Friday, October 29, 2010

Forms in Music for Songwriters

We talked about working on arranging as part of developing your writing skills in a past post. This time we're going to go into more detail about the different forms in music. Going through all of the different forms is too much for one article, so we're going to focus on forms used in popular music. If you're an aspiring songwriter, you should be familiar with all of these forms. It's a good idea to know about the different forms, be able to hear the form in music, and be able to apply them to your own work.

The Ubiquitous Verse-Chorus

Pretty much the de-facto standard for today is the verse-chorus form. Most of the hits  you hear on the radio follow this form. It's basically an intro, followed by a verse-chorus.
There is generally a bridge just before the last chorus out but may be omitted. There are a number of ways that the bridge is handled. It's usually lyrically and harmonically different than the rest of the song. It can bring a new point of view or another side to the story. In most rock/pop songs there used to be the ubiquitous guitar solo but. since the 90's the solo has been replaced by a rap in pop music. The intro is usually pretty short, the second verse may be shorter than the first, and the final chorus will be repeated on the outro. There are many variations of this including a pre-chorus, a little section that sets you up for the chorus. If you're new to songwriting, this would be the form to start with.

a) intro - verse - chorus - verse - chorus - bridge - chorus
b) intro - verse - pre-chorus - chorus - verse - pre-chorus - chorus - bridge - chorus


Every decade of pop music has had a specific form that was used more than others. One style stays popular for a while and then slowly loses favor to another form. For example, in the 30's when jazz was the most popular music going, the AABA form (also known as the 32 bar form) was the one that was used the most. To this day, jazz standards use this form more than any other. So, if you were setting out to write the newest jazz standard, this would be a good place to start. The 'A' section would have the basic storyline and 'hook' of the song where the 'B' section would be contrasting to the first section. The last 'A' section may end slightly different than the first, using a turnaround to bring you back to the beginning of the form.

A1 - A1 - B - A2

The Refrain

A song form made popular by folk singers is the verse-refrain. This consists of a verse followed by a short one or two sentence refrain. While not used as frequently it's still a viable form that can be used to great effect. Dylan would use this form a lot. Artists like Bruce Springsteen still use this in a number of their songs.While not nearly as popular as the verse-chorus, this form can be effective in bringing a short memorable idea.

verse - refrain - verse - refrain - etc.

The Blues

Not only is the blues a style of music, it's also a very popular form that has been used in all styles of music. The basic blues consists of a 12 bar chord progression that is repeated over and over. At the end of the 12 bars there is a turn-around that brings you back to the beginning. There are other forms as far as the length; from 8 bars to 32. There are also tons of variations on the chords but the basic I-IV-V remains.The entire song repeats this form over and over. There is also an underlying form in the phrasing. It's closer to the refrain style mentioned earlier in that each verse has a single idea (usually repeated in 4 bar phrases) with a refrain at the end. The blues is used in tons of jazz standards as well as rock and pop songs. It pretty much dominated rock in the 70's. There have been many variations on this including using the verse-chorus form over a basic blues progression. Masters this style of rock would be Led Zeppelin and ZZ Top.

||: I   |        |        |       |  IV     |         | I      |         | V      | IV     | I     | V    :||
Dance Music

Dance and club songs have a form of their own. It stems from the importance of the build and breakdown. Whereas pop music likes to get to the song right away, dance remixes take their time getting to the lyric; mostly because establishing the groove is extremely important There is an opening groove that sets the song up. Then there is a small breakdown before the song and main lyric actually start. It may follow the verse chorus form or sometimes it's just a repeated phrase (usually with effects or spliced up). Then there is a big build up, followed by another breakdown and then finally the last section of the song. The groove is usually kept up until the end of the song where the producer will usually take out most of the elements, just leaving the groove. This makes it easy for DJ's to beat match and mix songs seamlessly.DJ's like David Guetta have started to dominate the charts with variations of this form.

intro (beat) - melody (riff) - breakdown - build - lyric - build - breakdown - build - lyric - out (beat)


Metal also has a form all its own. Some may argue that there is no from but it usually follows some rules. The form follows a basic verse-chorus form but makes changes along the way. A classic example would be Black Sabbath's 'Iron Man'. It starts with an opening lick that is usually (but not always) the general theme of the song. That would be repeated a number of times and then another section, with a different riff would be introduced. That would be repeated a number of times and then the 'chorus' of the song would be repeated. Then, another section would be introduced which may have something to do with the earlier sections, but may be a completely new idea. The 'chorus' would then be repeated again. There would usually be at least one guitar solo and there sometimes be a section that was in half time or double time. The general form would look something like this:
intro - A1 - B (Chorus) - A2 - B - A3 -B - C (half or double time) - B
This form is pretty much the way metal songs are written even to this day. Of course there are many variations but these are the essential elements.

