The Acoustic Guitar Forum

Go Back   The Acoustic Guitar Forum > General Acoustic Guitar and Amplification Discussion > Show and Tell

Reply
 
Thread Tools
  #1  
Old 01-17-2001, 10:31 AM
jdpresto jdpresto is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Posts: 205
Question Chord progression tricks for spicing up your songs?

Hey Taylor fans!:

I have started some very rudimentary song writing in the last couple of weeks and stumbled across a "rule" that I would like to get some input on...

To spice up my chord progressions I was playing around with a book that showed the following (using an example progression):

Take a simple progression:

C | Em | Am | G7

To start things off, you look at the root of any cord (pay no attention to minor, or 7th, or diminished). For example Em.

So you have Em

Just consider it to be E.

Then you can take the 5th cord from that root, make it a dominant 7th and fit it into the progression before that chord.

E. - count off 5 e,f,g,a,b so you have B. Make it B7 and fit it into the progression before that chord

C | B7 | Em | Am | G7.

If you did EVERY cord you would get:

C | B7 | Em | E7 | Am | D7 | G7

Play that, and it really does spruce up your sound (sitka or englemann I am not sure, LOL!) .

Does anyone know if this is absolutely legit, or have anything to add?
________________________________________
________________________________________
The other one I have been experimenting with is the "IV chord Major - Minor.

Take the IV cord in your key, such as this progression:

C | Am | F | G7
I vi IV V7

Then you can just add a minor IV cord:

C | Am | F | Fm | G7

and the minor seems to be a break from your progression, a slowdown point to emphasize a lyric or something.

Any other words of advice, any tricks?


------------------
Jeff Preston
Indianapolis, IN
"All" my gear - http://php.spea.iupui.edu/jdpresto

[This message has been edited by jdpresto (edited 01-17-2001).]
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 01-17-2001, 10:53 AM
J.R. Rogers's Avatar
J.R. Rogers J.R. Rogers is offline
AGF Owner & Founder
 
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: Durango, CO
Posts: 8,196
Post

Thanks, Jeff. I can't wait to play around with this when I get home.

Lots of good info on this forum. Keep 'em coming!

J.R.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 01-17-2001, 04:34 PM
Brett Valentine Brett Valentine is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: NY, USA
Posts: 116
Post

This is absolutely legitimate:
"C | B7 | Em | E7 | Am | D7 | G7"
You're "applying" dominant 7th to each of the chords of the original progression C|Em|Am|G7.

If you will indulge me for a few moments. . .

Each of the chords of the original progression I|iii|vi|V7 in C Major now has it's own personal V7 chord. They're called "applied" because they don't naturally occur in the key of C Major.

Where you originally had I|iii|vi|V7, you now have:
I|(V7 of iii)-iii|(V7 of vi)-vi|(V7 of V)-V7. So, what your music is saying is that while your progression is firmly in C major, just for a moment, "B7-Em" is hinting that you're "passing through" the key of E Minor (B7 - Em is V7 -i in the key of E Minor), and the same thing for "E7-Am" (passing through the key of A Minor). D7-G7 is a special case because that G7 is the V chord of the original key (C major), and that "brings you home again." The cool sounding section is where you go from Em right to E7, and that "pulls your ear away" from the original key.

You can even take the whole thing farther. Try this one:
C | F#m7b5-B7 | Em | Bm7b5-E7 | Am | D7 | G7.


Definitely "takes your ear on a journey." "Fm7b5 - B7 - Em" is that jazz "ii-V7-i" progression in the minor form, and that makes the key of E Minor that much stronger in your ears. The same for "Bm7b5 - E7 - Am" ("ii-V7-i" in the key of A Minor). You don't need to do that for G7 because Am would be the ii chord for G, giving you Am-D7-G7, which is already there.

The neat sounding section here is "C-F#m7b5" because F#m7b5 is seemingly VERY far away from the key of C major, but it connects directly to the key of E Minor, E minor also being the "iii chord" in the key of C major.

