Show Posts

This section allows you to view all posts made by this member. Note that you can only see posts made in areas you currently have access to.

Messages - cryophonik

Pages: 1 [2] 3 4
Another thing I'll add is that it's good to know your interval names, for example:

minor second
major second
augmented second, or minor third (same pitch, but different names)

As an example, the interval between C and D# is an augmented second, whereas the interval between C and Eb is a minor third - they are the same note on a piano, guitar etc., but have different uses in context, especially when you start considering extensions, or borrowing chords from other keys/modes.

In the minor scale, your 1 chord (1st note in the scale) should be minor, 2nd should be diminished, 3rd should be major, 4th minor, 5th minor, 6th major, and 7th major.

So let's say I'm writing in E minor. My G chord, since it's the 3rd note in the scale, will always be a major chord in a chord progression with E minor. Wrong, or right? I just want to make sure I'm understanding this correctly.

Yes, the triad build on the third scale degree (i.e., the G) is a major chord (G B D)

So far, I'm able to build 3 note chords. I do this because I know in ableton, in a minor chord, I'm going to have my root note and then count up 3 keys on the piano roll, place the note there, then count up 7 from my root note. So there is my 3 note chord.

Same for a major chord. I count up 4 keys on the piano roll from my root note, then count up 7 to build a major chord.

Yes, you're getting the right answer, but you may want to consider a different approach to help you with your next questions, as I'll try to explain below.

Well what if I want to add 5ths? 7ths? 11ths? 13ths? Really want to figure this out so I can begin playing around with building better chords.

It helps me if you could put things in terms of ableton, because it's easier for me to visualize. So for a minor chord, for 5ths, 7ths, 9ths, 11ths, 13ths, how many keys do I have to count up from the root key?

And then for the major chord?? Any other explanations welcomed, but it'd be great if somebody could put things in terms of Ableton.

Try thinking of it this way, and once you get it down, it should make more sense when you apply it to other keys/modes.  Rather than counting semitones, think in terms of scale degrees.  An E minor scale is this:

E - 1st scale degree
F#- 2nd scale degree
G - 3rd scale degree
A - 4th scale degree
B - 5th scale degree
C - 6th scale degree
D - 7th scale degree

So, build your triads based on the scale degrees (rather than the semitone distance from the tonic) by finding the notes that are one third away from each other (i.e., skipping every other scale degree).  So, the tonic chord (i.e., i-chord) is the first, third, and fifth scale degree, or E G B.  Obviously, you'll need to consider that these scales are repeating as you go up/down octaves.  So, the iv-chord includes the fourth, sixth, and eighth (i.e., same as the first scale degree) scale degrees, or A C E.  The VII-chord includes the seventh, second, and fourth scale degrees, or D F# A.

Now, here's the important part regarding extensions.  You need to use the scale notes, but think of the intervals for the triad and extensions relative to the root note of the chord that you are extending.  For example, sticking with the key of Emin, the III-chord is Gmaj (G B D).  Now you need to think of the G as the root note of the chord, B is the third, and D is the fifth of the chord.  So, extending that to a Gmaj7 would add the F#, which is seven notes above the G.  More specifically, the F# is a seventh above the G in the key of Emin.

So, you could make your G-major triad into a G6 chord by creating the Gmaj chord and adding the scale degree that is 6 notes above the G in the key of Emin, so you would add an E to the chord (i.e., G6 = G B D E).  Extending it further, you could make the Gmaj III-chord into a G9 chord by adding both a seventh and a ninth to the Gmaj chord, or G B D F# A.

Again, the two important things to remember is that (1) the notes used to extend any chord are derived from the key of the song, whether it's major or minor, and (2) the extension indicates the interval relative to the root tone of the chord that you are extending.

Lastly, I've learned that it's okay to have chords outside of the key you're writing in as long as they are "parallel"
What does this mean and can somebody give me some examples of some parallels that would work?

Actually, it's OK to have chords outside of the key you're writing in as long as it sounds good, period.  But, it is common to use chords from the parallel and relative keys, since they share notes/harmonies with the key you're writing in.

Parallel key:has the same tonic note (e.g., the E-note of an E-scale), but is a different "mode" (i.e., major vs minor).  So, for example, E Major is the parallel major key to E minor (and, of course, Emin is the parallel minor to Emaj).

E major scale: E F# G# A B C# D#
E minor scale: E F# G A B C D

As you can probably tell, the triads built on each scale degree is very different between these two (for example, the scale built on the fourth scale degree in Emaj is and Amaj chord, where it's an Amin in Emin).

Relative key: has the same key signature, but different mode and start on different tonics.  For example, G major (has one # note in its key signature - F#) is the relative major to E minor (also has a single F# in the key signature).

G major: G A B C D E F#
E minor: E F# G A B C D

As you'll probably notice, the triads occurring in both relative scales are the same, but they have a different tonic (i.e., G major has a central tendency to the Gmaj chord, Emin has a central tendency to the Emin chord).  As you dig deeper, you'll notice that there are other forms of the minor scales (e.g., harmonic, melodic), which share more notes with the parallel major key and thus are more commonly "borrowed" to create triads that you won't find in natural minor.

