to generally not only categorize them as functions, but also as harmonic substitutions.

Those would be my tips for you. Good luck!

Best,

Sean



Hello Sean, thanks for your response. This is a great idea and feels comfortable for me - going to start later today with typical chord progressions and then seeing what I can substitute.


Quote by cdgraves
Jazz is where you'll find the clearest example of substitution and other harmonic concepts that apply in other popular styles. Classical music is where you'll get the best information on voice leading and subtleties of harmonic function.

Harmony, broadly, is what you're asking about, and that's a huge concept. Just picking something and start digging.



It's a shame, it's only in rare occasions I listen to jazz and classical - it seems to take alot out of my attention span. Any recommended listens that would enrich harmonic subs knowledge?


Quote by wolflen
try ted greene's site....all you ever wanted to know about chords and more

http://forums.tedgreene.com/



Will check this out as well.Thanks for the responses folks, much appreciated.
#6
Yes, Jazz and Classical music have a lot of harmony things but you don't have to go that far(?) to learn harmony.

Some rock or popular bands have a great deal in harmony, Pink Floyd, The Beatles, Led Zeppelin. Listen how sometimes they use major scales and then their minor relatives. Listen about extended dominants, how tension works on chords, seventh chords, some songs have really good cadences, etc.

But if you go to Jazz, Bossa nova or classical you'll have lots and lots of material to work on.

PS: Oh and yes you can grab some books, Enric Herrera has two pretty volumes about harmony, then you can check the berklee harmony books, and whatever you can found just try the things and use the ones you like.
Last edited by SrThompson at Apr 13, 2014,
#7
Quote by rocknrollstar
It's a shame, it's only in rare occasions I listen to jazz and classical - it seems to take alot out of my attention span. Any recommended listens that would enrich harmonic subs knowledge?



I would start with some classic jazz stuff like Louis Armstrong, Ella Fizgerald. If you're looking for the theory part, get started reading charts. It'll force you to learn and use fuller harmonies. The big thing, harmonically, in jazz is that it moves through a number of distinct harmonies, but uses a very compact form to do it.

With classical, you should start with learning to read and play/sing some of it. Early "common practice" music like Bach and Haydn are, literally, textbook examples for the foundations of Music Theory. Spoiler: it's like 90% about voice leading. Voice leading is the basic concept that outlines harmonic function, and will help you understand the melodic aspect of harmonic motion.
#8
Quote by SrThompson
Yes, Jazz and Classical music have a lot of harmony things but you don't have to go that far(?) to learn harmony.

Some rock or popular bands have a great deal in harmony, Pink Floyd, The Beatles, Led Zeppelin. Listen how sometimes they use major scales and then their minor relatives. Listen about extended dominants, how tension works on chords, seventh chords, some songs have really good cadences, etc.

But if you go to Jazz, Bossa nova or classical you'll have lots and lots of material to work on.

PS: Oh and yes you can grab some books, Enric Herrera has two pretty volumes about harmony, then you can check the berklee harmony books, and whatever you can found just try the things and use the ones you like.


I did go through a phase of analyzing Beatles songs. I think I'll analyze the whole of Revolver - that way it's fun, but I won't mind listening to it over and over. For some reason that album never seems to burn out for me. I also have the sheet music for it in a book somewhere.

Would extended dominants be things like V/V type ideas? e.g. G7>C7>F

Will check into the aforementioned books.

Quote by cdgraves
I would start with some classic jazz stuff like Louis Armstrong, Ella Fizgerald. If you're looking for the theory part, get started reading charts. It'll force you to learn and use fuller harmonies. The big thing, harmonically, in jazz is that it moves through a number of distinct harmonies, but uses a very compact form to do it.

With classical, you should start with learning to read and play/sing some of it. Early "common practice" music like Bach and Haydn are, literally, textbook examples for the foundations of Music Theory. Spoiler: it's like 90% about voice leading. Voice leading is the basic concept that outlines harmonic function, and will help you understand the melodic aspect of harmonic motion.



Forgive the stupidity on my parts - charts would be the sheet music with just the chord name in the bar above the music and the musician is free to interpret that as his/her will correct? I'll give Louie a go, I have Coltrane on now and then but I've really got to be in the mood for it - I find it quite busy and overwhelming (but admire the musicianship)


I'll google Bach Common Practice pieces and see what I get.


Again thanks folks, it's good to even have some signposting, it's easy to lose yourself.
#9
Exactly those are the extended dominants (I know the name in spanish so maybe in english it's a different name). Then you also have substitute dominantes I don't know what they are yet exactly I'm going to study them this semester.
You also have diminished chords, I'm a really good fan of these ones, I had to make a song for one assignment using different harmony techniques and the part B was almost pure diminished
#11
Quote by Elintasokas
They are called secondary dominants.



Yes that's it. V/V right?

I'm having a look at Autumn Leaves since it seems to be the most well known jazz standard - see how I get on. Nice piece.


Quote by SrThompson
Exactly those are the extended dominants (I know the name in spanish so maybe in english it's a different name). Then you also have substitute dominantes I don't know what they are yet exactly I'm going to study them this semester.
You also have diminished chords, I'm a really good fan of these ones, I had to make a song for one assignment using different harmony techniques and the part B was almost pure diminished



http://www.thejazzresource.com/substitute_dominant_chords.html << I found this, it seems straight forward but obviously it'll be great learning it in class - you'll get in context examples you'll need to let me know how that goes.

Strange thing is, I know the chords (sometimes) just not how to use them. I learned this diminished chord which I seen in Joe Satriani - Tears In The Rain and that's the extent of my knowledge and use of them (not actually a fan of Joe, old teacher gave me the song for an example)


Do you have your diminished part in audio form at all?
#12
Quote by rocknrollstar
Yes that's it. V/V right?


V/V is a secondary dominant, but a secondary dominant could be other chords besides that. You can have a secondary dominant on any degree of the scale. For instance, you see V/vi, V7/IV and V/ii pretty commonly.

At least as far as classical music goes, I can give you some advice. Lots of people recommend studying species counterpoint. That's great and all, but it's not necessarily a skill that everyone needs to know. It can be quite different to the counterpoint you'll see in action even in most Classical music post 1700, which will almost always operate within a tonal framework. Whilst the rules (or guidelines) overlap substantially with good voice leading practise in general, there are some aspects of each that simply do not apply to the other. However, I'm convinced that almost all the great composers thought contrapuntally rather than harmonically a lot of the time.

With this in mind, I recommend you have a go at writing some 4 part harmony. In things like Bach chorales, the critical relationship is between the two outer lines, the soprano and the bass. The inner voices happen very much as a consequence of what the outer parts do, and are kind of a colouration of the soprano/bass counterpoint. It's always good practise in this kind of writing to write a bass line for a given melody first, and then fill in the other voices. This can of course be trained to the degree that they happen simultaneously in an improvisatory context, although it takes a lot of work. It's much more intuitive to think of harmony as a product of simultaneous lines than as chord, chord, chord, chord, and it produces much classier voice leading choices, even if you don't rigidly adhere to the rules in the end.
Last edited by National_Anthem at Apr 15, 2014,