New Trends

As with all arts, songwriting is constantly evolving*. There are always current trends in the way songs are written and especially the way they are arranged and produced. There is the aforementioned guitar solo being replaced by a rap in pop songs. But there have been other developments that have been showing themselves more often. One thing that has gained more popularity is songs starting off immediately with the chorus. While this has been around for some time (think of 'She Loves You' by the Beatles) it's being used more and more. It's mostly used in hiphop but has been gaining ground in other styles. Dance and club music has also had an affect on pop music.There are songs on the charts now that use the basic (verse-chorus) build-breakdown that is standard in dance. Likewise, there are 'heavier' pop songs that have used ideas from metal. There are 'metal' bands that have a poppier sound that use the forms found in metal. In this way, much like the rock from the 70's, the riff becomes a huge part of the success of the song.
*Art evolves but doesn't necessarily get better. It's mostly a reflection of society at the time.

Getting Creative

In some songwriting circles. getting creative with song structures is considered a bad idea. There's a general consensus that if you're an aspiring songwriter, it's best to stick with the tried and true verse-chorus format. While there are arguments made that it's better to get right to the chorus, it's not always that black and white. If you're writing songs and submitting them to publishers, it's better to keep it simple. That doesn't mean that you have to write one way only, but you do have to keep it simple. If they ask for something specific, give them what they want. They don't have time to listen to extended mixes and want to hear your best stuff immediately. If you're an artist, or if you're just trying to improve your craft, trying the different forms can be beneficial to your writing skills. Artists are always looking for something that will stand them out from others. Having a great song with a memorable hook and interesting form, may set you apart from all of the standard stuff.

Songwriting and Beyond

As you can see, we've barely touched the surface here. A couple of these forms have been around forever and are pretty much 'need to know' if you want to become a songwriter. Then there are variations and new forms based on different styles of music. It's a good idea to take note of the form in any music if you plan on doing any writing in that style. In some styles, like dance and metal, it's hard to separate the production (and instruments) from the songwriting. But, even with these styles it's still important to write a good line and lyric (appropriate for the style of course) so you have something of value to build upon. Happy writing.

Sunday, October 17, 2010



"POINT LINE CLOUD is a collection of audio and video collaborations between Curtis Roads and Stephen O'Reilly, it has been a ever shifting project over the years which constantly continues to evolve. The first performance of the materials that grew into the project was in 2001 at a concert with Autechre and Russell Haswell in Los Angeles. Since then it has been performed in many diverse venus around the world."

Point Line Cloud (selections) from Brian O'Reilly on Vimeo.
From Vimeo - description
"Beneath the level of the note lies the realm of sound particles. Each particle is a pinpoint of sound. Recent advances let us probe and manipulate this microacoustical world. Sound particles dissolve the rigid bricks of musical composition-the notes and their intervals-into more fluid and supple materials. The sensations of point, pulse (series of points), line (tone), and surface (texture) emerge as the density of particles increases. Sparse emissions produce rhythmic figures. By lining up the particles in rapid succession, one can induce an illusion of tone continuity or pitch. As the particles meander, they flow into liquid-like streams and rivulets. Dense agglomerations of particles form clouds of sound whose shapes evolve over time." -Curtis Roads
POINT LINE CLOUD is a collection of audio and video collaborations between Curtis Roads and myself, it has been a ever shifting project over the years which constantly continues to evolve. The first performance of the materials that grew into the project was in 2001 at a concert with Autechre and Russell Haswell in Los Angeles. Since then it has been performed in many diverse venus around the world.
The three excerpts presented are:
This work contains in part visual source materials provided by Matthew Marsden that were further layered and processed using various digital softwares.
Volt air pt. 3
The source material was generated using the analog video synthesizer the Sandin Image Processor located at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Thank you to Brett Williams and Edward Rankus who at the time helped me dig deeper into the IP.
Half life pt. 1 Sonal atoms
Was created using only a few seconds of footage that was then edited, layered, processed and re-processed to create the basis for the work. Curtis' book MICROSOUND had a profound influence on the conception of how to edit and construct this work, at times editing the video to the sound on a frame by frame level.