Okay, that works on paper, but is definitely the "circuitous" route. To "smooth that out a bit, try:
C | F#m7b5|Bm7b5|E7 | Am | D7 | G7

By getting rid of B7 | Em from the progression, we've created a smoother descending "stair step" sequence in the bass. The "B7" is "hinted at" in the bass motion to E though it never actually appears.

So, we've gone from

C|Em|Am|G7
to
C | B7 | Em | E7 | Am | D7 | G7
by adding a corresponding V7 before each of the original chords of the progression,
to
C | F#m7b5-B7 | Em | Bm7b5-E7 | Am | D7 | G7
by adding a corresponding ii chord before 2 of the V7 chords. We didn't have to add one before the D7 because in the key of G Major, "Am -D7 - G" IS the "ii-V-I" of G Major.

We then "streamlined the progression to:
C | F#m7b5|Bm7b5|E7 | Am | D7 | G7


Okay, to tie in with dropping and substituting chords, here's one more. You could even bypass the original progression and use ONLY the "applied V7's."

So, from the original:
C|Em|Am|G7

you now get:
C|E7|A7-D7|G7
This "moves your ear" from C Major and sits you pretty frimly in G Major, but adding the "7" to the G chord says you're not staying there either, and says you're heading back to C.

Just some ideas on a Wed. afternoon.
Brett


[This message has been edited by Brett Valentine (edited 01-17-2001).]
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 01-17-2001, 06:53 PM
mapletrees mapletrees is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Posts: 3,898
Post

Hi,

jdpresto - When you insert dominant chords into a progression like you mentioned they are known as "Secondary Dominants". You'd be able to find tons of information about secondary dominants on the web.

To find examples in Pop/Rock/Folk/Blues music get the CD and Tablature book for Eric Clapton Unplugged. Secondary dominant chords all over the place. Eat that book up.

Also, check out the music of the Beatles. In My Life, Here There and Everywhere. Again, their music has secondary dominants all over the place.

As far as that other move, you might want to alter what you've got written there to IV-IVm-I or IV-IVm6-I (F-Fm-C or F-Fm6-C in the key of C).

This is a very common move. It happens in the Beatles' In My Life and You Won't See Me for example. Also happens in Roy Orbison's Crying, Bob Dylan's On A Night Like This.

There is a book called The Beatles Complete Scores. It's published by Hal Leonard. The book has every guitar part of every Beatles song (over 1,100 pages) made. It includes authentic tablature and has the strummed parts done out quite well with that rhythm slash(hockey stick) notation. On a couple of the classic acoustic tunes I think perhaps they may have gotten the TAB not quite right in a measure or two. I'm too kind. It's flat out wrong here and there(but not everywhere!). Doesn't detract from the book in the least. I picked the book up from Musician's Friend for $39. Again, it's over 1,100 pages - a steal. If you want time-tested examples of interesting (and easy) progressions and catchy melodies, I don't know how you'd ever top the Beatles.

Enjoy!
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 01-19-2001, 12:33 PM
jdpresto jdpresto is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Posts: 205
Post

Thank you for the input everyone! I am picking up these concepts pretty quickly, though I am trying to be careful to not "gloss over" anything by going to fast. Brett, I tried what you were speaking of with the F#m7b5 insert and loved the sound. All great ideas which I am experimenting with religously.

I really appreciate everyone's input. Any other "lessons" that you would like to throw out ?

And mapletrees, I am all over that Beatles book. It should be in the mail (I hope ).

Hey, should you guys be charging for this? LOL!

Enthusiastically,

Jeff

Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 01-22-2001, 02:27 PM
Camalex Camalex is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Harrisburg, PA USA
Posts: 90
Post

Brett -- great post. Thanks a lot.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 01-22-2001, 09:49 PM
mapletrees mapletrees is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Posts: 3,898
Smile

I had intended to mention it was a good post, also. I apparently forgot. Additionally, I wasn't try to imply to anyone that "secondary" was a more correct term than "applied."
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 01-22-2001, 10:44 PM
mapletrees mapletrees is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Posts: 3,898
Post

Why am I so apologetic? Did I buy a PRS Custom 24 today and hide it from my wife? Feeling guilty.... anyways.....Bass lines Bass lines Bass lines.

