Take Note

Hopefully helpful music theory lessons!

HEY GUYS any questions/anything you’d like me to do a lesson on?! I was thinking I’ll do transposition next, but anything else?

justwannagetalong asked: I have a bit of a problem. Whenever I write a song, it ends up having that extremely easy and stereotypical "4 chord" pattern. (Like "Don't Stop Believing" or "Someone Like You" or billions of other songs that we hear.) I want to try to break away from that rut, but I never sounds right. May you please suggest some really unique progressions?

!!! Good question!

The first thing I’d suggest would be to use the typical 4-chord progression, but change it up a little by making some of them seventh chords, or add9, or add a suspension — anything to make them a little different! I know a really great song that is literally just the same two chords, but the construction of the chords varies so much that it doesn’t sound repetitive at all! Using those constructions will get you used to writing songs that don’t have the exact sound of your typical song.

Once you’re comfortable with that, you can literally do anything you want — I’d suggest keeping in mind the chord voicings of each key (you can find that lesson here) and try to stick to those as first, so that you know they’ll sound good. Again, you can change these up by doing variations on the same chords.

If you get comfortable with that too, just play anything! Try out new progressions and if you like what you hear, try to figure out what worked!

I have a few favorite chords that definitely help spice up a song: B7, Cdim7, Eb7, Dsus2, C7, Fmaj7
(I really like seventh chords okay…)

GOOD LUCK :)))))

Anonymous asked: how do you do improv solos over chords?

To my knowledge, all you do is follow these steps:

1) determine the key of the song
2) determine the mood/feeling of the song and find a scale that fits said mood, be it pentatonic (jazzy), major (happy), the relative minor (sad), blues (blues……), etc.
3) play that scale in the pre-determined key, varying the order of the notes, length of time playing each note, tempo, etc. according to the mood/how it fits the song!

Keep in mind that improv soloing generally takes a good ear and extensive knowledge of scales and basic theory so that you don’t accidentally hit a note that sounds terrible. That being said, it is possible to play a note that is not in the correct key or in the chosen scale that sounds good (variety! hooray!) but be careful…and if you do hit an incorrect note, just go back to the tonic or the dominant!

I’m excruciatingly bored this evening — anybody need help with anything?! All questions, comments, concerns welcomed!!!!

hope this helps! If you have any more specific questions, I would be happy to clarify!

hope this helps! If you have any more specific questions, I would be happy to clarify!

floating-on-alright asked: Hey! I was wondering if you had any helpful hints for understanding Cadences??

Indeed I do! I will start working on a lesson on cadences right now!

hooray math!(click through for high res/larger size please!)

hooray math!
(click through for high res/larger size please!)

hello all!

thank you for the (two) questions I received!

to ryverwulfe: I’d like to direct you to this post about basic music terms! If you need any more clarification, please let me know!

to one-rare-salad: Unfortunately, my knowledge of Klumpenhouwer Networks (and abstract algebra in relation to music theory in general) is very limited, so I’m not sure I can help at the moment! However, I would be happy to explain cyclic sets in general and I’m continuing research on Klumpenhouwer Networks, so hopefully I can eventually do a lesson on those as well!

Thanks again, and please let me know if you have any other questions!