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Caustica
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Joined: 05/14/2017 - 05:23
Chord Progression and Creation - No Music Theory Needed

I'm posting this as a separate thread due to forum issues not allowing me to post it as a reply.  It's a reply to causticman's thread about getting anthem-like chord progressions.  Just bear in mind I'm the musical equivalent of a rogue; I'm self-taught, don't understand the lingo, and have no musical training whatsoever.  But this is the way I taught myself, worked it out etc, and I see no reason why it would not work for others if they follow the steps exactly.

 

DISCLAIMER:
I require the sum of One Million Pounds for this advice, so that I can buy a fancy yacht in Ibiza and stock it with bikini babes.  You are not allowed to read further unless you agree, or are very very very grateful.

Ready? ... ok then ...

 

Fact is, I believe you can find the chords to anything as long as you can hum it.  To do that, just forget about chords completely for a while, and concentrate on single notes at a time.  So go ahead, hum a track in your head, then working your way up the keyboard, find the single key on the keyboard that is closest to the first chord you hummed in your head.  Remember, no chords allowed just yet, just find that single key.  Once you have that key, do it again until you find the key that is closest to the second chord.  Continue to do this until you notice the chord progression has started to repeat itself.

Now that you have the root key of each chord in the sequence, you need to find the second key for each chord.  To do that is just as easy as the first one.  Hit the key you decided on for your first chord, but at the same time, hit the key directly next to it.  It will likely sound wrong, so you need to move your second finger up one key at a time.  The gap between the first key and the second key should get bigger and bigger until you find the combination that sounds right.  As soon as you find that second key of the chord, you need to do the same for the other chords in the progression.

So by now, you should have two fingers worked out for each chord in the chord progression.  That means it's time to find the third finger now, so all you need to do is play the first two fingers that sounded correct, while using a third finger to start working your way up the keyboard.   Work your way up with a third finger until you have found the correct key to use for it.  Just keep hitting both keys until you find the third key with another finger.  Do this for each chord in the chord progression, and eventually, you will have your chord sequence without understanding anything about chords or music theory.  I believe the three-fingered chords are called 'Triads'.

So you made it this far, and you think to yourself, hey, that's pretty damn neat, but some of the chords sound a bit too high or too low in overall pitch. Well this is where chord 'Inversions' are used, and actually, inversions are pretty fun and even easier than the stuff you just learnt!

Basically, think of an inversion as re-ordering the keys in a chord. For example, if there is a C in your chord, then you are allowed to swap that C for any other C, lower or higher.  The same goes for any other letter in the chord, you can change an F for any other F.  To practice this, just pick one of the chords you found, and start messing around swapping the keys for other keys that have the same letter.  You can mix and match in any way you want, and it will always work as basically the same chord, it will just sound different and have a different tone to it, or different 'emotion' as I like to think of it.

So now you know how to create chords from scratch, and even how to create a whole range of inversions for any chord you create.  But there's at least one more thing you will need.  You'll sometimes find you need four-fingered chords, because a triad (three-fingers), just doesn't cut it even with the differences inversions make to the sound.

Again, this is surprisingly fun and easy if you're following me correctly.  All you do is take what you already learned, then start using the same technique used for the first three fingers, until you find the fourth finger (just play three fingers this time while finding the fourth).  I'm not entirely sure, but I think fourth-fingered chords are called 'Sustained' chords.

Like I said, I'm the musical equivalent of a rogue, so you'll have to excuse any errors in the terminology I use.  But if you take the time to follow what I described here, I don't see why you (or anyone trying to get a grasp of chords and music) would not get at least something positive out of this.

So now I'll pick a nice Trance track if you fancy testing yourself, one I'm hoping you're not familiar with.  If you listen to this track and follow the guide I just made, I don't see any reason you would not be able to figure the chords out by yourself.  An important thing to note here is that I've not told you how to write an epic chord sequence for an anthem.  What I've done (hopefully) is give you the ability to do it yourself, so hopefully it helps.

