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Steve_A's avatar

Music Theory: Need help with chords/song writing?

Asked by Steve_A (5120points) February 3rd, 2010

I have little piece I have been working on…its not much but I need help or ideas with more chords.

I need a very tension chord I think would help to lead into a resolve onto G.

I have G minor, I liked the sound of F5 inverted power chord.

The main melody uses

notes C D D#/Eb F G

I made a notation version which I am not very good with musical reading and all, just a guitar player but maybe it will help understand what I am doing….
http://www.noteflight.com/scores/view/afe8aec0f71fb438e7ea3bbb350cd9b834e40572

Also what is the key signature, I want to say Bb major/G minor would that be right?

If you have any tips or advice on writing/composing I am all ears :)

Thanks.

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35 Answers

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

no clue but I sent the q to my husband who is an expert on these things…he’ll answer it shortly

Steve_A's avatar

Also when I did this I used lose type-arpeggios for the chords when I recorded just lead/rhythm on guitar but it did not sound good on the notation noteflight site not sure if its wise to change that too?

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I love that he got up and checked out all your premises on the keyboard, wrote some notes on his note sheets, etc…

Steve_A's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir is JeanPaul your husband?

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@Steve_A yep and he thinks you’ve got a good grasp on things…he’s working through it now to help make it better for you

Steve_A's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir Oh thats cool! haha should have guessed right? lol….

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@Steve_A oh, gosh no…I am quite tone – deaf…though he doesn’t really think I am…I dance, that’s my talent

JeanPaulSartre's avatar

Hey! Yes, you’re definitely right on the key signature – B flat major. I don’t know if you know this composing trick for chords, but it’s a great one… This is generally how pros will do it, and often how musicians that have never played together will quickly convey the chords of a song. For a Major key song take the roman numerals I ii iii IV V vi vii(dim7) – then apply them across the notes in they key… where the capital numerals are are major chords, and the others are minor (with the exception of the 7th chord which is a diminished 7…) For a minor key you just start at the 6th note and shift everything (with a few changes) so the minor chords are i ii(dim7) III iv V(7) VI VII – maybe kinda confusing so I’ll give you an easy to look at example – key of C – nothing fancy: the chords that will sound “right” together are C Dm Em F G Am Bdim7 – not to say nothing else will work, because others definitely will, but these are the basic chords. For the same key signature, if this is a minor song it we’ll look at Am – the chords would be Am Bdim7 C Dm E7 F G. I hope that all makes sense so far.
So for your song, in Bflat – the chords that might work for you are the Bflat Cm Dm Eflat F Gm Adim7. You could probably just flit through those and see which one has the sound you’re looking for. You may want to notate any “D#” you have as an E flat just so you stay using one or the other. Looks like you’re off to a great start – let me know if you have any questions!

Steve_A's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir oh right on….I am pretty tone deaf myself lol! no really I am I hate it :|....

Steve_A's avatar

@JeanPaulSartre You referring to the chord scale? M mm MM m dim?

Thats a good idea, I should have changed the key signature to make it more simple rather than put flats/sharps in there. ( I was not 100% on the correct key thanks for the confirming)

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@Steve_A dim sum? yeah, it’s pretty delicious…lol..or at least that’s what this discussion sounds like to me…okay, I’m leaving to work now…no more input from the peanut gallery.

Steve_A's avatar

@JeanPaulSartre I guess my current progression is a vii-vi-?

but I think this would be g-minor (but thats just relative key) so would they be considered the same to a degree or note wise right?

But the G note feels like home base here I think….

JeanPaulSartre's avatar

Well just the scale of the key – so the Major scale in this case. So the notes in the Bflat scale are Bflat, C D Eflat F G and A.
Ah, but you’re probably right – this is most likely G minor – so you’re looking at Gm Adim7 Bflat Cm D7 Eflat F (really just a change of Dm to D7)

JeanPaulSartre's avatar

So yeah, so far you’re looking at a i – VII in minor notation. This is really just a guideline – not that it sounds like you’re having any trouble branching out – these are just chords that sound “right” because they use notes that are in the scale.

