PDA

View Full Version : Song Structures



JackLuis
06-13-2016, 06:02 AM
I was wondering about song (chord) structures as in writing songs. In my ~14 months of fooling with Ukes, Ive learned I-IV-V7 is the 'standard" chord progression, but three chords is not enough to make more than a simple song. Although Dylan and Willy do seem to get along with 3-4 chords but Paul Simon seems to use many chords.

Blues (12 bar) structures are built on I-IV-V but still that gets redundant and throwing in a VI minor doesn't always 'fit'.

Then there is the sequence. It seems to me that a V7 should always be followed by a root (I) because if you go V7-IV it doesn't seem right musically. Does music theory suggest certain progressions/sequences 'fit' better?

Then there are the lyrics. Songs seem to be more like poems, with meter and recurrent lines and forms. The lyrics seem to establish a rhythm , each line needs to have the same number of syllables, or you have to do like Willy and fake it sometimes.

I spent most of my life in tech work and there I found 'magic numbers', (actually formulas to calculate things,) were the root of most things. It seems to me that there should be relationships to make music analogous to the music of the spheres?

I haven't really learn the 'names' for I-IV-V, I think it's something like Root-SubDominate-Dominate? Would study of the names rather than the numbers help clear my ignorance?
Hmm?

jollyboy
06-13-2016, 06:28 AM
How To Play Blues Ukulele (http://howtoplayukulele.com/how-to-play-blues-ukulele/) contains some useful info about blues chord progressions.

There was a companion volume about chords progressions generally, but it doesn't seem to be available anymore. I think some of it (but certainly not all of it) must have ended up in the Dummies guide.

Rllink
06-13-2016, 06:29 AM
Jack, I've been studying chord progressions pretty seriously for many months, and the more I learn, the more there is to learn . Good luck. You've bit off a mouth full.

JackLuis
06-13-2016, 11:03 AM
Jack, I've been studying chord progressions pretty seriously for many months, and the more I learn, the more there is to learn . Good luck. You've bit off a mouth full.

Yeah, I know there is a lot of stuff to learn about music. I've learned a lot since I started playing Ukulele last year. Well maybe a little since it appears there is a huge amount to learn. Part of the problem I have is learning the words to describe it. Nomenclature is key to most subjects and music has a unique nomenclature. Plus the sound of it can not be put in words, you have to learn the tonal language as well.

I like to let my instrument sing the 'words' and I didn't ever sing much and am trying to learn that too. Old dog, new tricks, it's tough. :old:

JackLuis
06-14-2016, 09:37 AM
I was surfing this morning and had an inspiration to write a song about wild Irish women, after seeing Luck Lawless's video about Grace O'Malley. I had worked it out a bit in E but then I thought. Why not rip off, err... adapt "A Wild Colonial Boy's" chord structure?

Is that Kosher? ;-)

cml
06-14-2016, 10:19 AM
I was surfing this morning and had an inspiration to write a song about wild Irish women, after seeing Luck Lawless's video about Grace O'Malley. I had worked it out a bit in E but then I thought. Why not rip off, err... adapt "A Wild Colonial Boy's" chord structure?

Is that Kosher? ;-)
Of course it is, music is all about "borrowing" ;). Very few songs are truly original these days, but they can still be moving, creative and awesome all the same :).
Check this out

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oOlDewpCfZQ

mds725
06-14-2016, 10:36 AM
There's nothing wrong with using a common chord progression. "Let It Be" and "Wagon Wheel" have the same chord progressions and both are considered classics. Try singing "Let It Be" while watching this video.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1gX1EP6mG-E

There are a gazillion songs, from "Heart and Soul" to "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas" to "Why Do Fools Fall In Love" to "Stand By Me" that have the same so-called Doo-Wop chord progression. The key is to come up with a different melody. I was in a songwriting class once where our assignment was to write a song using the chord progression from Bob Dylan's "Simple Twist Of Fate." It was actually a great exercise in writing melody lines.

On the other hand, George Harrison got sued for "My Sweet Lord" by the people who owned the rights to "He's So Fine." He used not only the same chord progression but also a melody line that was too much like the melody line in "He's So Fine."

spookelele
06-14-2016, 11:20 AM
There's also circle of fifths. Very useful.

Ukejenny
06-14-2016, 12:43 PM
You can spend half your life learning all the "rules" and then the other half learning how to break them. I usually write from the lyrics first, at least part of a verse, then let the "melody" that starts out lead me through chords that work. Then it evolves from there. I love when the UOGB does a supreme mashup of all these different songs that have similar chord structures.

JackLuis
06-14-2016, 01:35 PM
There's also circle of fifths. Very useful.

I have a chart of the chords in each key, Major and minor that identifies the I II III, etc and shows the # and b's etc. Easier than a circle of fifths, for me at least.

Was working the I IV V vi progression in E sounded pretty good, but haven't got the lyrics down yet. All of them easy on a G tuned uke. I probably need to write the lyrics out in stanzas and then put in the chords. I'm tying to figure out which of the highlights of her life to address. She had two husbands, a lover, three children, forced Queen Elizabeth to met her in Greenwich, and lived to be 67 so that would make a long song! I may scramble them up in the verses, depending on how the lyrics work out.

I'm still looking up her history, one story was she gave birth to a son at sea and and few hours later came up on deck and helped her men fight off Turkish pirates with a musket! Can you say True Grit!

JackLuis
06-15-2016, 07:08 AM
The ukulele is a musical instrument. The music is not a ukulele instrument.
A tune has several parts, chords, melody, rhythm, voices etc.
If you want to learn more about music and you like Irish music, buy a tin whistle and look at the videos on a site like Kerrywhistles. Or take up singing lessons. Your voice and or a tin whistle will teach you to play by ear and to learn about the melody part, without needing to buy an expensive trumpet.
The style of playing chords on a ukulele is one part of the music, another part is the melody. Learning to play the whistle or sing is about learning the melody part. When you are learning the melody part, you will start to "get" scales and modes, which apart from leading you into other interesting areas, will also lead you back to making your own chords and chord progressions.
You will find that a tune arranged for a D tin whistle is also arranged for a GCEA tuned ukulele in most cases.
If you like Jazz or classical music consider a recorder instead of the tin whistle.
Become a music person, and grow out of the ukulele person cocoon.

Bill while I understand your point, I'm an old man and just learning the Uke is enough for me right now. Well and learning to play in G and C tunings. The one thing I really like about ukes is that they are easy to play, compared to other instruments. And I like that they are smaller than a guitar which I tried for years to play and never got very far, or not as far as I have with the uke.

I like that I can explore things with my little stringed boxes and not be in a rush to learn other things. I may take things slow or attempt more, but the more I learn the more I want to attempt. I just started to sing and am making progress with that. Now maybe others will think I'm slow, but hey I'm having fun!