how do you Harmony/Chords?

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live
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Sebastian
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how do you Harmony/Chords?

Post by Sebastian » Sun May 13, 2018 9:59 pm

Hey all,

Curious about any tips/tricks for chord changes when writing. I know this is a vast question. But if I explain my genre, it will make sense.

I write acid jazz, trip hop, electronic. I often have a 2 chord change thing come to my mind sounds cool. But I want to add new sections with other chords. I know music theory and know many theory based possibilities. I sometimes get stuck in the 1st 2 chords. Of course, I can chomp away on the guitar or keys to find new chords.

Curious about your methods? Whether it be using theory, an Ableton tool, and external tool.

Thanks

jestermgee
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Re: how do you Harmony/Chords?

Post by jestermgee » Sun May 13, 2018 11:47 pm

I'm pretty basic with theory but I have always played what sounds good or taken something I hear in a song and build on that. Normally as I play I can hear something that I want so I know that the next chord will have one note go higher and another go lower.... Or something.

I also use tools such as Cthulhu and the Komplete Kontrol scale feature (which is awesome) to get a start on an idea then it's just loop it and adjust things until I have something that creates the feeling I want, then it's swapping out instruments, tweaking them, layering them until I have a complete buildup of a track as clips then I start layering them out in rough structure then I tinker for days/weeks/years or just get bored and more onto something else.

It's about as calculated and organised as my life as a whole really.

yur2die4
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Re: how do you Harmony/Chords?

Post by yur2die4 » Sun May 13, 2018 11:58 pm

Chord changes don't need to be dramatic. You may even do them without realizing. It is more of a way to conceptualize the underlying structure and understand why it feels or sounds a certain way as you go from one to the next.

Two things I'd suggest. One much more easy to implement, the other a bit more out there.

The easy idea is to take your two-chord ideas and as one of the chords is playing, make it also switch to another chord that is very similar with almost all the same notes. Now you have a three chord idea. And sometimes this might give you a start into wanting to lead elsewhere further into the track.

The other idea is to try your hand at writing a different style if music than you're accustomed to. It is even okay if it sucks. It is just for the learning process. You might even find it fun and have it as a back up in your bag of tricks. It'll help you grow as a musician. For this 'different style' it might help to deliberately choose something you believe would make more traditional, common use of chords like in popular music.

Good luck!

8E
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Re: how do you Harmony/Chords?

Post by 8E » Mon May 14, 2018 4:58 am

The most important is the bass note. Try this: on piano hit in bass CC-octave, than all white keys in the high register. You will hear the C-major scale.
If you put GG in the bass, you will hear dominant to C-major scale.

So, if you really want to be free try experimenting with different chord systems, for instance only 4ths or only 2nds.

Or just put an scale rack and improvise completely free on the keyboard. Hit clusters, hit whatever you catch. You will learn more using piano than Push.

But the bass note is very important.

Another thing is that you might set up an effect rack with chords that changes freely.

But from my perspective, your question is very actual: I get tired of music completely lacking harmonic diversity (and that is a lot lot of music produced in Ableton, in spite of the software's freedom).
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fishmonkey
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Re: how do you Harmony/Chords?

Post by fishmonkey » Mon May 14, 2018 11:43 am

you might also wanna check out some of the J74 tools:

http://fabriziopoce.com/download.html
badbrainz wrote: I'm a drummer, so I'm already at an intellectual disadvantage here

jlgrimes
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Re: how do you Harmony/Chords?

Post by jlgrimes » Thu May 17, 2018 1:06 am

Sebastian wrote:Hey all,

Curious about any tips/tricks for chord changes when writing. I know this is a vast question. But if I explain my genre, it will make sense.

I write acid jazz, trip hop, electronic. I often have a 2 chord change thing come to my mind sounds cool. But I want to add new sections with other chords. I know music theory and know many theory based possibilities. I sometimes get stuck in the 1st 2 chords. Of course, I can chomp away on the guitar or keys to find new chords.

Curious about your methods? Whether it be using theory, an Ableton tool, and external tool.

Thanks
Learn to play your favorite songs (or at least from a chord change perspective)

Doing this will open you up to a wide variety of possibilities.


Compose on piano or guitar then go to Live.

Don't be afraid of worrying if a change is wrong. In music you'd be surprised on the variety of weird changes that can work.

Focus on melody, then build chords around it.



I think the sheet music method works great as once you learn the techniques you can modify them to suit your songs.

Chords are kind of like vocabulary. You have to study them how an English professor would. The more you study, the easier it gets.


Joining a band helps too as you will be forced to learn songs and changes.

Sebastian
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Re: how do you Harmony/Chords?

Post by Sebastian » Sun May 20, 2018 3:49 pm

Thank you all. I agree pretty much with trying various methods but I do think old school is best; learning tunes, transcribing, learning chords, etc. :)

Stromkraft
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Re: how do you Harmony/Chords?

Post by Stromkraft » Sun May 20, 2018 8:15 pm

My best tip is to ignore theory for creating ideas and trust your ears. Don't limit yourself to only one key necessarily. Theoretical knowledge can be used in a later stage for simplifying.
Make some music!

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