Jump to content
michaelcreese

Chords beneath melodies.

Recommended Posts

Can anyone come up with a tip? The words come along, a melody follows, then you have to get it out of your head and into the music. I can usually figure out a key that suits me for pitch and range, I know the related chords, I know there arent any rules, really. But, I can seldom find a progression of chords that is interesting, satisfying and or fits. So the melody I began with becomes subtly modified to fit the chords I can find to play underneath it. Maybe an interesting bit of it gets flattened out, simplified, because it then harmonises with a chord which seems to fit but doesnt quite but nothing else does either. Dont know all the chords but I know a decent few and I'm not afraid to invent (reinvent) a few more. If I play the melody in a simple form, is there a clue to chord construction and progression there? Surely there must be but I can say it doesnt seem so except for those you would expect to find in a given key. I can make it simple, stick with the major chord and play on through, say, until you can change to the next major, back again then bung in a seventh, but that is dragging everything down to a too familiar level. Dont want to play everything in blue, there is so much more out there that I am not getting. Where is the way forward for me? Minors are wonderful but I find myself chucking them in because they are different, not because they are what is needed. Am certain this is an experience thing, so if you dont mind I'm calling on yours.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's hard to know an answer to your question without knowing a specific example of the problem you are having. How about posting an example of a single note melody line that you are having difficulty with and maybe the members will be able to give you some leads on this.

You could post the melody in any form you can do e.g. a sound sample, a tab or a printed set of alphabet letters such as G A C E D etc or whatever your melody is. It's an interesting question.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks Carol. Why dont I do that this evening and get it uploaded if I can. I habitually use 50 words where 49 and a bit will do. Simply, think of Lay Lady Lay, you know, our mate Bob. There is a lovely downward slipping sequence of chords here that do not follow the melody, exactly, but fit with it perfectly. Do you have to write this sequence in the same way you would the melody, as a separate excercise, imagine it and work it out, or is it lurking inside the melody waiting to be plucked out some way? Either way, at the moment I am not getting it. I´ll see if I can illustrate my difficulty.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sorry Carol. I recorded it ok but when I burned the cd I set the gap wrong and after finalizing it I only got the first little bit, the chords, not the melody. Got to go now, so I will burn another cd tomorrow. Shouldnt take long. Best wishes

Mike

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you are trying to burn a CD of Lay Lady Lay I don't think you need to cos we probably all know it.

From memory it goes A G F E in descending bar chords? I'm guessing, but I guess he 'found' the chord sequence IV - iii - ii - I and while he was playing it over and over he 'found' the melody and words within it.

I would be surprised in that example if he thought of the melody first and then tried to work out a chord sequence to match it, because the chord sequence is really the essence of that song to my ears.

It's also a great exercise to practice bar chords to.

I'm not sure if that is the sort of thing you are asking. Songwriters find their songs and melodies (and words) in any way they can and some get the words first, others get the melody and still others find a cool chord sequence and go from there.

If I've missed your point or if you are stuck on a particular melody or problem post something to show us what it is. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

All the tunes I've ever written always start with a chord progression I like the sound of, then an outline of a melody, then the lyrics. I always have the problem of coming up with lyrics that fit a melody/chord progression.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One piece of advice that helps me is that you shouldn't be afraid to write something that doesn't sound all that great. From that you start to change little bits and pieces so that it gets better and better. Even after that there are some songs or riffs that just have to sit for a while or never really quite work.

Hope this helps

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks all. Here should be first the chords I worked up to go with the melody, which with me comes first at the same time as the words. Sorry guys, I actually think I am in two different keys here, which is a problem I thought I had got over and explains a lot. But my problem with making nice rythm tracks is real, just maybe a blind spot. So would much appreciate:

1. Is this melody original. Its feeling horribly familiar now

2. What keys am I in

3. Can you point me in the direction of a few mellow chords that will go with this melody.

Many thanks

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sounds like your chords are in C major but your melody is in C minor. So you should be looking at chords such as C minor, Bb maj and Ab maj and G7. Eb maj and Fm could also be used in places.

The melody doesn't sound familiar at all to me - and the major key chords are good too - so I think you've got TWO songs in the making :winkthumb:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

First and foremost, there is a finite set of chords. And you have to deal with them specifically. However, melodies are infinite.

As Kirk, mentioned, deal with your chords and then work out a melody. Many a lifelong career has been built around 4 or 5 chords in two or three specific keys.

My best and perhaps old fashioned advice is to find your comfort zone in vocal range. Use those chords and associated progressions that are most comfortable to you.

From there, the sky's the limit.

**

LC

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well who's this bursting in from left field???? Hi there ol' buddy, where've you been? Glad to see you dipping your toes in again Les :D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ok thanks to everyone who came to the rescue here. I have shifted it to Am and am following a promising chord sequence. Feeling a bit more bucked with it now. Another prob with this one is that what I want is a bit ambitious with reference to my ability at this stage. That really should only mean it takes a bit longer. I reckon I will have it done in a month. I try not to mind writing rubbish because you can always bin it and pretend it belongs to someone else or just now and then it transforms into a decent exercise anyway. The reason I cant start with a chord sequence in my head is that I am not that familiar with the great pool of chords available. I can hear some sequences in my head but they are really basic. Like Cmaj, Fmaj etc. Obviously that is an experience thing. Maybe in time it will swing around that way. Anyway, for what its worth I will post this when its done. Time to get back in the cave and get to work. Just for interest I googled "chords in A minor" and came to "guitarchords.org.uk". I haven't explored it fully but it looks quite good, suggestions of what combinations might sound ok, for us less experienced chaps, anyway.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now


  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×