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Seriously, look at the post I just posted in this thread:
https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/forum/showthread.php?t=1519870

It's long, but I think it's valuable info.
And to add more

The chords in the key in relation to their tonal centers..

Tonic: I iii vi and V can be parts of tonic, but ultimately, I is the home, center, and most stable chord.
Pre-dominant: IV vi ii all work pretty well.
Dominant: V and vii

This also all goes to minor keys. just remember, the dominant chord is ALWAYS major.

T = tonic; PD = Pre Dominant; D = Dominant
I IV V I = T PD D T
I V vi IV = T T(doesn't go back to tonic) PD PD
I iii vi V = T T T D

The pachelbels progression is just a huge expansion on the Tonic tonality, then the last two chords are PD and D
I V vi iii IV I IV V

The most common movement of chords within a single function (say tonic) is by a 5th
If you have a chord progression going just by fifths you can get
I V ii, but the ii chord is a PD chord and wants to go to V which is dominant, then that wants to go back to tonic.
Not a lot of theory people on Musician Talk seem to mention this. Basic Harmonic Progression Theory.


Our musical language as westerners use "Tonal" theory as the language of music we speak.
Heres an analogy.
Chords, Roman Numerals, Do-re-me-fa-sol-la-ti-do, C-G, Cbmin7b5#13sus9 or whatever you want to call it, this is all like the alphabet of music. But, there are multiple languages that use the same alphabet, like Spanish and English for example.

Now. We speak "Western Tonal Music" I guess you can say, it's what our ears have developed to hear as "good" over time. The PILLARS of tonal music are TONIC and DOMINANT. Think of it as the subject and verb of a sentence in a language. A sentence is only valid when there is a subject and a verb in it.

Think of it like this. You can say "Carrot" over and over again, pretend this is the "tonic" of your sentence. Now, you can say carrot all day. All you're conveying to your reader/listener is CARROT! It's like playing a C major chord for a whole song. Sure, if thats what you want to say, go for it. It works in a really mundane sort of way.

But, you want to make your sentence complete. You need a DOMINANT. The DOMINANT of the key of C is G. Now, you're vocabulary has expanded to being able to say "Carrot" and a verb, lets say "goes".

Carrot goes... Carrot goes to where? Funny you may ask this, because the DOMINANT ALWAYS LEADS BACK TO TONIC. This is also where my language analogy falls apart. Lets just say the tonic always wants to go back to dominant in our ears to make sense.

You can also have preposition phrases that expand on the idea of the tonic, or other filler words or chords that relate to either the tonic or dominant. These are like adjectives and adverbs.

The green carrot (tonic) likes to (leads to the dominant) go to the (dominant) store (resolution).

The three parts of the sentence are like Tonic, Pre-dominant, Dominant, then resolution back to the tonic.

The tonic of a key is characterized by a feeling of "Home". the I chord most specifically.
The Dominant is characterized by a feeling of being far away from "home" and wanting to pull back to the tonic.

Play a C major chord (tonic) and a G7 chord (dominant). Hear how cheesy and powerful this simple progression is? Now lets expand on that.

Chords that are also part of "tonic" usually share common chord tones with the tonic triad. These can either be the iii chord, the vi chord, and sometimes the V chord is used correctly.

So, lets start out a chord progression by outlining the tonic. Our first few bars will be a quick /definition/ of the tonic, and a little expansion upon it. Lets make the first 2 bars of a 4 bar phrase an example of this.
Tonic, a V chord in relation to the tonic, another I chord, then an expansion on the iii chord.
| C G | C Em |

Now it's time to set up the dominant. The best way to do this is to deploy a "pre-dominant". These are chords that harmonize more towards the dominant in a key as opposed to the tonic. These chords are usually the IV chord, but can also be the ii chord or vi chord, use your ear. Lets add on a full bar of pre-dominant chords

The Am is a vi chord, which has notes of the pre-dominant and tonic triads, always works as a good transition. The F chord is your textbook "predominant" chord, which makes you want to lead to the V chord.
C G C Em Am F

Now, its time to add on the tension and resolution. The dominant to tonic resolution. Lets do a G chord the V chord, then make it a V7 chord, G7. Now our full 4 bar (with two chords per bar) progression is as follows

C G C Em Am F G G7

We ended with an EXTREMELY powerful dominant chord, and all you want to hear after playing that G7 is what? TONIC! a I chord.