"When forms collapse, the resulting remains expose layered bits containing infinite possibilities. The inner workings of these fragments make up the foundation of Brian O'Reilly's videos, not unlike microsonic music composition, to which O'Reilly's oeuvre has a great affinity. This type of sound making employs sonic events shorter than musical notes creating a music of vestiges. In these works intervals of visual information are isolated and reworked in order to compose the visualizations for a particular piece. Assemblage art also infiltrates itself a great deal into the videos, albeit in an opposite direction. While assemblage utilizes found scraps to create a new object, these videos degrade original footage in order to unearth the weathered layers in these moving images. Both approaches employ as source material peripheries that would otherwise go unnoticed. By placing a "magnifying glass" onto these materials, a whole visual environment is constructed. This augmented space is precisely what O'Reilly's makes tangible." - Marcella Faustini from "An Aesthetic of Collapse: Brian O'Reilly's Cinema of Fragmentized Failure"

Friday, October 15, 2010

The Art of Arrangement: Bass

When it comes down to arranging music (any type of music), one of your prime considerations is the bass. In most styles of music, the bass plays a major role. In other styles it plays a simple supporting role; supporting, but just as important never the less. The bass makes up 1/2 of the major support in modern music, the drums being the other. It defines the groove, the feel and the underlying harmony.

The History of the Bassline

The bass line has always had a huge impact on Western Music. At one time, all a composer had to do was write the melody and bass line. They wouldn't even fill in the accompaniment.
They would use a numbering system (called 'figured bass') to let the accompanists know what to play. Around the time of Bach, when counterpoint was the way that composers wrote, writing a good bass line was an education in it's own right. In fact, Bach wrote down the 'rules' to writing a good bass line that are just as valid to this day. 

Just the Root

Most of the time in popular music, the bass player is relegated to simply playing the roots of the chords.While effective most of the time, there are tons of ways to make the bassline more interesting. First of all there is the falling or climbing bass line. This is where the bass will play a scalar or chromatic line against a number of changes. These are usually pretty effective in bringing out a harmony or part without taking too much away from the melody or other parts. These go a long way in making an interesting bass line, using more linear lines instead of the usual jumping form root to root. The use of these type of bass lines usually result in slash chords written for the rest of the band. Slash chords are usually other notes in the chord (e.g. the 3rd, 5th, or 7th) moved to the bass, but don't it doesn't have to be. Any note can go with any chord, as long it's right for the song.
Harmony used with descending bass line:
regular harmony:                            C G Am F G C Dm
bass line:                                       C B A G F E D
harmony with bass line:                  C G/B Am F G C/E Dm*
*This line is a bit long in the tooth but you get the idea.

Jazz Cats

One style of music where the bass is paramount is jazz. If it's straight forward traditional jazz, the bass player will typically be carrying the beat with a steady bass. They will usually play quarters with some embellishment added for variety. There are many things involved in playing bass in a jazz band, one of them being improvisation and having a 'dialogue' with the other players. If you're writing out a jazz arrangement for bass, most of the time you'll just indicate the chords and let the player be. If there are special notes in your arrangement as far as bass notes, you'll want to include them in the chord names to let all of the musicians (especially the bass) know what's happening at that particular time. Let the bass player choose the notes, you just indicate the harmony. If there is a specific line that is part of the head, then you'll want to indicate that. One other thing to note is that if there are any special shots, you just have to indicate them in the score. Jazz bass players will use the fifth and octave (see below), but also use other chord tones and chromatic notes to create interesting, moving bass lines. Unless you're a bass player, leave these to the pros.

I Go Out Walking

One thing that a bass player will do is walk. Walking is simply taking steps (either chromatic or scalar) between roots. This is done in almost every style of music. Jazz players walk consistently between the changes. Certain styles of rock and country will do it between certain chord changes. To make your bass line more interesting, you'll want to incorporate some walking. How much depends on the style of music and the effectiveness of the line. Sometimes a couple of notes connecting two chords at the right time is just enough for it to be effective. Just try it a couple of times throughout the arrangement. Listen back and then add or take away accordingly. (I usually find myself taking away). Try chromatic just as much as scalar patterns. Be careful in that if you sit on one of these notes long enough, or put enough of an accent on it, that passing note will then become part of your harmony. That is, since you've put so much 'emphasis' on it, the rest of the players will probably want to make a change at that spot. That means putting these walking notes on weak beats (stay away from the 1st and 3rd beat) and not letting them ring out too long (short note values).