Kmart shoppers, we have a special on Bass lines today.

Creating a moving bass line is a good way to sprucajazz the progression also.

For example Bm7b5 going to E7:
the b5 of B is the note F. It would sound nice to have F as a bass note leading to E as a bass note

Another example, E7 going to Am:
The 3rd of E7 is the note G#. So, play the E7 with G# in the bass and let it walk up to the A of Am.

Same thing for the D7 to G:
The 3rd of D7 is the note F# and that will lead as a bass note right up to the G bass.

It in general sounds (and looks!) very "beginnerish" to move your fretting hand around more than you have to. Look in a James Taylor songbook. You'll see 80 bazillion chords (in comparison to most pop music). Then watch him play. He'll play little fragments of chords (taking advantage of the fact that many chords share common tones) and connect the fragments with little walking bass lines. His hands hardly move (although his fingers may look busy). Paul Simon does the same thing.

Ask if you've got questions. I'm tired tonight and the above could have been worded better.

What about suspending the 7ths....Another common move to help get the Taylor sound....

Ask...




[This message has been edited by mapletrees (edited 01-22-2001).]
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 01-23-2001, 12:47 AM
Brett Valentine Brett Valentine is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: NY, USA
Posts: 116
Post

Thanks all,

didn't know if it was new stuff or review for everybody here, tried to walk a line that appealed to both.

Quote:
Originally posted by mapletrees:
I had intended to mention it was a good post, also. I apparently forgot. Additionally, I wasn't try to imply to anyone that "secondary" was a more correct term than "applied."
No problem. Thought about calling them "secondary" but thought "applied" fit the direction I was going. I figured someone would clarify and expand anyway.

Brett

Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 01-23-2001, 03:18 AM
Brett Valentine Brett Valentine is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: NY, USA
Posts: 116
Post

Here's one,
we'll expand upon Mapletrees' moving bass.

Let's take Bm7 E7 A. To review, this is a major "ii-V7-I" progression in the key of A Major.

Okay, what we want to do is create a chromatic descending bass line from B to Bb to A, but we want to get a different sound from what we get using some kind of E7 chord such as E7b9 or E7b5 with the "b5"(Bb) in the bass (we'll get back to E7b5 later).

Instead, let's use Bb7:

so:
Bm7 |E7 |A

becomes:
Bm7 |Bb7 | A

That's called a "TRITONE SUBSTITUTION."

For those going: ". . .huh?. . ." basically what it means is this:

In the E7 chord, G# (the 3rd) and D (the 7th) create a diminished 5th (or augmented 4th), which is called a "tritone."

There's a lot that we can say about the tritone, but what's important about it, for the purposes of this discussion, is that the G# wants to "move up" a half step to the A, and the D wants to move down a half step to C#.

Play the chord progression:
"E7 | A"
Get that "sound" in your ear. . .

Now play the G# - 3rd string/1st fret, and D - 2nd string/3rd fret.

Now move the G# up to A, and the D down to C# at the same time.
You should still get the impression of "E7 moving to A."

(remembering "Doh, re, mi, fa, so, la ti, do," G# to A is "Ti" going up to "Doh," and D to C# is "Fa" going down to "Mi").

Okay, now the fun starts. There are TWO V7 chords that share this tritone:
E7 and the above mentioned Bb7.

In E7, G# is the 3rd and D is the 7th,
but in Bb7, the G# (spelled "Ab") is the 7th, and the D is the 3rd. The reason why it works is that a tritone is "symetrical" (2 "minor 3rds" stacked on top of each other), and so, it can be "flipped upside down."

To review:
original progression:
Bm7 | E7 | A

the E7 is substituted with Bb7 and we get:
Bm7 |Bb7 | A

Let's take it one step further.

First, Bb7 is the V7 chord in the key of Eb Major. . . so let's take a look at a "ii - V7 - I" progression in the key of Eb Major:

Fm7 | Bb7 | Eb.

