Music Composition – Composing from a Chord Progression

Music Composition - Composing from a Chord Progression



hi in this film we're just going to consider one way of going about composition and we're going to think about how to start from a given chord scheme because one way of going about the job of composing whatever style you want to write in is to come up with a melody and then to think about what the chords might be that fit it but another way of doing things is to start the other way around come up with a chord scheme that works and then work out what you're going to do with the chord scheme so just as a straightforward example of this I've got a chord scheme on the board will work in C major for the time being as well just because it's the easiest key to thinking but of course you could transfer this to any other major key or to any other minor key so could one followed by called six followed by called for followed by called five followed by called one or to put that another way a chord of C followed by a call of a minor followed by a chord of F followed by a quarter G followed by a chord of C and you'll notice that in the light of the earlier films on this topic we've got three cores on here that our primary chords one four five one they're quite strong chords six is one of our secondary courts because in a major key six is one of those minor chords you'll remember that in a major key one four of five major chords but calls two and three and six are minor chords hence this is an a minor chord so you might just want to begin by just having a think about what these chords are I've purposely chosen this chord scheme because it's one that some people might be familiar with if you've ever done something like this and so on because that is this chord scheme so his cord one 1/4 C so that's C E and G his called six the a minor chord so that's a C and E his chord for the F court F a and C his called five the G chord G B and D and then back to chord one again C E and G now having found those basic chords of course you can do anything you like with them so let's have a look at this chord one for a moment there's the chord one the C chord now obviously you could strum this chord on a guitar that's fine if you're doing it on a keyboard you could think well there's my basic triad and I can turn that into a chord as long as I'm using those three notes so I could have a chord one that goes like this they notice this time I've got four notes on the go but all these notes are see e or G in other words they're all notes that belong to chord one so at the bottom I've got to see then I've got a G then I've got an E and then I've got another C at the top but I could just easily as easily organize the chord like this so now I've got a C in the bottom then another scene and then an e and then og at the top or I could organize it like this so I've got a C in the bottom better G than a C then a Neve and it doesn't have to be a four-part chord I can have a much bigger chord like this lots of notes on the go there but you notice they're all C D G C D G C Eve so they're all built from the notes of this chord so once you've got the notes C eg for that first chord you could have three notes four notes seven notes you could spread them out you can do anything you like with them as long as you're using those notes if you use other notes then of course they will clash with that chord and then the music takes on a much more dissonant kind of characteristic when you want to move on to the next court you do just the same so here's called six a C and E or a court of a minor and as long as you're using those notes AC e you could have that chord arranged any way you like here different examples and you can hear as those calls are used in different ways they create slightly different musical effects so you have to decide what kind of effect you want to do now in the example that we started with all I was doing there was using these chords as my baseline so I had seen a G C and that's what we're going to do for the time being because obviously those are the bottom notes of those chords now when I played these all I was doing was taking the chord a basic triad in my right hand so there's one six four five back to one or C a minor F G C and I could just present that in its absolutely basic form like this here's the C chord the a minor chord the F chord the G chord the C chord now what makes that piece that we've started is slightly more interesting is that the right hand chords are broken up and they're given just a bit of rhythm so instead of just having playing chords I break up the right hand chord makes it sound slightly more interesting doesn't it just to break up the chords and to have that slightly dotted rhythm and then of course if you've ever did play this at school maybe you might have done something slightly different with it the next time around change the rhythm but to have the kind of chords in there neat form and so on and then of course somebody might have improvised a melody over the top of those chords and so on so it's possible isn't it to use the courts in their straight form it's possible to spread them into four parts or seven parts to have two called hi to have the chord low to put some rhythm into it to break up the chord to improvise a melody that goes over the top of that court you see this is the basic business of how we work from a given chord scheme and of course you can create any kind of Moody one – or right in any kind of style you want to say for example if you wanted to use that scheme and you wanted to write something that maybe sounded like an earlier piece maybe from Barok times or something you could use this bassline and have this sort of chord outline and maybe have a melody in the right hand that's got a few twiddles and trills ornaments and things to make it sound a little bit barak so you could do something like this that's using the same chord scheme but sounds rather different in that style doesn't it you could have a system where you have something called an Alberti base now this was something that was very common in what they call the Classical period so composers like Mozart and Hyden the people did this kind of thing where you take your chord here's your C chord you'll call one and you break it up like this so you go bottom top Middle top bottom top Middle top so they might have done this by going like this called one Oh I've one and that's called an Alberta base so you could use something like an Alberta base and then maybe come up with a melody that goes over the top of it now that sounds completely different to the tube we started with but it's still using exactly the same scheme you could decide you're going to use those courts but you want to change the time signature we've been working in four beats in a bar so far haven't we well you could organize things with three beats in a bar and has something that sounds a bit more like a waltz how about this so that's using exactly the same scheme and I'm kind of using block cords as a little bit of a melody at the top there but I've organized it with three beats and a bar so you've now got something that's a bit more Waltzing you could have something that's got certainly more punchy rhythm in it that would give you some basis for a more sort of upbeat composition you know that will be a very different kind of style and again you could float some kind of melody over the top of that or you could have something this much more relaxed that creates a karma mood that maybes got a slightly more of a kind of ballad feel to it simply by slowing down the tempo and using the same chord so I could do something like this so you see you can make this an amusing sound so completely different in its styling and its character simply by changing the speed by changing the meter in other words the number of beats in a bar and by organizing the texture in different ways in other words the way we use these chords in different formations either as block chords or broken chords or possibly Alberti there we talked about all by spreading the chords out wide across the keyboard all things that would completely change the mood of your composition be an instrumental composition or a song but this is just explaining the whole business of how you would work from a given chord scheme so if you wanted to compose in this way the starting point would be the chords so you might decide which key you want to be in do you want to be in a major key or in a minor key you might organize all the chords for the key that you've chosen just have a little think about which of the primary chords which are the secondary chords so you're probably going to use a few more primary chords than secondary chords but then you might organize some kind of scheme like the one we've got here as the basis for something and it won't sound like much in the first instance but just get used to the progression of chords and you'll discover then when you kind of do this by sound but some chords progress to others rather better or you might particularly like a particular progression from this chord to that chord that you want to work with and from there once you've got the chord scheme work out what you want to do with the melody work out what you want to do with the chords whether they're block chords broken chords and the sort of characteristics that we've just been thinking about so I hope that gets you started on how to compose from a chord scheme