Pedal on the Vamp

One thing that will get almost any dance tune going is a repeated bass line. This is where the bass will stay on one note or play a vamp while the other players continue with the chord changes. These can be used for a couple of changes or for a whole song  Pedals are used all the time in almost every genre of music. These are used for great effect in dance music since it reinforces the constant groove. In traditional theory it's referred to as a pedal, in jazz it's known as a vamp. Bach would use pedals in his music; usually the root or 5th on the 'pedal' (lowest notes) on an organ while running a moving harmony over top. In pop, dance and jazz it's a repeating bass line over and over while the rest of the band will play the different changes. This isn't just used in dance music though, rock players do this all of the time. In fact, if you have a set of chord changes in a pop or rock tune, try a single repeating bass line instead of just following the roots. Or have a vamp over the verse and then change the bass line with the harmony in the chorus.

The Fifth/Fourth/Octave

Another thing that bass players do is the use of the fifth and the octave. Sometimes if a chord is held for a long time or the bass player wants to add some notes to a given harmony, they'll add the fifth (or fourth below, i.e. same note) or the octave. Sometimes this procedure is used so much, it becomes a part of the style of music. Bass lines in bluegrass and country use this alteration so much so that it has become an essential part of the style. Some other types of music (especially various types of folk music) relies on this same device. But this isn't relagated to just country, it's used all over the place. From metal to dance and everything in between, the bass player will often go to the fifth when playing a bass line. The way it is used varies from style to style of course. A metal player will never alternate between the root and the fifth in straight quarters. But they will play the root, followed by the fifth in various rhythms and repetitions. The same goes for the use of the octave. One of the defining elements of disco was the alternating octave bass line. Funk slap bass and various styles of dance music use this figure a lot. Bass players love the fifth and the octave because it leaves the harmony wide open for the rest of the band; i.e. it doesn't define the chord (major, minor, 7th) other than the fact that it doesn't have a flat fifth.

Get Real

If you're going to take your arrangement and try to put it down on record, you may want to save yourself some hassle and get a real player to do it for you. Not only does this save you time, it will make your recording that much better and can be a great learning experience. If you're doing an RnB remix of one of your songs and know somebody who plays that style, try and get them in on the recording session. The player will add two things that you probably can't. One is feel. Every style has its own feel. Players in various styles just play a certain way that adds authenticity to the track. A jazz drummer doesn't hit like a rock drummer and vice versa. It's the same for bass. The player well versed in the style will have a certain feel that would be hard to replicate; no matter how great your sequencing chops. The other thing a player will bring is knowledge of the style. If you've written a basic bass line for them to follow, they may notice things that aren't obvious to someone not as well versed with the style. For example, if you've written just roots for the bass all the way through, they may suggest some alternate bass lines that may be more effective than your own. RnB bass players love to use inversions and alternate notes for the bass. Likewise if it was a metal tune, the player might notice if your changes sounded a little dated or clichéd. If a player makes some suggestions, take note and consider them. It makes the whole experience better for you and for them. If you leave your ego at the door, you may be surprised at how much you learn. Also, everybody likes to be part of the process and be heard. If a player's suggestions are seriously considered, they usually will feel better about the session and look forward to working with you more.

Bass Sounds

In certain styles of music, the actual bass sound is critical to the authenticity of the style. Some styles of dance music are defined by the sounds of the drums (especially the kick) and bass. There is a difference not only the notes played but the sound of the instrument. The same goes for certain styles of rock and pop. Reggae bass has a different sound than funk. Jazz uses the stand up bass but not always. Different genres of rock have different bass sounds. Sometimes it's the full bottom bass we're used to but in other styles it may be more mid-rangey with some distortion added for effect. The different genres of dance music rely heavily on the bass. A house bass line is completely different than a techno bass line. Not only is the bass line different, the actual sound of the bass will be different. Some genres of dance music rely more on synth lines. The actual variation of different synth bass sounds used in dance music is another post in itself. Suffice to say (particularly for dance music), pay as much attention to the sound used, as the lines used.