This is a really basic introduction to tonal music function. Basically, tonal music is a journey from tonic, to dominant, back to tonic. The "rhythm" of the tonic and dominant over time is what helps us feel phrases.

In order to make a good progression, don't just "Pick random chords" until they sound good. Start with a VERY GENERAL idea. 2 bars of tonic, 2 bars of dominant? What about the pre-dominant?

The tonic can move to either the Dominant or Pre-dominant.
Pre-Dominant can either go back to tonic (plagal cadence) or to dominant.
Dominant usually always goes back to tonic (authentic cadence)

You can have 3 and a half bars of tonic expansion, then the last 2 beats of a 4 bar phrase can be Predominant and Dominant, and it'll sound good!

You don't always need predominant, but it usually is good if you're looking for a lot of "motion" in your progression.

If the Dominant doesn't go back to tonic, but instead goes to the vi chord (the relative minor of a key) this is called a DECEPTIVE cadence, it tricks your mind into thinking you're going to go back to a I chord, but instead gives you a different one. deceptive. tricks your ear. lol.

The strongest dominant is a V7 chord. But a V can work to. or even a vii(diminished) chord.

This is all very basic. And if you want, I can continue to explain Changing Keys, Secondary Dominants, Tritone subs, modal mixture, tonicization, chromaticism, anything. I'll try to keep it easy to understand.
This, sir, is magnificent.

You have mastered the art of development. Congrats! It takes a lot of patience and hard work to create something that is expansive as this.

You're obviously very skilled in songwriting, this is awesome.

The only crit I'd have is each section, the melody and counter-melody usually don't change much throughout the phrase. Each phrase sounds like a progression outlined by sequences of a similar rhythmic motif. It's a VERY cool effect, but some variety would be cool.

I'm curious, what kind of music background do you have and how long did this take to write?
So, I think anyone who likes music should check out Danzon No 2, by Arturo Marquez... It's a hugeee orchestra playing some epic latin beats in the style of early 20th century orchestral.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3vwZAkfLKK8
kicks out the jam around 2:30

It's not necessarily classical, but it is orchestral to every degree possible.
Okay... I suck with tones and stuff in general, as i've pretty much played my whole life on clean settings. I've recently started getting into stuff that requires lots of distortion.

my question is, how can I make muted percussive strums less... abrasive and noisy? I have a vox ad30vt but i've been mainly playing through my line6 toneport ux2 (with Gearbox.... more options to mess with). The idea i'm trying to get at is in "Peace of Mind" by boston, with the distorted guitar plays the intro chords later in the song. It has this raunchy badass tone but the muted strums are so clean, and I can't figure out how to get that. Any ideas? (I'm pretty much trying to get Tom Scholz tone out of minimal equipment)
Yeah, I'm going for more of a "you can't play it fast unless you can play it slow ABSOLUTELY PERFECTLY" approach.

what exactly is the method behind fingerweights? never really heard of that idea before.
So, I used to be one of those guys who was like "Fast playing is emotionless bullshit, you gotta feel it and play melodically and thats real music!" But after becoming significantly less ignorant, and watching youtube videos of people who put me to shame on skill, I've decided to venture into faster playing, or "shred" if you will.

I've been playing for 8 years, mainly in the Classic Rock, Jazz, and "Jam Rock" fields and I have a more than neccessary understanding of theory, and my improvisational skills are satisfactory for myself (for right now)

But to put it simple, I'm pretty bad when it comes to playing fast notes. I can sweep alright and tapping isn't an issue right now, but my alternate picking is pretty shitty. I've been trying to work just my alternate picking speed.

