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How to Create Emotionally Powerful Music and Lyrics

How Chords and Chord Progressions REALLY Work

Where Chords Come From

What Is a Chord? And What Is a Chord Progression?

Now I’ve heard there was a secret chord
that David played, and it pleased the Lord
but you don’t really care for music, do ya?
It goes like this: the fourth, the fifth,
the minor fall, the major lift;
the baffled king composing Hallelujah!

—LEONARD COHEN (“Hallelujah”)

For practical purposes, think of a chord as three or more different-pitched notes played or sung simultaneously. Not two. Consider two notes, whether sounded simultaneously or in succession, an interval.

A chord progression is a succession of chords, the way a melody is a succession of intervals. Psychologically, as discussed in Chapter 3, harmony provides aural “depth” to melody’s height and rhythm’s length. Harmony has nothing to do with pitch-like “height.” You’ll find out why later in this chapter.

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