If we want to get twisted, we can work backward from that Bb7 and add it's "ii chord" to our original chord progression as well.

here's that original progression once again:

Bm7 | E7 | A
(which in A Major is: "ii - V7 - I").

First we substitute Bb7 (which happens to be the V7 chord in the key of Eb Major) for E7:

Bm7 |Bb7 | A
(A Major: "ii - [V7 in Eb Major] - I").

Next, we squeeze in a quick "ii - V7" in the key of the substituted V7 chord:

Bm7 | Fm7 - Bb7 | A
(A Major: "ii - [ii - V7 in Eb Major] - I").


NOTE: everything inside the "[]" is in the new key, and everything outside (on either side of) the "[]" is in the original key.

Basically, we just passed through the key of Eb Major right in the middle of our song in the key of A Major. So because of the tritone G#(Ab) - D, we have 2 seemingly unrelated keys that share a common sound because E7 ad Bb7 are literally related to each other.

Just to be really perverse, let's take this one step even further.

Remember I mentioned Eb7b5? I said we wanted to "get a different sound from what we get using some kind of E7 chord?" Well, check this out.

Let's go back to our progression with the substitution added:

Bm7 | Bb7 | A

We might think it sounds just a bit too "outside" for our progression. . . To make it sound just a bit more like it belongs to the rest of the song, and the key of A Major, we might play a Bb7b5 instead of a Bb7:

Bm7 | Bb7 | A
becomes:
Bm7 | Bb7b5 | A

. . .do you see why? Don't worry if you don't. . .

Let's spell out the notes in the Bb7b5 chord:
the "b5" is "Fb"(sounding the same as "E"), so we have:
Bb, D, Fb, Ab.

Now, let's shift things a bit and respell it:
E(Fb), G#(Ab), Bb, D.

Bb7b5 (Bb, D, Fb, Ab) has the EXACT same sound as Eb7b5 with the b5 in the bass (E, G#, Bb, D) because thay share the same notes.

All we had to do was to go from Bb7 to Bb7b5, and that has brought us around to where we started.

Original progression:
Bm7 | E7 | A

I first mentioned:
Bm7 |E7b5/Bb| A

The substitution:
Bm7 | Bb7 | A

Add a ii chord inthe key of the substitution:
Bm7 |Fm7 - Bb7 | A

Flat the Substitution chord's 5th to "relate more" to the original key:
Bm7 |Bb7b5| A

Which sounds the same as:
Bm7 |E7b5/Bb| A

That shows how close tritone substitutions are related.

So the basic "rule" here is take the "ii chord," go down a half step and make it a 7th chord, and go down another half step to the "I chord."

Bm7 | Bb7 | A
or
Bm7b5 | Bb7 | Am.

It not only works for the chords.

If you're soloing, and the progression is:
Bm7 | E7 | A

you can play a Bb7 arpeggio if you feel inspired (depending upon the style of the song). To take it even more "outside," you could even arpeggiate the Fm7 and the Bb7 as well. . .

But don't do it to "Blowin' in the Wind. . ." They'll think you're a "troublemaker. . ."

Time for sleep!

Brett



[This message has been edited by Brett Valentine (edited 01-23-2001).]
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 01-23-2001, 11:51 AM
jdpresto jdpresto is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Posts: 205
Talking

Brett...

Okay, (catching my breath), wow!

So that was completely over my head, but I am doing my homework, so hopefully I can make sense of it. I was with you on the first post, but beyond the I, ii, iii, IV, V, vi, VIIdiminished I am pretty much lost in figuring out what chords are in what keys, and what keys are related (or work together).

I gotta hit the books. But please keep 'em coming - I can pick up bits and pieces here and there!

Thanks everyone for your posts!

Jeff
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 01-23-2001, 01:17 PM
mapletrees mapletrees is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Posts: 3,898
Post

Hello,

Most people start learning theory with something like "OK, the I chord is always major, the ii chord is always minor, ect...but they have no idea why. Not understanding some basic definitions and concepts will make learning (and more importantly applying) music theory needlessly complicated and frustrating - if not impossible.