I've selected the mozarty passages from Scarified (Gilbert) that I want to nail at near the written tempo. When I started my speed practicing, i could pick this completely accurately only at a tempo of 88, and I could get it up to about 100 with playing sloppy. Now, 4 weeks later, I can play it pretty damn clean at around 104 and really sloppy (but intact) around 114. Written tempo is at 140

My problem is, I can't seem to get any faster than this, and my progress is seemingly stagnant. I've been practicing for multiple hours a day exclusively with a metronome. I need some advice on technique and mental ideas that can break the barrier between, pretty fast, and REALLY FAST! I'm getting very frustrated because of of the past 2 days i've seemed to make negative progress, not being able to keep up with my performance from the previous day. I'm currently trying to focus on efficiency of finger movements, and 0 tension in the picking hand.

TL;DR: How to get over what seems to be a mental block in developing speed? How long should I expect results (140) to take at this rate?
I actually like it as the tonic...
Chords are much easier than intervals to define IMO

You just have to listen to the tendency tones 4>3 and 7>1

It's extremely difficult to explain in words, but experiment with playing chords and listening to the 4th and 7th scale degrees resolving to 3 and 1 respectively.
I know if I hear the 4 and hear the need for it to resolve down, I'm listening to either a IV, V7, ii, or rarely a vii. Then from there I can just kind of tell if the chord is in the Bass, part of a dom7th chord, and eliminate them very quick.
If you hear the 7th scale degree wanting to resolve, I can assume its during a V chord, iii Chord, or rarely a vii chord. You just have to listen for the tones, and if both of them are there, you've got yourself a nice little V7 chord about to cadence to a I. This may or may not help you, but it helped me a lot in class when I was learning chord identification.
This is the method I use, and it takes practice, but makes it extremely easy.

Also, Learn about chord functions, Tonic, Pre-Dominant, and Dominant functions. It's easier than it sounds.
moving to a non diatonic note as the root of the next chord.

bass movements by a tritone are awesome

putting a #4 on top of a really thick triad chord

Theres lots of things that can give a formula epic sound... just gotta figure them out.

I used a Dm B F A progression that seems epic to me, might not to you. It's all relative

in movie scores, though, a lot of the epic moments aren't via chord changes, it comes from really good counterpoint writing.

edit: ASk the Musicians Talk forum, they know lots (occasionally)
Yeah, it does sound like boston. Pretty sure those are the chords to Peace Of Mind now that I look at it.
I had a lot of fun writing this. Theres elements of jazz, classical, and metal all up in this bitch.

It's not completely finished, i'm gonna be working on a B theme. I've only started working on this earlier tonight and just feel like getting immediate feedback, and I WILL return the crit with equal depth.

Theres no name for it yet... suggestions?
Umm... Musicality has almost nothing to do with theory.

This is coming from my studies as a Wind Instrument player, not guitar.

Musicality is when a performer not only gets the right rhythm, pitch, and tone, but also pays detailed attention to the contour of a musical phrase, following the rising and falling dynamics, playing the necessary articulations, and adding agogics to the phrase.

Guitarists in general focus so much on the technical and theoretical side of things, that the pure quality of playing musically is lost in translation. Guitars do have dynamics, you know, not just a knob on the guitar or amp. They are also capable of multiple styles of articulation.

In my opinion, a guitarist is great because of his musicality, not his technical skill. Anyone can sit and practice speed and accuracy, but playing with great musicality is something that is often lost and seldom practiced, and only the great show the characteristics of a true musical performance.
heres some info you can actually use.

yeah. You got your minor, major, diminished chords and stuff and thats all fun and dandy.

But each of these have 3 different types of "function". Each musical phrase (4 bars, 8 bars, everytime your progression repeats or w/e)

The 3 different types are Tonic. Pre-Dominant. and Dominant. (not to be confused with scale degree terminology, like Subdominant and mediant and such)

In most chord progressions that sound good. You go from Tonic. To Pre-Dominant. To Dominant. Back to Tonic. Pre-dominant is not always neccessary.