Recording The Bass

If you've ever spend any time mixing, you'll know the trials and tribulations of trying to mix the bass properly. This is another element of the style. How much room does the bass take up in that style? It's not just a matter of making the bass sound big. While you may think that there isn't much variation, there is. The bass in RnB takes much more room than it does in most rock. Even though the bass is of huge importance in jazz, it's usually mixed quite conservatively (i.e. in terms of how 'big' it is) compared to RnB or rock. Just put in a hip-hop song and then follow it immediately with a jazz ensemble and you'll see what I mean. (The jazz tune will probably be mixed much quieter also...part of the style.) Even between different artists within the same genre of music, there is a huge difference in how 'big' or how much room the bass takes up. Some rock artists want the big bass, but others want to make sure that the guitars take up just as much space. Remember, not everything is going to be huge. Something has to take precedence over the other. You can't have a big bassy kick, with a thick bass and bottom heavy guitars. There are too many things fighting for the same space and things are just going to get messy. If you're recording as well as arranging, these are things that you're going to have to consider when putting it all together. If you're doing any recording or mixing of bass, remember how important it is to the music: make room for it. If needed, try adding a boost around 1-2kHz or so (depending on the bass sound). It will help bring out the bass line, especially on smaller systems. Also check your mixes in a variety of situations, that's the only way you'll know for sure if it translates well.

Take The Time

When composing or arranging songs, always take time to consider the bass. Even if it doesn't take a leading role in the style of music you're arranging, it's always an important part. For every style of music, there are conventions and 'rules' that apply to that style. Make sure to take the time and learn the style and try to get the best possible 'bottom line' that you can. If at all possible, try different bass lines and different bass sounds. Try each in a mix and see how they fit. Back in Bach's time, composers were encouraged to make the best bass line they could. It didn't have to just carry the harmony, it also had to be as interesting and singable as the melody. This is something we should all still aspire to.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

The Circle of Fifths for Songwriters

If you're acquainted with an music theory at all,  you've heard about the circle of fifths. It's one of the building blocks of western music theory. It lists all of the keys in a circle of fifths (or fourths depending on your direction around the circle). Musicians primarily use it at first to learn the key signatures of the various keys. It starts with the key of C, which has no sharps or flats. It then goes onto G with it's one accidental of F#. Then on to D with it's two sharps F# and C#, etcetera. The interesting thing about the circle is how many different ways it applies to music.

Not only does it make it easy to memorize the different keys because it's so logically laid out, but there are many other patterns in it as well. The pattern of keys (C, G, D, A etc) also follows the occurrence of sharps (F#, C#, G#, etc) and backwards follows the occurrence of flats (Bb, Eb, Db, etc.). It also lists all of the relative minors for each major (the relative minor having the same key signature as the major). If you're serious about making music, this chart must be memorized.

Diatonics 101

One of the great applications of the circle that most people don't know about is that it tells you all of the chords in any given key. If we use C as an example: we start off with C as the major and we know immediately that we have Am as the relative minor. So we already know the I and the vi chords. If we go one step to the right, we get G, the V in C and G's relative minor Em, the iii in C. If we go one step to the left of C we get F the IV and its relative minor Dm which is the ii in C. So just by looking at the two sets of chords next to the key we're in, we get all of the chords available in that key. In C we have: C Dm Em F G Am*. The only chord we have missing is the vii...more on this in a moment. So to get all of the chords available in any given key all you have to do is start at the home key on the circle, that will be your I and vi. One step to the right and you'll have your V and iii. One step to the left of your key and you'll have your IV and ii. There's a world of songs in this alone.

Diatonic Chords in the key of C Major

*Of course this also applies to songs in the relative minor. The biggest difference here is that the Vm chord in the minor key is often made into a major. This enforces the V to Im progression. There are actually tons of variations of chord progressions in minor keys. More on this later.

The bVII Chord

The circle does really well when dealing with chords given within a certain key but what happens if you want to use some blues/rock type progressions? Well this works just as well here too, we just have to use the circle a little differently. This time we're going to stick to the majors, or the 'outside' of the circle. If we use the key of C again, we see that going right we have our V and going one step left we have our IV. But, if we keep going one more to the left we come to Bb which happens to be the bVII in the key of C. If you're familiar with pop and blues progressions, you'll know that the VII chord a major key is a minor 7th b5 chord. This chord is almost never used in popular music. In other forms of music (classical, jazz) it has specific applications. The bVII chord (a major chord) however, is often used in both pop and blues. The chord is said to be 'borrowed' from the minor but it's suffice to say here that it has a special sound. If you're not sure, trying playing a IV-V-I and then interject a bVII in there to see how it fits. It's not truly diatonic but it's been used so often that we're used to hearing it. This chord has been used in everything from the blues, to Elton John songs, to the theme to Star Wars.

