Author Topic: Coming up with unique chord progressions/melodies  (Read 1740 times)

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Offline Hollywood

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Coming up with unique chord progressions/melodies
« on: April 21, 2015, 04:56:31 pm »
So I'm seeing that when I try to write songs, I'm stuck in the same few chord progressions.  G-D-Em-C, G-D-A, F-C-G..... with different capos, sure, but still the same few chords.

So what are some tips on coming up with better guitar parts?  And then I can worry about attempting to come up with some riffs that go with them....
Frontwoman of alt-rock band Lighting Matches - debut album "Against The Flame"
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Offline close2u

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Re: Coming up with unique chord progressions/melodies
« Reply #1 on: April 21, 2015, 05:34:21 pm »
That's just it ... unless you want to go down a 'light-jazz' route in which you constantly aim to surprise the listener and be 'clever' then you are going to be drawing upon a well-used well of fantastic / reliable / successful progressions.
What makes them not be a cliche?
The singing?
Great vocals?
Great lyrics?
Great dynamics?
Great production?
Don't shy away from well worn progressions - look to make them work for you in the way you want telling the stories (songs) you want to sing.

I am over-simplifying of course.
But fundamentally, these progressions are common because they sound so good.
Why fight that?

Offline Hollywood

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Re: Coming up with unique chord progressions/melodies
« Reply #2 on: April 21, 2015, 05:50:35 pm »
Okay... I don't feel so stuck-in-a-rut-ish now. Great post, Close, thank you!  :)
Frontwoman of alt-rock band Lighting Matches - debut album "Against The Flame"
www.LightingMatchesMusic.com
www.Facebook.com/LightingMatchesMusic

Debut solo EP "Destination Sunday" (Rachel White)

Offline TB-AV

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Re: Coming up with unique chord progressions/melodies
« Reply #3 on: April 21, 2015, 06:13:22 pm »
Read the book Tunesmith by Jimmy Webb
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Offline mike42

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Re: Coming up with unique chord progressions/melodies
« Reply #4 on: April 21, 2015, 06:33:51 pm »
Read the book Tunesmith by Jimmy Webb

I bought this a while back on TB's recommendation in another thread. It's a good book, and I've only read about half of it so far but it's definitely worth the price.

Also, if you do want to spice up your progressions a bit then embellishments with sus chords are a good, simple option.

You can also play around with different shapes that utilize open strings to get a "drone note" kind of effect. It's used heavily by bands like the Goo Goo Dolls, and although they use a lot of weird tunings to get the effect you can do similar things in standard tuning.

Offline Hollywood

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Re: Coming up with unique chord progressions/melodies
« Reply #5 on: April 21, 2015, 06:39:53 pm »
Thanks, I'll check out the book!

How about when it comes to adding riffs and such?  I know one of you gave me the link recently to one of the scales to learn, which I haven't done yet.
Frontwoman of alt-rock band Lighting Matches - debut album "Against The Flame"
www.LightingMatchesMusic.com
www.Facebook.com/LightingMatchesMusic

Debut solo EP "Destination Sunday" (Rachel White)

Offline mike42

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Re: Coming up with unique chord progressions/melodies
« Reply #6 on: April 21, 2015, 07:32:11 pm »
Scales are a good place to start, but I have personally taken more of a trial-and-error based approach to riffs than a theory based one. It isn't very efficient, but I just play around with different note combinations until I hit on something that I think is catchy.

You can also use an existing riff as a starting point and build from that. For example, I am working on a song where the intro part is based on a section of Adam's Song by Blink-182. I played with different note combinations based around the same idea as the riff from the song and ended up with a cool little piece that doesn't sound very similar at all.

 

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