JeanPaulSartre's avatar

It’s easiest to see why it works on a piano/keyboard in the key of C, it’s just playing incremental chords on the white keys, which you probably already know are the notes in the C scale.

Steve_A's avatar

Hm i – VII I hear the D7 can become dominate chord gives a lot of tension if I remember from my teacher correctly….but not sure if thats how I want to fit it in…

Yes the C major scale all natural notes you can’t mess it up haha :D

JeanPaulSartre's avatar

Oh, totally – but it’s just a matter of how you want it to sound.

Oh yeah – when I’m working on the electric keyboard, a lot of times when I’m first writing I’ll transpose the keyboard so I can play it in “C” so I don’t have to think quite so much – then make it “right” later so I don’t lose my piano chops ;)

Steve_A's avatar

@JeanPaulSartre Oh thats true very good idea….

Do you play anything else? I use to mess with the alto sax but I have not picked it for a year now because they cost so much to buy a new one argh….

Steve_A's avatar

I think I will go back and work with the ideas you gave me, do you mind if I leave a PM if I need help or questions?

JeanPaulSartre's avatar

I play guitar mostly, and do better than I should at piano. I used to play violin, but I could probably just scrape by at it anymore.
Yeah, feel free to contact me anytime!

Cruiser's avatar

Nice sounding song and I wish I had the time and instrument to pitch in here….I am on the road till Sat!

Jack79's avatar

I’d go for a Dm7 in your case, but it depends on what you want. The obvious chord to use just before the G is a D (not Dm). But if your note is F, then why not Dm7?

You could also transpose to C, using F, G and eventually C.

But this is only a basic theoretical model. Each song has its own dynamics and it’s all about what you want it to sound like. There’s no “right” and “wrong”, just some basic guidelines. I stick to simple melodies and try to focus on the lyrics, but then again I don’t consider myself to be a composer (or even a proper guitarist for that matter).

Strauss's avatar

The D7 leading up to the Gm sounds awesome. You can’t go wrong with a Dominant Seventh leading to the tonic minor, unless you’re trying something more unconventional or experimental.

@JeanPaulSartre I like your ideas a lot.

Steve_A's avatar

It seems my writing ability has left me for the time being lol, still noodling around with things hehe.

p8prclip's avatar

A7#9#5 to D7#9#5 to g-
Not sure how jazzy you want it to sound, but if it’s crunch your looking for here’s some Colon-Blow for ya:)

Strauss's avatar

@p8prclip pretty, jazzy chords!

28lorelei's avatar

Nice piece:)
Great chords, only a few minor things to consider: F minor chord is spelled F A flat C, so it’s easier to understand if you convert those G sharps into A flats.
Another thing: Did you know that tenor sax is a transposed instrument? If you write a C on the staff, it will come out sounding as an E flat. Don’t ask me why, I know it’s some sort of old thing that just got left behind and wasn’t changed, but it confuses me too sometimes.

If I were you and I were to continue to write that song, I think that would make an awesome intro and you could get a beat going right where what you have written ends. Have a melody similar to what you have written. Just some ideas. But I love what you have down. Great stuff!

Strauss's avatar

@28lorelei transposed instruments are based on the natural tonic of the instrument. Example: a trumpet is considered a B-flat instrument because if you play a “C” on it, you actually hear a “B-Flat”. An E-flat Alto Sax sounds an E-flat when you play a “C”.

28lorelei's avatar

@Yetanotheruser so why not just call the B flat a B flat and the E flat an E flat? Yeah, I understand that it might make it harder for the player, but it’s confusing is all.

Strauss's avatar

@28lorelei Probably because of 100+ years of teaching tradition and publishing. To start a change like that would be like changing the official language of the US to German.

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