Usually "Tonic Chords" refer to the Tonal center Chord. The tonic means "Home" roughly. Where you start and want to end. Home. It's nice. Tonic chords usually sound nice. It's almost always the "I" or "i" chord. But not always. If you want more than 1 tonic chord, good substitutes are Your vi chord or your iii chord.

The "Pre-dominant" Chords usually come after the tonic chords, after establishing a good ol' key. Usually a "IV" chord defines this, but not always. This chord function precedes the "dominant"... hence "pre-dominant". It sets up the tension for your tension-release type of progression. You usually want to have a IV chord if you're using a predominant, but you can also use a vi or a ii.

Your dominant chord, (not dominant 7th, not necessarily the dominant chord, but the function known as "dominant"), Is your tension chord before you want to resolve it and start over, or bring it home. your V is the best chord to use for this, its incredibly common. So common, in fact, that it sounds cheesy most of the time. You can use a variation of a vii chord or even a iii chord in place of your V chord. When set up properly, they have enough "common chord tones" to get the same idea across without sounding like mozart.

SOOO!!! You're probably going "wtf does that mean?" by now. Well heres a little example and clarification.

You have 7 diatonic chords in a key. Each of them have a function when used in a certain way.

I = tonic. almost always. I means tonic.
ii = usually a predominant, not used so much as other chords
iii = Can function as either tonic or dominant, depending on what comes before it
ex) I IV iii V I .... the iii works as a dominant chord
ex) I iii IV V I .... the iii works as an extension of the tonic.
IV = Pre-dominant, sets up dominant. not always neccessary but is very common.
V = dominant, almost always goes back to tonic or I, unless you want to be all sneaky and deceptive
vi = Your vi chord is similar to the iii chord. It can function as a tonic expansion or pre-dominant expansion. It usually sounds sad and is used a lot in rock songs just cause its so versatile. It can even allude to the "relative minor", but thats another lesson
ex) vi I IV V I .... the vi works as the initial tonic
ex) I vi IV V I .... the vi works kind of like tonic expansion transitioning into pre-dominant
ex) I IV vi V I .... The vi works as a predominant expansion
vii(dim) = It's not used much, technically its used as a dominant function. In jazz its there all the time. Rock it sounds too... gross. mess with it and you'll see why.

Okay. heres a little more info.
You can have as many chords as you want before you hit your final dominant. Especially in bach and mozart and The Flaming Lips (and everything in between, srsly), theres a lot of whats called "tonic expansion". You can play a I v vii vi iii I v ii vi and it will sound like its not going anywhere cause nothing really shouts "RESOLVE ME!" Yet. Each "phrase" has only 1 functioning dominant, and is preceded by either the tonic expansion, or a pre-dominant.

This is the theory and explanation in actual theory terms as to what chords sound good together. This is still INCREDIBLY BASIC AND I'M LEAVING A LOT OUT SO DON'T JUMP DOWN MY NECK IF YOU THINK I'M WRONG.

Lets analyze some songs you probably know..

Snow (hey oh) RHCP
G#m E C# F# is the main progression throughout the song. in the key of E major.
vi I IV V
The G#m is the vi chord functioning as an initial deceptive tonic, and goes into the actual tonic as "tonic expansion". Then the C# chord is pre-dominant IV chord then the F# functions as a dominant V, then it starts over using a "deceptive cadence". Sweet, huh?

EDIT: Ignore my example. I'm ****ed up on cough medicine and got the progression wrong. Still good to look at though to get an idea.

I've gone on for way too long. someone say something if you think i'm crazy, or brilliant, or explaining it wrong. If you want more explanation let me know. I love helping with theory.
If you start a band and you make it big. Congratulations! You've made a career in music with out studying! Goodluck!