Hopefully, that makes sense.

Composition/Arrangement/Theory / Re: What exactly is a "counter melody"?
« on: January 27, 2016, 04:27:27 am »
It's a secondary melody that complements the main melody.  It's different than a harmony in that it doesn't change the notes at the same time as the melody.  It can stand as a melody on its own, but it usually moves at an opposite pace as the lead melody (i.e., so they don't interfere with each other).  In other words, when the main melody is moving rapidly (e.g., 8th notes), the countermelody usually plays longer and more sustained notes (e.g., half-notes), and vice versa.

Composition/Arrangement/Theory / Re: No Music Background...Thoughts?
« on: January 25, 2016, 04:44:47 pm »
Everybody starts somewhere.

Personally, I started at a very early age and have many decades of formal training, education, and experience, but that doesn't make me a great EDM producer.  Most of the guys who are serious about making EDM (including pros and serious hobbyists) have a fraction of my experience, but are putting out stuff that makes me think "damn, I wish I had those skills!"  Don't discount the importance of intangibles, like desire, passion, dedication, etc., when it comes to making music.  Music theory is great and IMO you should spend some time educating yourself, but it can be a steep learning curve for some people, so don't let it discourage you from making music.  The world is full of great talent with little or no formal training.

I know you're suppose to separate composition from sound design, eqing, and mixing but for some reason my brain just always wants to interchange all of those things in the writing process.

As others have said, there really aren't any rules and, when it comes to electronic music, sound design is a large part of the composition process.  It's not like, for example, rock or classical music, where the composer knows what a guitar, or violin, or piano sounds like and what their range is, so he/she can focus on the composition and arrangement.  In electronic music, you almost need to find or create the sound before you can write to it, make sure it fits the sweet spot of the range, use the right effects etc. So, I would go with what works for you and only work within "rules" that get results for you.

Industrial music is probably the most political form of electronic music.

I disagree with the first part of this. Learning theory DOES help you write better chord progressions. Yes you're still going to need your ears and creativity to come up with chords.

Allow me to contradict my earlier post a bit and say that, yes, I agree with this - knowing your music theory can help you come up with better progressions because it gives you bigger toolbox to work with and a better understanding of why some chord progressions work so well in a certain context, while others don't.  My point above was actually making the leap from chord progressions to creation of a song.  Knowing your theory certainly can eliminate a lot of trial and error.  And, while some people may try to equate minimizing trial and error with discouraging experimentation, I don't think that it works out that way in practice.  Even if it does a little bit, the benefits of having more creative options outweighs the likelihood that someone would stop finding happy accidents just because they don't try the obviously bad options (if that makes sense).

However, i cannot stress enough that knowing theory will not help you magically make more complex progressions.

Exactly.  And, I'm going to start sounding like a broken record on this forum, but music theory and composition are two related, but different, things.  Plenty of people compose really excellent music with little theory knowledge, and many others have excellent grasps on theory, but have trouble composing.  The analogy that some of my profs used back in the day was to think of theory as learning the language, and composition as writing a novel or book of poetry.

As for the OP, the request seems to be that he wants more complexity because he feels that it will be better.  It's a bit hard to address the question without some more information or examples demonstrating where you're at in terms of simplicity/complexity.  But, I will say that, in most forms of pop music, complex chord progressions aren't usually the norm.  The chord progressions are generally quite simple and you'll find by close listening and learning that there are countless songs using the same few basic progressions.

As far as how chord progressions work, there are volumes of books written about this, so you won't get the answers you're looking for in one thread.  But, some of the fundamental things you'd be taught in a first-year composition course (and find in countless popular music songs) are to move up in seconds or fourths, or move down in thirds or fifths (same as moving up in fourths) when stringing chords together.  These are NOT rules, just tried and true approaches that work, and are good starting points.  Common examples:

I - IV - V7 - I (e.g., Cmaj - Fmaj - Gmaj7 - Cmaj): i.e., move from the major tonic (I) chord up a fourth to the IV (subdominant) chord, then up a second to the V7 dominant chord, and down a fifth (or, up a fourth) back to the tonic (I chord).

I - ii - V7 - I (e.g., Cmaj - Dmin - Gmaj7 - Cmaj): i.e., tonic (I) chord up a second to the ii chord, then up a fourth to the V7 dominant chord, and down a fifth back to the tonic (I chord).

i - VI - iv - V7 (e.g., Cmin - Abmaj - Fmin - G7): i.e., minor tonic (i) chord down a third to the VI chord, down another third to the iv chord, up a second to the V7 dominant chord, and down a fifth back to the tonic (i) chord.

Another common example that does not adhere to the guidelines (i.e., not rules) above is to move down in seconds (e.g., i - VII - VI in minor keys).  You won't find that progression very often in classical forms of music, but it's common in modern music.