A few questions...

Can you name the notes on your guitar up each string? (it doesn't matter at all how quickly you can)

Do you understand how every sharp could be renamed as a flat (for example, Db and C# represent the same note)

Do you understand how to construct a major scale from whole and half steps? Do you know what half and whole steps are?

Do you know how to build triads within a key?

Do you understand what intervals are? How they relate to major scales? How they relate to the structure of chords?

Do you know how to spell out the notes of a chord?

Do you know your chord formuals (there are specific definitions as to what makes a chord major, minor, major 7th, dominant 7th, minor 6th, etc......


Let me know....this is all very simple to learn if you go step by step. The payoff relative to the investment of effort is enormous!


"You learn something old everyday." Mister Rogers (Mister Rogers Neighborhood)

[This message has been edited by mapletrees (edited 01-23-2001).]

[ 03-08-2001: Message edited by: mapletrees ]
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 01-23-2001, 03:17 PM
jdpresto jdpresto is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Posts: 205
Post

Quote:
Originally posted by mapletrees:
[B]
A few questions...

[B]
Mapletrees,

Brett has taken this post in a very nice direction, and one which I am sure more of the members of the forum appreciate as opposed to beginner theory, so I am going to answer your questions in a new post titled "beginning theory", so that some of the pros can also run with some of the great things Brett has so graciously taken the time to type out for us. Thanks Brett!

Jeff



------------------
Jeff Preston
Indianapolis, IN
"All" my gear - http://php.spea.iupui.edu/jdpresto
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 01-23-2001, 04:06 PM
Brett Valentine Brett Valentine is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: NY, USA
Posts: 116
Post

Quote:
Originally posted by jdpresto:
Brett...

Okay, (catching my breath), wow!

So that was completely over my head, but I am doing my homework, so hopefully I can make sense of it. I was with you on the first post, but beyond the I, ii, iii, IV, V, vi, VIIdiminished I am pretty much lost in figuring out what chords are in what keys, and what keys are related (or work together).

I gotta hit the books. But please keep 'em coming - I can pick up bits and pieces here and there!

Thanks everyone for your posts!

Jeff

Okay. . .
Let's see if I can work it all down to something practical. . .

Bm7 | E7 | A

is "ii - V7 - I" in the key of A major

The "TRITONE SUBSTITUTION" for the E7 chord is a "tritone" away, and that is Bb7.

All you really need to remember for this is that it is a V7 CHORD THAT IS A HALF STEP ABOVE THE "I" CHORD.

so:
Bm7 | E7 | A
becomes:
Bm7 | Bb7 | A

"Bb7" is a half step above "A"

Bb7 is the "LEGITIMATE V7 CHORD" in the key of Eb. Eb Major for our purposes. It's "ii - V7 - I" chord progression would be:
Fm7 - Bb7 - Eb

An interesting thing is that you can preceed any V chord with it's own personal "ii" chord, so if you have a "song" in A Major that consists of:

A | E7 | A
(I - V7 - I)

you can add the "ii" chord that sets up the V7:

A | Bm7 - E7 | A
(I - ii - V7 - I)

Now, let's add the "tritone substitution for E7:

A | Bm7 - Bb7 | A
(I - ii - [V7 in the key of Eb] - I)

Bb7 is the "legitamite" V7 chord in the key of Eb Major, and any V7 can be preceeded by it's own "ii" chord:

A | Bm7 - Fm7-Bb7 | A
(I - ii - ["ii - V7" in the key of of Eb] - I)


Hope that is clearer. The rest was an attempt to explain some of the "why" of it (probably not the easiest thing to do at 3:30 am <grin> ).

Brett


[This message has been edited by Brett Valentine (edited 01-23-2001).]
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 03-08-2001, 07:59 PM
mapletrees mapletrees is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Posts: 3,898
Smile

jdpresto....

I didn't know if I should be putting this here or in that 'Plateau' post.....if you try to build on what a player like Doyle Dykes does, you're not going to plateau any time soon!