But you want to be a music major. Going to SCHOOL for MUSIC. Not GUITAR. In a scholarly world, music is studied as an academic. You'll be in the same theory classes as trumpet players, singers, piano players, clarinet players, cello players, and everything in between. If the teacher wants to describe a chord structure, chances are they will not show it to you in guitar tablature. That's like saying you want to learn French, but you get pissed off when your teacher asks you to read French.

In reality your BASIC theory course will involve 4 part writing for soprano, alto, tenor, and bass voices. You will have to write 4 part harmony with individual lines between the voices using a series of rules that guitarists usually don't even know about. The vocalists look at this and are like "duh, thats easy." But when the teacher gets to chord notation in the modern century, when asked what a Cdim7 is, the guitarist is like "duh, simple" and the vocalists appear to be lost. The purpose of theory is to get an understanding of music as a whole as it is not applied to your instrument.

You cannot major in music without becoming very, very proficient in standard notation.
A lot of songs by the bands you listed are long extended vamps between 2 chords. A lot of them are modal, but not to a degree where it becomes immensely technical. A lot of Phish songs, for example, go | V > IV | for nearly the whole song, sometimes going | vi > V | for a "B" section. The way Trey (guitarist) approaches soloing to these types of jams is to switch different scales that fit the 2 chords often to create different types of feels, and tension/release moments. A good song that illustrates exactly this is "Run like an Antelope" by phish... a completely instrumental jam.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fDt2CKFTsQc&feature=PlayList&p=A156B74212454BE1&index=0&playnext=1
from about 2:20 on is what I'm talking about.
Saying it out loud, with a funny accent. It helps, because it makes you uniquely hear the lines, and is easier to commit to memory.

Also, read a line, look away from the page, and try to say it. If you can't, read it again, try it again. repeat till success.
Quote by acoustielectric
You assume that the other notes are there. When you say G7 you don't assume that the chord has only G and F in it do you? otherwise I wouldn't say that there is no 5th.


You apparently don't understand the function of a sus chord. A sus4 is a suspension, it REPLACES the 3rd with the 4th in order to create anticipation towards it resolving back down. a Bbsus4 is Bb Eb F, there is no D in it.

The correct answer is Bbadd4(no 5th).
Quote by acoustielectric
Bbsus4 with no 5


It also contains the 3rd though. Bbsus4 with no 5th is just Bb and Eb. This has a D in it too, so it's the Bb D major 3rd, with the Eb in there to create a suspension OVER the 3rd, then the Bb on top makes the dissonance more blended into the chord.
Bbadd4(no5th), right?

You're playing a Bb major chord, but with the 4th scale degree in there too, which creates the dissonance against the 3rd, but since it's a suspension, it just sounds pretty. Also, you left the 5th out, which in this case would only create more dissonance against the 4th, being only 1 step away.
See the link to my lesson in my signatue. it's easy to understand and very useful
This discussion has strayed from the original point. You guys are arguing the stereotypical UG "OMG EMOTION IS BETTER THAN SHRED" that is on every board on this site. It's a valid argument from both ends, but not appropriate for the thread.

The main point was about the songwriting, not the performance of modern music. He argued that people play guitar for the sake of playing guitar, and not for the sake of art or writing music. Most rock music from the past decade or so seems to be just "going through the motions" of making songs, with little or no ingenuity, and people use the same formulas over and over again.

In my opinion, people have blurred the line between being a performer and being an artist. That's what we should be discussing. Why is nobody pushing the envelope anymore? Or maybe a bit more refined question: Why are the people pushing the envelope ignored?
Quote by consecutive e
35%? Really? I didn't even know people did that. Well like I'm not surprised they do but I've never heard anyone talk about it.


did you know that 85 percent of people in the pit will believe made up statistics?

now you know.
I live my life by my motto of "Don't be a statistic".. as in don't do stupid **** that ends up on the news. Stuff like "35% of teens have tried huffing acetone" or "18% of college students become dropouts" or "99% of teens have moved onto rap music".

