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Thread: Song in need of umph!

  1. #1
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    Song in need of umph!

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    I've got the melody but no chords!

    I really am only farmiliar with major, minors and 7ths.

    None of the chords I am playing seem to match the melody or if they do they take some of the umph out of it.

    From the melody the song sounds like its in the key of E
    It also sounds ok when I transpose it to the key of D

    Any help from you songwriters would be greatly appreciated!

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    To furthur clarify:

    How would I go about finding chords and or a guitar rythym that would match the melody.

    Do I just fuck around until something sounds right?

    What about all those chords with the funky names like Cmaj add 9, etc. how do songwriters know these chords work with their song without spending hours trying out all the chords in a chord dictionary.

    Thanks for helping this newbie.

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    Originally posted by VirtualSamana

    Do I just fuck around until something sounds right?

    That's all I ever do. Without hearing your melody it's tough for me to offer any chord solutions. Writing the melody is a good start though. If you can make an mp3 sample available, I can try and offer some suggestion.



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    It would help if you had a friend who played guitar prehaps. You could hum mim the melody.

    The best way of playing a melody/arranging chords around a melody is by way of using a piano/keyboard. You can let your ears guide you and then transpose the notes to chords.

    Genearally speaking sus chords/slash chords/aug chords/add chords are used as embellishment to chord progressions. The melody in your head (or wherever it is) would most likely be easy enough to sing for example over certain chords that you can then further (by way of extensions to those chords) in order to "polish/refine" your song,
    Krystof.

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    Can you pick out your melody on your guitar or piano? Try to figure out where in your head the chord changes occur, and on what melody notes the changes occur on. Then take those notes and see which chord they fit into. For example, if you have a melody that starts with a C, you could start with a C major or A minor chord (both have C notes). If you "hear" a change on an E note, figure out what chord that E note is part of. It could be an E minor, an A minor, Dmin7, F major, etc etc. Keep it simple at first-- don't worry about maj9, 11, 13 chords. Just try to make your melody fit into a basic structure.
    You might want to look into a basic music theory book-- something that will help you learn what chords fit into which key, etc. Hope this helps you a little bit.


    If your song is in D, try using these chords at first--
    D major
    E minor
    F#m
    G major
    A major
    B minor
    if it is in E, just move these chords up 1 whole step (D becomes E, E becomes F# etc) or slap a capo on yer guitar (if that's what you are playing) behind the 2nd fret.

    Nate


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    Try playing the melody alone and then (I am at the piano) add a note(s) to the melody note to make a 2 note chord...do this at different points/cadences. Try some different notes above or below the melody note...you'll slowly hear the notes that sound right with the melody. Add another...maybe another.
    Once you have the note(s) you like, find out what chord they represent...

    On the guitar, try some different finger picking patterns in the right hand. That way the whole chord does not have to cover the melodic line. They may help with your singing pattern too.

    Good Luck!


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    When I'm stuck with just a melody, I learn to play it on guitar. Then I go from phrase to phrase and try playing different chords that include the notes from the melody.

    Sometimes I land on common chords, but other times nothing in the scale wants to work. Generally, though, I can get close enough that I start hearing what I really want in my head. Then I start putting random fingers in random places from that chord that almost worked until I end up with something that sounds like what I'm hearing in my head. I usually have to fart around a bit with it then find a more comfortable fingering, but I've found some of my favorite musical pieces this way.

    Its a bonus when other guitarist watch you play and say"Whoa! Where the hell did you get THAT chord?" Just smirk and tell them you just play what you hear.

    -Chris


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    Many popular songs involve a I - IV - V progression or a mutation of it. If we use Nate's example, in the key of D these chords would be D - G - A(7). The V chord is usually dominant, tonic is built on 5 note of major scale and has a major 3rd and a flattened 7th. Also note the II chord and VI chords are minors.

    If you already know your major, min, & 7th. You should be able to play I - IV - V progressions in all keys.

    I am not saying that your song should have this type of progression but it may be beneficial to understand some of the basics.

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