Adding the bVII chord to the key of C Major

Once More to the Left

So if we start at C, go one to the left we have F, our IV chord, if we go one more to the left, we have Bb, our bVII chord. If we go one more to the left, we get Eb, our bIII chord. This is another blues/rock chord that is often used. If you strum through a I to bIII progression, it automatically sounds like rock or blues (although it is actually used in all types of music). In fact if we start at C and list the next four chords to the left in the circle, we have one of the most used rock and blues progressions of all time. We start with C the I chord, we go to F, the IV chord. One more to the left we end up at Bb, the bVII and then Eb, the bIII. This chord progression is used in everything from rock and blues, pop, to some of your favorite club songs (it's used in dance music all the time).

Adding the bVII and bIII to the key of C Major

Going Modal

Another application of circle applies to writing in songs in different modes. If you're thinking that this is revolutionary, it isn't. Modal songwriting has been around for about 500 years; Celtic music, folk songs, songs from the Middle Ages (to name a few) all use modes. We're going to look at Dorian first. A very famous song that uses this mode is 'Scarborough Fair'. We're going to use the same chart we did with the diatonic chords in the key of C. Except this time the root (red circled chord) will be on the Dm, the chord on the lower left of the highlighted circle. We start with the Dm chord; our Im chord. The F right above it will be our III chord. We're going to go to the right this time. Next we have C, our bVII chord, and Am, our Vm chord. Once more to the right and we have G, our IV chord and Em, our IIm chord. The only chord missing here is our VI chord which (like the VII in major) is special in dorian. 

Hint: When writing using modes, play through a modal progression a couple of times to get the sound in your head. That way you'll end up writing in that mode and not automatically start writing in minor or another key. Try playing a Im IV Vm chord progression a couple of times and see what I mean. This is a 'very Dorian' chord progression.
To write in another key, just move the highlighted section around the circle of fifths until you arrive at the key in which you want to explore.

The Other Modes

Writing in other modes (ie. Mixolydian, Phrygian etc.) can start with this way of putting the various chord progressions together. For example, writing in Mixolydian, we would move the red circled chord to the top right (the G in our C major example) and go from there. Once you've written songs in different modes, you'll start to see there are special cases in each mode. There's a ton more to it than this but this should be a good primer.

Variations on a Minor

Like mentioned earlier, when writing in minor keys many variations have been used. There are three different forms of the minor scale that we derive chords from. In the case of minor, these different forms get mixed and mashed together all the time. What usually happens is the song starts in the natural minor and then a couple of chords from the other minor scales are 'borrowed' to make new chord progressions. We're going to let you know the different chords available and let you choose how you want to use them. These are the chord progressions most often used in pop and rock. We won't be going into all of the different extensions since that is an article in itself. 

We've already mentioned the natural minor. This follows the same chords found in the relative major scale. If you want to know all of the chords in the other minor scales, you'll have to make some small changes to the original VI and VII chords. To make a harmonic chord progression, you'll sharpen the (flat) VII. To make a melodic minor progression, you'll have to sharpen the (flat) VI and (flat) VII. The problem with the minors isn't so much the actual chords as it is the quality of the chords. Changing the 6th and 7th notes of the minor scale changes the quality of all of the chords in that key. So just by sharpening the 7th, you've changed the qualities of all of the chords that use that note. As a result, songwriters will take chords that they like from one form of the minor and use them in various ways.

Like mentioned before, the v (minor) will often be changed to a major chord (and just as often to a dominant 7th) to reinforce the V-i progression. There are others. The IV chord is often made into a major as well. Sometimes writers will change the IV to a major and leave the as a minor. The difference between this and the modes mentioned earlier is that the rest of the chords (e.g. the VI chord) from the natural minor are left alone.

Here are some variations:

i IV V: Am F G

i iv V: Am Dm E(7)

i IV i bVII bVI v: Am D Am G F Em

i IV V: Am D E

i bIII IV V: Am C D E

And Then...

Then there are the minor chord progressions used in RnB...but that's another article. Have fun.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Visual Music in Montréal - October 2010

October 13, 14, 15, 18, 21 - 2010

A rich array of visual music events featuring film, concert, lecture and live performances of Jean Detheux's visual music works. Jeans visual music works are quite incredible.
Jean Detheux's Visual Music in Montréal
Visit: for more information

Have just viewed Jeans visual music visuals for Phrygian Gates (excerpt) Music - John Adams, piano Jean-Philippe Collard-Neven- simply stunning

view excerpt online at:

Tuesday, October 5, 2010