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Knowing what chords sound good together  

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(@surfbluewavesbc)
Eminent Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 43
29/01/2007 11:10 pm  

How do you know what chords sound good together? I have been playing a lot of chord songs so I know I few, but is there something they have in common?


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(@fretsource)
Prominent Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 974
29/01/2007 11:52 pm  

What sounds good is very subjective. Chords do hang about in groups though, so much so that they are always expected to be found together. It's not so much that they always sound good, more that they never sound bad.
The ones that you'll most often find together are the ones built upon the scale notes of the key that you're playing in.

So if you're in the key of C major, you can expect to find chords built upon the notes of the C major scale (the first six of them at least).
Combined with the other notes, the simplest chords will be C major, D minor, E min, F major, G major and A minor. (All of them could also be extended to include 7ths too, especially G7). The chord built on note 7 is too rare to be considered here.

Within that group, chords that follow each other with strong musical effect are those whose roots rise or fall a fourth or fifth (4 or 5 scale degrees). e.g. G to C, C to F, Am to Em, etc
Chord progressions that rise by step also sound strong, e.g C to D minor, or F to G; those that fall by step (e.g., Dm to C or G to F) are considered weaker.
Chords progressions that fall a third (e.g., C to Am) are considered stronger than those that rise a third (e.g., Am to C). Bear in mind though that stronger doesn't always mean better.

Chords outside the key need handling with more care, but chosen with care, they can sound far more interesting, subjectively speaking of course.
Analysing a few good songs can give you a good insight into good progressions.


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(@rocker)
Noble Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 1136
30/01/2007 12:14 am  

thats it in a nutshell my man, no need for elaboration

even god loves rock-n-roll


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(@misanthrope)
Noble Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 2268
30/01/2007 12:23 am  

Here's a little tool I wrote to show which chords are in a key: http://chordsandscales.co.uk/tools/key_and_transposition_tool.html . There's plenty of info there, but for the moment I'd suggest just getting a feel for the top line, which chords are major and which chords are minor in any given key.

ChordsAndScales.co.uk - Guitar Chord/Scale Finder/Viewer


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 geoo
(@geoo)
Famed Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 2827
30/01/2007 12:33 am  

Here's a little tool I wrote to show which chords are in a key: http://chordsandscales.co.uk/tools/key_and_transposition_tool.html . There's plenty of info there, but for the moment I'd suggest just getting a feel for the top line, which chords are major and which chords are minor in any given key.

Hey man.. Your website is very very useful but I am confused about the "stuff" under the second row. What is that telling me? I am dense when it comes to the theory of music.. but I am trying.

I also wanna say how much I appreciate such a useful website. Very nice man.

Jim

“The hardest thing in life is to know which bridge to cross and which to burn” - David Russell (Scottish classical Guitarist. b.1942)


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(@forrok_star)
Noble Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 2340
30/01/2007 12:45 am  

There are many different ways to look at this. what sounds and works good for you is a great start. Another thing to look into would be "Chord Voicings". which is inverting notes within the chord. These are important to learn and practice.

joe


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(@misanthrope)
Noble Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 2268
30/01/2007 9:42 am  

Here's a little tool I wrote to show which chords are in a key: http://chordsandscales.co.uk/tools/key_and_transposition_tool.html . There's plenty of info there, but for the moment I'd suggest just getting a feel for the top line, which chords are major and which chords are minor in any given key.

Hey man.. Your website is very very useful but I am confused about the "stuff" under the second row. What is that telling me? I am dense when it comes to the theory of music.. but I am trying.

I also wanna say how much I appreciate such a useful website. Very nice man.

Jim
Thanks mate!

The stuff under the slidey-bits (that' the technical term, don't'cha know!) are to indicate which chords and variations can be formed with that note as a root note in that key. It started out as just a quick reference for telling which chords were major, minor and diminished in a key (the top line), so if you just look at that one first it might seem clearer.

For example, if you leave the tool set to the key of C (as it is when it first loads), on the first line you have 'M' under C, 'm' under D, etc. You'll recognise the pattern as the pattern of major, minor and diminished chords in the key. The rest is just an extension of that.

read down from below the C and you will see M, sus2, sus4, etc. This means that C major, Csus2 and Csus4 will all be in key - they'll contain no notes that aren't found in the key of C. Under E, however, we don't have sus2 listed because it wouldn't fit. Esus2 is E, F# and B, and the F# isn't in key.

Oh, and the colours are just an additional cue to the major/minor/dimished flavour of the chord...

Does that make sense?

ChordsAndScales.co.uk - Guitar Chord/Scale Finder/Viewer


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(@dogbite)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 6355
30/01/2007 11:09 am  

do a search for Circle of Fifths. you will see an association of chords that work together.
then it can lead you to other combinations besides I IV V

http://www.soundclick.com/bands/pagemusic.cfm?bandID=644552http://www.soundclick.com/couleerockinvaders


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 geoo
(@geoo)
Famed Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 2827
30/01/2007 12:23 pm  

Does that make sense?

Very much so.

thx

“The hardest thing in life is to know which bridge to cross and which to burn” - David Russell (Scottish classical Guitarist. b.1942)


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(@twistedlefty)
Famed Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 4172
30/01/2007 1:10 pm  

Here's a little tool I wrote to show which chords are in a key: http://chordsandscales.co.uk/tools/key_and_transposition_tool.html . There's plenty of info there, but for the moment I'd suggest just getting a feel for the top line, which chords are major and which chords are minor in any given key.

that's a really nice little tool, could i download that for use offline?

#4491....


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(@misanthrope)
Noble Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 2268
30/01/2007 1:34 pm  

You can indeed, there's self-contained programs for Windows or Mac.

(In case anyone's wondering, sorting out a decent page for downloading them from is on my list, but it's a long list...)

ChordsAndScales.co.uk - Guitar Chord/Scale Finder/Viewer


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(@surfbluewavesbc)
Eminent Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 43
31/01/2007 12:36 am  

Here's a little tool I wrote to show which chords are in a key: http://chordsandscales.co.uk/tools/key_and_transposition_tool.html . There's plenty of info there, but for the moment I'd suggest just getting a feel for the top line, which chords are major and which chords are minor in any given key.

That seems like a very handy tool. Though I think this was way more complex than I thought ( I have been playing a few scales but have not gotten deeply into keys yet). I think maybe I should ask my guitar teacher to go into this more because it seems very useful. I think I am not understanding this because of my lack of knowledge of guitar.


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(@twistedlefty)
Famed Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 4172
31/01/2007 11:04 am  

You can indeed, there's self-contained programs for Windows or Mac.

(In case anyone's wondering, sorting out a decent page for downloading them from is on my list, but it's a long list...)

Thanx mucho :wink:

#4491....


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