So yeah, I aim to be average. I suck at life but it's workin out great for me.
*disclaimer: I have not read this entire thread... TL;DR

Something I've realized about a lot of modern music, no matter if it's popular or not, has lost the concept of "art". In my opinion, music is the greatest of all the arts because it can appeal to emotions that aren't accessible by any other medium. It seems to me that most music considered "modern" has lost that concept, even though there are exceptions.

Basically, I don't care if your song is brutal, I don't care if your song uses every mode, key and time signature, I don't care if you can play 80 notes per second, I don't care for the tone of your solo, I don't care for "catchy" riffs, I don't care if the song was "written about you", I don't care for cheesy showmanship, I don't care about your groovy bass line, what I look for in music is something that can tell me a story without words, something that I can lose my mind in, something that can nearly bring me to tears, something that can inspire me, something that can use sounds to create different feelings and emotions, not words. There are other emotions besides "happy" and "sad" or "brutal".

If someone can paint a portrait of someone with the highest detail and quality, they are a great painter.
If someone can paint abstractly to fascinate you and evoke your emotions and thoughts, they are a great artist.
thanks a lot, icronic, good insight. I'm workin on changin a few things you pointed out.

the transition into the fast parts was meant to be kinda "in the middle of something", I wanted it to sound like something you couldn't help was taking you someplace new, and the guitar solo (especially bars 45-46) was meant to feel like things were getting more hectic, troubling, and stuff like that... im sure you know what I was goin for. the "impact" is my favorite thing I've written ever, I think, glad you liked it

I tried to crit your song, but I seriously found nothing wrong with it... seriously.
I'm writing this back for your in-depth critique you gave me.

I said I'd write back with equal depth, but I seriously have nothing to say to improve this, or anything i'd change. It's funky as hell. That slap bass is just great, and the solos are awesome as well. you could definitely make it as a song writer.
Okay, so I wrote this arrangement of a solo acoustic guitar song I wrote a few months ago. The goal of the song was to give it a feel of wanting to go home, or missing something.. or something to that effect. I have a vocal melody, but it's not included, as my friend is still coming up with the lyrics (I suck at those). The approach I had with the parts is I wanted everything to be as simplistic as possible, but have a lot of layers of independent parts. The fast sections are meant to feel like your "traveling" to a different stage in your life, and you "crash" into something new, or old. I kept it playable for a 4 person group, cause I actually aim to play this at gigs and stuff. The last "fast part" where it fades out is meant to be a full out jam session that lasts a lot longer than written, and with improvised more interesting parts. The song is still nameless, since the lyrics aren't quite in yet.

Anyways, here it is. This is definitely C4C, and I'll return the crit for equal or greater depth. I'm looking on things to improve on, especially in terms of transitions and layering ideas.

No RSE
This song is awful.

cool chord progression in the prechorus though.

and after listening to it, the last chord sounds like an open 5th chord, not major nor minor.

i could be wrong though, just an observation about the last chord in that prechorus sequence.
homeward bound?
I want a girl with a short skirt and a looooooooooooong jacket.
hey, I'm a guitarist who somehow has a knack for slap bass. I improv slap a lot and just make up grooves but after a while they end up all sounding the same and flea-ish. Anybody got a link or song suggestion for some new slap ideas? I like the really rhythmical stuff, and I'm just looking for quick little riffs to throw in my improv. I'd like something pretty difficult but nothing thats like, impossible.
seems like hardcore bands like minor7 chords. just from observation, I've seen it fairly commonly.

sometimes maj7 too, just way less often
You can look at the Yazz Chords lesson in my sig, it'll probably help.

Since chords are a combination of notes, the shape can vary as long as it contains the same notes.
Radiohead is the only one worthy of longevity in my opinion. I wrote about 600+ words in a post just now but erased it because I didn't want to get flamed or anything like that.
Breaking the Girl by RHCP is a cool one