A few other things to read up on are extensions (e.g., adding 6th, 7th, 9th, 11th, 13th, etc intervals to a triad) or even compound chords (i.e., playing one triad on top of another - similar to extensions) to add more complexity and richness to your chords.  Also, consider and read up on the role of dissonance/consonance in chords and how they function to create tension and release in chord progressions.

Inversions are a great way to vary a common chord progression and are related to voice leading, which is also worth your time to get familiar with.

Hopefully, that's somewhat helpful.  But, as Lydian mentioned, having examples to work from would probably get you more pointed answers and advice.

Composition/Arrangement/Theory / Re: Can you name these chords?
« on: January 22, 2016, 02:13:19 am »
Just gave it a quick listen and it sounds like ||: Bmin11 | Gmaj7  :||

Try voicing it like this notes top/down

E    D
C#  B
A    F#
B    G

The voicing changes a lot throughout the song and it resolves down to a Dmaj7 (rather than the Gmaj7) during the drop.

1) Learn an instrument - you'll find that it's far more satisfying, more efficient to get ideas down, and easier to come up with great musical ideas when you're playing them
2) Be patient - nobody learns this overnight and, the more you learn, the more you'll realize how much you don't know, so take it in stride and have fun with it.
3) Read and follow every other suggestion in this thread.  ;)

Can find someone else to collaborate with? Maybe you can find a friend to learn with you and push each other to learn things, bounce ideas off one another, etc. or find someone who is a little more advanced than you to help you get going.  Especially since you have one bad ear, it may be beneficial for you to focus on the songwriting side and let the other person focus on the mixing.

I wouldn't normally recommend this, but maybe you could pick up a construction kit or two and start with those. Yeah, maybe it's not as satisfying as creating your own original work, but a lot of people seem to find some inspiration in using them and they'll give you some raw materials to start working with while you figure out some production techniques. Just some thoughts.

The best advice I can give you is to become a student to the styles or artists that you like, and spend time learning their chord progressions.  Trance progressions are typically simple and repetitive, usually just using 4-5 chords (often with 7th and 9th extensions), and most often in pure minor keys.  I don't listen to a lot of trance anymore, but I rarely hear much that is written in major keys or that employ cadences (e.g., perfect, half, plagal, etc.) in the classical context - not that they're non-existent, but I just don't hear them very often.

Having some music theory knowledge is certainly helpful, but having a good ear and spending a lot of time trying to developing your ear training skills is probably a lot more useful than learning classical theory.  It seems like a lot of people put too much emphasis on theory, and fail to give equal time to the ear training and composition components (theory and composition are NOT the same thing), so it's important to approach it more holistically IMO.  Your ears should help you identify the tonic chord, whether it's major, minor, or modal, and intervals (focusing on the bass notes is a big help here).  Theory can help you rule out or identify the non-harmonic notes (i.e., notes that are outside the key/mode of the song) and help you narrow down the list of possible notes and chords that are based on the scale degrees.  It probably sounds more complicated than it is, but with a basic understanding of scales/modes, how triads and extensions are built on the scale degrees, and consistent practice over a few months, you should be able to start figuring out the chords in almost any trance or pop within a listen or two.  And, when you do, you'll quickly start to realize how many tracks share the same core chord progressions, but with their own little variations in voicing, extensions, melodic relationships, etc.  That will give you a ton of starting points.  Where you go from there depends on your own tastes, experimenting, borrowing other ideas and making them your own, etc.

The thing is, you don't have to waste your youth by staring at a computer every waking minute to be successful.  I lived for 15 years as a professional musician, earned a degree in music theory/composition, made a solid income gigging, doing session work, and working as an audio engineer, and used that income to put myself through advanced degrees in science, all while having an active social life, staying fit, being an avid outdoorsman, etc.  Work smarter, not longer.  Get some real life experience to draw your inspiration from and to keep up your personal skills (you'll want that to be successful in almost any career).  Also, realize that the days of getting successful by making the same repetitive music as the countless other bedroom producers (i.e., your competition) is not a smart long-term bet because that trend won't be around forever.  Your parents know this.  As a parent myself and someone who has a lot of experience in the music industry (even though I never wanted a long-term career in music), I know this.  So, take my advice or ignore it, because it won't affect me either way.  But, the reality is that not everybody who parks himself in front of a computer for several years is going to be the next big thing.  Have your dreams, but don't let that stop you from having realistic goals, and definitely don't let that stop you from having a life or a solid education.  Good luck in whatever you do.

Your parents aren't "old school", they're just wise and they know from experience that you're better off keeping maintaining a balanced perspective in life, getting a good education, having an active social life, and staying fit, both physically and mentally.  There's nothing "cool" about a mouse-clicking dork with his head buried in a computer all day.

Inspiration/Creativity/Motivation / Re: Dumb question lol
« on: January 19, 2016, 06:24:25 pm »
Actually just Séguin sounds cool...

Agreed.  BTW, where did the OP go?

Pages: 1 [2] 3 4