Chords-The Foundation of Great Songs

in Music


A chord can be described as having two or more notes that are played simultaneously to achieve a certain harmonic purpose. In a broken one, the notes are not played simultaneously. There are many different types of chords. The two most common are the major and minor ones. It is interesting how each type sounds different. They each have their own personality. Basically, a chord is a combination of sounds played together to create a certain mood or effect. In a melody, chords will add texture, and provide rhythm to a song.

What they are used for

Most of the time, chords are played in popular music. They are usually played on a piano or guitar. Nearly all the songs you hear on the radio have a repeating chord structure. This is called a chord progression. Certain progressions are very appealing to the human ear. Add great lyrics, and a catchy rhythm. Now you have the recipe for most of the popular music, past and present. It does not matter if a song is rock, country, jazz, classical or another genre, the chord structure is the foundation that gives the melody strength.

Different types produce unique sounds

Different chords will produce different types of sounds. If you play a major one, it will sound happy, upbeat, positive, and stable. A minor one will give you a dark, unhappy, sad, or melancholic type of sound. A dominant seventh is harder edged, funky, or bluesy. A major seventh chord, which is my personal favorite, will produce a bright, romantic, jazzy type sound. It also gives you a fuller sound. A minor seventh is jazzy, mellow, and can sometimes give you a sad feeling. Last, but not least, is the power chord. This is the favorite of hard rock and heavy metal artists. It can be played with 2 or 3 notes.

Chord progressions

Basically, it is any chord that moves to any other one. Usually when we talk about chord progressions, it means those progressions which have been implemented numerous times over a very long period. Here are a couple excellent examples. They are all in the key of C. The C-G-Am-F progression is probably the most popular of all time. Many great pop/rock hits have used this progression to achieve phenomenal success. If you want a 1950's sound, C-Am-F-G will be a superb choice. The important thing to remember is that certain combinations of chords are used over and over again. This is because they sound really good together, and are pleasing to many people. Top artists in nearly all genres of music know this, and make fortunes implementing certain chord progressions.

My favorite

The major seventh chord is my personal favorite. It was used very successfully by musical artists such as Steely Dan, Bread, and America. It is also used by numerous jazz musicians, and others. It has a bright, romantic, yet peaceful sound. As an example, Cmaj7 and Fmaj7 sound exceptional when played one after the other.

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Gary E Kerkow has 2 articles online

Gary E Kerkow has been playing guitar for several decades. This includes teaching guitar, and playing in successful bands that toured the Twin Cities area. Kerkow is also an accomplished piano player.

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Chords-The Foundation of Great Songs

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Chords-The Foundation of Great Songs

This article was published on 2013/06/29