Here's a quality Trance track to test yourself with, so go listen to it, go hum it, then go figure-out the chord sequence for it:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3CsD-JJ0mWE

 

Caustica
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Joined: 05/14/2017 - 05:23
BTW, here's the official

BTW, here's the official version of that track, but I don't know if it will play in all countries:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fj1kK8sB9u4

 

Caustica
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Joined: 05/14/2017 - 05:23
There's actually no need to

There's actually no need to start from middle C.  I originally intended to explain it another way, then changed my mind and forgot to edit it out.  Anyway, fixed now, along with a few other edits.

 

causticman
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Joined: 03/19/2016 - 00:50
Bro I send a file named EPIc

Bro I send a file named EPIc Please listen it & tell me does it sounds epic in terms of serious mood or not?

Caustic Song file (optional): 

Caustica
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Joined: 05/14/2017 - 05:23
Some of it works, but I don't

Some of it works, but I don't like the first chord in the progression.

 

causticman
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Joined: 03/19/2016 - 00:50
Please Do me A favour...

Please Do me A favour...
Make my epic caustic file really epic
I mean make it epic ...
Please help ....

Caustica
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Joined: 05/14/2017 - 05:23
Sorry dude, I'm not gonna

Sorry dude, I'm not gonna write a song for you!
And what makes you think that even if I edited the chords for you, that it would sound epic?

You're discouraged far too easily.

You're trying to run before you can walk.  I would forget about chords until you understand the importance of getting the root keys of a chord sequence correct.  You really don't seem to be understanding how important that is.

Listen to this track, concentrate on the bass-line:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ygLy02y7_n8

Notice how the bass-line sounds like a chord even though it's just a single finger tapping out a pattern?  Notice how it changes to a different key to represent each chord, but it's really only using one finger for each chord?

What I'm trying to get at is you're wasting your time messing around with chords until you understand how to represent chords using single keys.  So listen to the bass-line, understand how that single finger is acting as a chord sequence, and use the same technique for your own music.  You'll notice that once you get the hang of that basic technique, you will find it a lot easier to find and build chords, because in a lot of cases, the chords are basically a combination of the keys you used to tap out the pattern with one finger.

Listen to the bass-line and use the same technique to find your own chords using single keys:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ygLy02y7_n8

If the video does not play, maybe try a UK proxy.

 

Caustica
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Joined: 05/14/2017 - 05:23
Just one last thing ...

Just one last thing ...

As well as the bass-line (which should be dead easy to do cause it's only a single finger), notice how they use the three girls in the bathroom to sing over it?  Guess what, you can also play what those three girls are singing using just a single finger!

Now if you take the time to put that bass-line into Caustic, then add another track where you play what the girls are singing (again using a single finger), you'll start to notice that together, the notes you've used have started forming chords automatically.  This is why it's important to listen and try what I'm telling you.  If you actually take the time to try what I just told you, I think things will start to make more sense.

All of a sudden you might be saying ... OH MY GOD ... I GET IT NOW!

Don't be idle about it.  That Erasure track I just posted is actually an ideal track to practice this with.  So trust me, try it, just put that single-finger bass-line into Caustic and then use another single-finger track over the top of it to add what the girls are singing in the bathroom.  It's all done with a single finger (the bass-line and the girls), so you cannot fail, and in the process, you might start understanding things better.

The more you tap-out progressions using a single finger, and the more you layer something over it with another, the more you will start to understand how chords can be built (because they can be made from the same notes you used to build the various layers).  At the same time, you also get to learn a little about harmony without even realising it.

As recommended, tap-out the bass-line and the singing girls from this track (all single-finger):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ygLy02y7_n8

Anyway, I've got stuff to do so cannot keep-up these lengthy posts, but good luck with it.

 

RatHunterz
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Joined: 03/24/2017 - 19:01
This was very useful to me :D

..

Caustica
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Joined: 05/14/2017 - 05:23
Glad it helped, zinidx!

Glad it helped, zinidx!
What's with the beat though, the level of the kick?

I liked the first half of the track, the pads etc.

 

RatHunterz
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Joined: 03/24/2017 - 19:01
I did not understand the

I did not understand the question very well ... Sorry :/
Sometimes the translation to my language it gets confusing
I have to edit this project is still a bit strange XD