In a post called 'Larry's World' here in the Playing and Technique section there's a link to a Doyle Dykes song called "The Wings of the Morning".

First of all....anyone out there know how to get that tune to print out properly so the pages aren't all chopped up????!!!!???!!!? Why on earth did I let my subscription lapse. Dumb.

Don't count that first incomplete measure...I'm going to call what looks like the 2nd measure in the print the first measure.

We're in the key of A in this tune...the basic chords in the key of A are

A major or A major seventh (!)
B minor or B minor seventh
C# minor or C# minor seventh
D major or D major seventh (!)
E major or E dominant seventh (!)
F# minor or F# minor seventh
G# diminished triad or G# minor 7thb5

The A major scale is....

A B C# D E F# G#

Let's spell out the major chords...

...remember...to spell out a chord you (loosely) pick a root note and then start adding on every other note from the scale(ok, very loosely worded)

A major = A C# E

A maj7 = A C# E G#

D major = D F# A

Dmaj7 = D F# A C#

E major = E G# B

E7 (E dominant 7th) = E G# B D

So what starts happening in this Doyle Dykes song? Remember, this post began with the concept of adding in 7th chords to 'spruce' up a progression....that's what we get here....he does it as he approaches the D chords of the 5th and 6th measure....also remember...I'm not counting the first measure in the print...

In the first measure he plays an A major chord

(adds in the open B string to create an Aadd9 sound....

A B C# D E F# G# A B
R 2 3 4 5 6 7 R 9)

In the second measure he throws in the note G# and turns the A major chord into Amaj7 (actually Amaj9 due to the note B) - starts sounding more sophisticated....one note - big effect....

...now looking ahead to the 5th and 6th measure, Mr. Dykes starts playing around with various forms of a D tonality....but how does he get there?...

Remember, in the key of A we're 'supposed' to have Amajor, Amaj7, Emajor, and E7...

In the 3rd measure he strays from the A major scale and adds in the note G (instead of using G#)...so in the 3rd measure we end up with an Eminor7 chord instead of E7 (E7 = E G# B D, whereas Emin7 = E G B D)

In the 4th measure, the note G is played with an A bass note (so we certainly don't have Amaj7 anymore....Amaj7 has a G# note in it)...we in fact get A7 (A7 = A C# E G). The first rippled chord in that measure is an Asus7, then we get back to the A7 at the end of the measure.....and this A7 finally leads to the D of 5th measure....


...perfect example of the idea you started this post with........it would be very good to leave the rest of the song for now and come up with 10,000 ways to do those first 6 measures out differently....

THEN let's look at the 7th measure...

....I hear Peter Framptom meets the Beatles meets Chet Atkins.......

I should point out a couple of things....the Emin7 - A7 - Dmajor progression(any variation of D, Dmaj7, Dmaj9, etc...)....this would be exactly what you 'would expect' in the key of D....it would be a ii-V-I in the key of D...he sticks it in though while we're in the key of A....'spruces' things up.....

Also, as a starting point, try playing the first 6 measures ( A - Amaj7 - Emin7 - A7 - some sort of D or Dmaj7 for two measures) with some plain (or not so plain) open chords down at the end of the neck with big strums...try varying the voicings....then move some voicings up the neck(if possible) sticking with strums.....

I'll get back to this......literally endless things to do if you start fingerpicking on these chords.....

[ 03-08-2001: Message edited by: mapletrees ]

[ 03-08-2001: Message edited by: mapletrees ]

[ 03-09-2001: Message edited by: mapletrees ]
__________________
Indeed, there is something in the current DC/NY culture that equates a lack of unthinking boosterism with a lack of patriotism. As if not being drunk on the latest Dow gains is somehow un-American. - Arianna Huffington May 11, 2009
Reply With Quote
Reply

  The Acoustic Guitar Forum > General Acoustic Guitar and Amplification Discussion > Show and Tell

Thread Tools



All times are GMT -6. The time now is 01:20 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, The Acoustic Guitar Forum
vB Ad Management by =RedTyger=