#1
I have some lyrics and an idea how I want the song to sound; the kind of mood and emotion to give off. I also have a simple riff to work off of. However, I'm not quite sure where to go from here. I've been reading a lot about chord progressions and I'm not understanding everything entirely.

Just for example:

A riff

E--------------------------------------------------------------------------
B--------------------------------------------------------------------------
G--------------------------------------------------------------------------
D------------------9--11------------------------------9----12--9--11--
A-----9--11--12-------------------------9--11--12--------------------
E---------------------------------------------------------------------------


So that's based off of Gb minor right? I'm trying to get an unexpected/melancoly feeling to it, but not too slow to where it sounds like a mopey song.

Where do I go from here? Do I do a I-IV-V progression based on Gb?
#2
So that's based off of Gb minor right?
It would actually be called F# minor.
Do I do a I-IV-V progression based on Gb?
No. If it was Gb/F# MAJOR a I IV V would work, but since it's F# MINOR a I IV V would clash horribly (or sound bluesy). However, a chord progression is a good idea.

The triads in F# minor are F#m G#dim A Bm C#m D E. Note that C# is often used instead of C#m.
Try playing these chords in different orders to find one you like, or read and learn about chord progressions and how to construct them.
My name is Andy
Quote by MudMartin
Only looking at music as math and theory, is like only looking at the love of your life as flesh and bone.

Swinging to the rhythm of the New World Order,
Counting bodies like sheep to the rhythm of the war drums
#4
you could just play that riff in power chords or octaves. just start on the f# up on the e string. Ideally, you'll want more riffs, a chorus, a bridge, etc.

Just because that riff is in f# doesn't mean you need to stay in F#. Some people like key changes

If you were playing that riff and I was playing along with you I'd play some octaves and then meander off
Last edited by Free Time at Jul 1, 2008,
#5
Well how do you know what to meander off into smoothly?

And for the chord progressions, do you have to play those in the song or what purpose do they serve? I know I sound really stupid....but I'm trying to have someone explain it to me since just reading it isn't helping me get all of it.

Thanks for the replies so far!
#6
Quote by ohhey9040
I'm pretty sure Gb and F# are the same thing, not to be nitpicky, but...
They certainly are the same pitch, but would you rather read/write this:
Gb Ab Bbb Cb Db Ebb Fb
or this:
F# G# A B C# D E
?

Quote by Derk4397
And for the chord progressions, do you have to play those in the song or what purpose do they serve?
No, you don't have to have a chord progression in a song, though I can't think of many songs without a chord progression. Chord progressions create movement. That's incredibly vague, but they are a very large part of music theory, very important to know about.
My name is Andy
Quote by MudMartin
Only looking at music as math and theory, is like only looking at the love of your life as flesh and bone.

Swinging to the rhythm of the New World Order,
Counting bodies like sheep to the rhythm of the war drums
#7
Quote by Derk4397
I have some lyrics and an idea how I want the song to sound; the kind of mood and emotion to give off. I also have a simple riff to work off of. However, I'm not quite sure where to go from here. I've been reading a lot about chord progressions and I'm not understanding everything entirely.

Just for example:

A riff

E--------------------------------------------------------------------------
B--------------------------------------------------------------------------
G--------------------------------------------------------------------------
D------------------9--11------------------------------9----12--9--11--
A-----9--11--12-------------------------9--11--12--------------------
E---------------------------------------------------------------------------


So that's based off of Gb minor right? I'm trying to get an unexpected/melancoly feeling to it, but not too slow to where it sounds like a mopey song.

Where do I go from here? Do I do a I-IV-V progression based on Gb?
I would give it a swing feel (long note, short note, long note, short note....) as it wont sound so mopey that way.

Call your initial phrase, or motif, (the first 5 notes) your A phrase.

Try to find another riff that compliments that riff, like an aswer to the question the first half of that riff is asking. Call this your 'B' phrase.

Also, try not to repeat that same riff without modifications too often, as it might end up sounding like one of those obnoxious pop songs. When I say modifications, I mean like adding or subtracting a note, modulating it (like transposing the whole thing up 4 or 5 scale degrees). Sort of like what you did (and you did it wel). This is still called an A phrase though.

Developing phrases are also important. It's like a psuedo phrase that strengthens your initial phrase. This is done by repeating bit of your phrase (the repeated bits are sometimes modulated), or by inverting the phrase (play it backwards) or by inverting all the intervals. Say your first interval is a diatonic second upwards, to invert it, make it a diatonic second downwards.

Lets take polly put the kettle on as an example. Sing it to yourself now. The first phrase is the A phrase. Than there are two developing A phrases. Than the first phrase is repeated again, and than the A phrase is played again and than a B phrase is introduced. So it goes A Ad Ad A B. See how two simple phrases can be extended interestingly to 5 bars?

Dont follow any pattern too rigidly. Your creativity should come out the most in a melody.
#8
+1 on all of that. Just keep humming it. When u hum the next part figure out how to play it.

one easy way to make it sound a little more full is to play it in octaves
e|-------------------------------------------------------------------------
b|--------------------------------------------------------------------------
g|------------------4--6------------------------------4----7--4--6-------
d|-----4--6--7------------------------4---6--7---------------------------
a|------------------2--4------------------------------2----5--2--4-------
E|-----2--4--5-------------------------2--4--5---------------------------

3rds

e|-------------------------------------------------------------------------
b|----------------3--5--------------------------3--7--3--5--------------
g|--2--4--6-----4--6------------2--4--6-----4--7--4--6--------------
d|--4--6--7----------------------4--6--7--------------------------------
a|--------------------------------------------------------------------------
E|--------------------------------------------------------------------------
#9
Quote by Free Time
+1 on all of that. Just keep humming it. When u hum the next part figure out how to play it.

one easy way to make it sound a little more full is to play it in octaves
e|-------------------------------------------------------------------------
b|--------------------------------------------------------------------------
g|------------------4--6------------------------------4----7--4--6-------
d|-----4--6--7------------------------4---6--7---------------------------
a|------------------2--4------------------------------2----5--2--4-------
E|-----2--4--5-------------------------2--4--5---------------------------

3rds

e|-------------------------------------------------------------------------
b|----------------3--5--------------------------3--7--3--5--------------
g|--2--4--6-----4--6------------2--4--6-----4--7--4--6--------------
d|--4--6--7----------------------4--6--7--------------------------------
a|--------------------------------------------------------------------------
E|--------------------------------------------------------------------------
+1 on octaves and harmonizing in thirds, but I think he's singing that riff (he said he had lyrics). You'd need two voice boxs to sing in octaves, which I highly doubt he/she has.