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   Wayne Chase

  
  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


  

  
CHAPTER 6:
How Chords and Chord Progressions
REALLY Work
  
6.17 Chords and Chord Progressions: Maximizing Emotional Impact

 
PAGE INDEX
  

6.17.1 Optimizing Unity and Variety in Chord Progressions

6.17.2 Emotional Effects of Chords

 

~ • ~ • ~ • ~


6.17.1

OPTIMIZING UNITY AND VARIETY IN CHORD PROGRESSIONS


The writer Tom Wolfe once advised that, just as a doctor learns, “First, do no harm,” so an artist must keep in mind, “First, entertain.”


     In songwriting, this applies to every aspect: harmony, rhythm, melody, form, lyrics, performance. “To entertain” means pretty much the same thing as, “Create sufficient variety. Do not bore the listener.”


     At the same time, every element has to be accessible. “To be accessible” means pretty much the same thing as, “Create sufficient unity. Be interesting. Do not confuse the listener.” The human brain seeks patterns.


     Figure 128 summarizes this concept:




FIGURE 128  Scales of Unity and Variety

 


 




     Aim for the upper right.


     Your song (or the song you’ve chosen to play, if you didn’t write it) won’t grab your audience emotionally if it confuses them musically or lyrically, or if it bores them, musically or lyrically.


     A great song, performed competently, gets everything right. It strikes a unity-variety balance with respect to each component.

 

        Harmony and chord progressions

        Pulse, meter, tempo, rhythm

        Phrasing and form

        Melody

        Lyrics

        Performance values (live or recorded)


     When each of these elements strikes the listener as both accessible (not confusing) and compelling (not boring), the song is irresistible.


     At the end of each of Chapters 6 through 10, you will find a table summarizing the key ways of achieving balance—avoiding confusion and boredom—with respect to the chapter’s topic.


     This being the end of Chapter 6, here’s Table 51, summarizing the main ways you can avoid confusing and boring your audience with your chord choices and chord progressions.


     (NOTE: As always, these are not hard-and-fast rules. For instance, there’s nothing inherently “wrong” with using thirds or fifths up, so long as you know what you’re doing).


     If you’re unsure of the meaning of a musical term, it’s probably in the , just before the Index.



TABLE 51  Optimizing Unity and Variety in Chord Choice and Chord Progressions

 


 

Prefer ...

Instead of ...

Tonality

      Firmly established tonality; use of dominant chord

      Weak tonality; dominant chord absent or de-emphasized

Organizing Framework

      Harmonic scales

      Circle of Fifths

      Church mode based harmony

Chord Choice

      Variety: consonant triads, dissonant 7ths, occasional use of highly dissonant or chromatic chords

      All consonant or all dissonant chords

Chord Progression Types

      Seconds, up or down

      Fifths down

      Fifths up, to or from tonic

      Occasional use of chromatic progressions

      Thirds, up or down

      Fifths up, away from tonic

      Immoderate use of chromatic progressions

Modulation

      Pivot

      Relative

      Parallel

      Sequential

      Shift

      No modulation at all






6.17.2

EMOTIONAL EFFECTS OF CHORDS


Table 52 below summarizes some emotional effects associated with various chord types. Emotional effects vary for a given chord, depending on musical context.




TABLE 52  Emotional Effects of Chords

 


Chord Type 

Associated Emotions

Major

(e.g., C)

Happiness, cheerfulness, confidence, brightness, satisfaction

Minor

(e.g., Cm)

Sadness, darkness, sullenness, apprehension, melancholy, depression, mystery

Seventh

(e.g., C7)

Funkiness, soulfulness, moderate edginess

Major Seventh

(e.g., CM7)

Romance, softness, jazziness, serenity, tranquillity, exhilaration

Minor Seventh

(e.g., Cm7)

Mellowness, moodiness, jazziness

Ninth

(e.g., C9)

Openness, optimism

Diminished

(e.g., Cº)

Fear, shock, spookiness, suspense

Suspended Fourth

(e.g., Csus4)

Delightful tension

Seventh, Minor Ninth

(e.g., C7♭9)

Creepiness, ominousness, fear, darkness

Added Ninth

(e. g., Cadd9)

Steeliness, austerity





~ • ~ • ~ • ~

 

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You are reading the FREE SAMPLE Chapters 1 through 6 of the acclaimed 12-Chapter book, How Music REALLY Works!, 2nd Edition. Here's what's in Chapters 7 through 12. 

 

To order the book, click here:

        
 

 

 

 TABLE OF
 CONTENTS

  

 PART I

 The Big Picture    Introduction

   1. W-5 of Music
  
2. Pop Music
   
    Industry

  
 PART II
 Essential
 Building Blocks
 of Music
   3.
Tones/Overtones
   4. Scales/Intervals
   5. Keys/Modes
 
 PART III
 How to Create
 Emotionally
 Powerful Music
 and Lyrics
   6.
Chords/
  
      Progressions

   7. Pulse/Meter/
  
      Tempo/Rhythm

   8. Phrase/Form
   9. Melody
 10. Lyrics
 11. Repertoire/
     
  Performance

  

 PART IV
 Making a
 Living In Music
 12.
Business of
   
     Music

 
 Appendixes

   

 Notes

   

 References

  

 Index
  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   Top

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

    

 TABLE OF
 CONTENTS

  

 PART I

 The Big Picture    Introduction

   1. W-5 of Music
  
2. Pop Music
   
    Industry

  
 PART II
 Essential
 Building Blocks
 of Music
   3.
Tones/Overtones
   4. Scales/Intervals
   5. Keys/Modes
 
 PART III
 How to Create
 Emotionally
 Powerful Music
 and Lyrics
   6.
Chords/
  
      Progressions

   7. Pulse/Meter/
  
      Tempo/Rhythm

   8. Phrase/Form
   9. Melody
 10. Lyrics
 11. Repertoire/
     
  Performance

  

 PART IV
 Making a
 Living In Music
 12.
Business of
   
     Music

 
 Appendixes

   

 Notes

   

 References

  

 Index
  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   Top

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

    

 TABLE OF
 CONTENTS

  

 PART I

 The Big Picture    Introduction

   1. W-5 of Music
  
2. Pop Music
   
    Industry

  
 PART II
 Essential
 Building Blocks
 of Music
   3.
Tones/Overtones
   4. Scales/Intervals
   5. Keys/Modes
 
 PART III
 How to Create
 Emotionally
 Powerful Music
 and Lyrics
   6.
Chords/
  
      Progressions

   7. Pulse/Meter/
  
      Tempo/Rhythm

   8. Phrase/Form
   9. Melody
 10. Lyrics
 11. Repertoire/
     
  Performance

  

 PART IV
 Making a
 Living In Music
 12.
Business of
   
     Music

 
 Appendixes

   

 Notes

   

 References

  

 Index
  

 

   Top

 

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