29 thoughts on “Music Composition – Composing from a Chord Progression

  1. Music Composition – Get the rest of this course here!
    https://www.mmcourses.co.uk/p/composition

  2. Bravo, best explanation ever

  3. You're a great teacher. Is there any rule to be followed ,while u move from one chord to another. For eg, if you r moving from c major to A m .what notes can u add to your melody ,so that u arrive at the destination of Am..n what shall be the destination note of your melody ,(on which note the melody should stand ) to give a real presence of Am chord. Kindly help n answer

  4. Sir please make a video on serialism .๐Ÿ˜Š

  5. This is fantastic really wish I had your abilities!! think I need a brain transplant !

  6. Hard to believe these videos have such low views!

  7. Cool ! Good teaching , wanna say much more but have not proper knowledge of English as I am a Hindi speaking person but have pretty knowledge of music.

  8. Yay! I understand๐Ÿ˜

  9. Thanks to this video, I learned that it's called "Alberti Bass"!

    I knew it was a thing, but I didn't know the name of it.

  10. Great teacher. Hope to attend your courses…

  11. From the perspective of detroit techno / house / ambient / acid house producer, where music is largely repetitive.. Now when I am finally – after doing "music" quarter century – learning music theory, I have started to wonder some black spots in my understanding of theory, what comes to chord proression and song structure.

    Does it go right, or how wrong is it to prolong that time when moving through chord sequence?

    So that song would start with just one chord, keeping changes minimal as long as it is possible to keep it interesting. Then going to next step and on.

    I am thinking so slow movement that it takes whole song to go that chord progression through once. Or maybe twice. But the point is that my kind of music seems not to work well if there is too much things going on too quickly. Like if fitting whole chord seq. in just one pattern and then repeating that until it's time to make it even more alive.

    I guess there is no rule that prevents making some sort of combinations between those two extremeties. Maybe so that song starts with catchy hook and has just a little to none movement in chords, then increasing variety to the end. More complete melodies, faster chord sequence and bpm, some chord substitutions, tougher bassline, more drums, sound fx, and what not.

    I love learning theory nowadays, but it ain't easy to implement in electronic music without loosing that certain style that each genre has.
    Ofc it's good to be unique and do stuff with own authentic personal style, but I'd like to do it inside of some certain limits / characteristic that those genres have. Maybe stretch those limits a bit though.. just not too much. ๐Ÿ˜€

  12. may i know the name of the music u played?

  13. You're awesome! This video is awesome! Thank you and kindly stop using the term "film". It's video. That is all. ๐Ÿ˜›

  14. Thank you, this was helpful

  15. 6:24 The time signature is 3/3, right?

  16. Thanks! Great job

  17. This is gold! I've been whatching a lot of your vids those you have presented us and they are so good, with such a good explanation… it's almost like a gift to the humanity. For now, I just don't have the money, but I'm sure that what you have in the "premium" section of your website must be precious. You deserve all the success in life and the best of luck, Gareth… thank you, so much!

  18. Thank you so much! I can't believe how much I just learned from a 13 minute video.

  19. Absolutely brilliant video!

  20. Amazing as always
    What an inspiration for budding composers

  21. Amazing thank you, i'm getting ready for my University hearing interview, and it helps a lot!

  22. Best teacher ever

  23. what an beautiful explanation master.Thank u for the awesome content.

  24. you are making my dream true

  25. Very excellent video. Sure better than my theory teacher. Can you make some more compisition videos?

  26. how about non-chord tones?

  27. Gareth could you make a video on grade 2 echo singing please because I can't find any video on youtube or www.mmcourses.com if there is a video could you tell me where to find it and if there isn't then could you create one?

  28. Thank you very much for this highly informative and inspiring video!

  29. Hi again Gareth, can I just ask please how do you structure a Concerto? If I want to compose a violin concerto how do i structure it with the ABC theme, recapitulation etc, this is one I would like to know but is not mentioned in the videos. Many thanks in advance

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