Musical Chord Progressions

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Questions and Answers

Indie chord progressions.?

I'm writing some music and need a piano part. It's inide/rock and needs a piano intro. Is there any kind of generator that works out chord progressions?

Posted by _
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No, you use your musical knowledge and skill.

Composing help! (Finding suitable chord progressions)?

Hi there,

I lately got into composing my own pieces for short films, and I need some help.

Usually I just find a good chord progression and add bass, percussion, strings etc...

But now I have a great melody made up, and need to find the suitable chord progression.
I played around by adding chords that corresponded to the notes in the melody, but it sounded terribly off.

Is there a proper musical way of finding suitable chord progressions for melodies?
Also, what is your work flow? (if you compose music)

(Example of my music)


Posted by Frank
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Try using different chord progressions and write down all the chords in the key and then piece a chord progression together. Try a 2-5-1 chord progression for instance and see how it sounds!

What is a 'musical idea'?

I have to write a two paragraph paper on a song in the point of view of a Referential Listener. This must also include what musical "concept" is illustrated by the selection (e.g. Musical idea, ensemble, solo performer, variation, etc.). I'm still really unsure of what that means, even with the examples.

I know that the piece is an ensemble, but I can't find anywhere in my coursework what musical idea or musical concept means. I'm not trying to get anyone to do this assignment for me, but I will include a link to the composition if you'd like.

Posted by Lucy
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A musical idea can take a variety of shapes, though an 'idea' is an 'idea'.

Do not fall prey to the old melody / chord progression answer, it is highly simplistic and often, when referring to much classical repertoire, incorrect.

An idea can be a mere handful of intervals, which might comprise a 'theme.' That idea can be treated somewhat melodically, or it could also generate harmonies, built from the basic platform of those intervals. Beethoven, in some of the symphonies, often works more with a theme and harmonies developed from the theme than from any particular melodic base, or a fixed harmonic 'progression.'

Mozart's 41st Symphony, the last movement, is a set of five short ideas, one famously just four notes.
This article, too, shows the main theme, the other four, and a bit of score with the different themes all in play, separated in the illustration by color - worth a look.

The others are also brief, and as they are, handled together in one of the most famous amazingly deft and lively contrapuntal romps of all classical literature. One could not call any one of the five ideas a 'melody.' nor a harmony. They are lyric, but not a melody. Combined as the composer did, they become a Musical 'Fabric' - literally, elements woven together to make a whole.

A fine example of an idea which is fairly abstract, and with a combined set of attributes simultaneously combining the quality of melodic and harmonic, is the famous opening measures of Wagner's opera Tristan und Isolde.

I would do you well to read this Wikipedia entry from "Significance in the development of classical music" (that important idea is shown in score form, and discussed a bit.)

You can see there is not anything so immediately recognizable or definable as either melody or harmony in the above cited example. It is normally considered 'harmonic' but just one listen tells you it is equally 'melodic' in nature....

Here is the prelude to the full opera, which is built, musically, from this very opening premise. The opening measures are repeated a second time, at a different harmonic level. The premise has both a falling contour in the bass and a rising contour in the treble. Harmonically, it 'expands,' and is 'opening up.' It is also not 'closed' as to leaving the listener wanting for lack of a cadence.

The entire overture, and indeed, the entire full-length piece follows, to a strong degree, the premise of that musical 'idea' and its mechanics.

Here is the overture:

and Isolde's gorgeous (and famous) aria "Liebestod." This too, follows the fundamental premise, or idea, of the opening thematic idea, it expands, rises and rises, is not 'fixed' in place of key - it is constantly modulating. It is famous for its breadth, passion, the fact it rises and rises over a long line.

Here, sung by the incomparable Jessye Norman:

Two earlier musical forms, Chaconne and Passacaglia, both rely on a harmonic ground or base idea, which repeats and varies. There is a slight difference between the two (formally) but some of that process overlaps. It would help clarify your thoughts to look up the definition of each.

A musical idea can, then, be something very brief, neither wholly 'melody' nor wholly 'harmony.'

Best regards.

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