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7) Chord Progressions - One Chord Songs (part I)

[Post # 7] In previous posts we talked about some different theory issues behind the composition of a song: the sources of inspiration, improvisation, etc…
That said, now it is time for practising: we want to compose music: where do we start?
In this and in the following posts we will see some chord progressions and chord sequences.

When we think about the harmony of a composition, we think at the chord sequences on which the music is built. It does not matter if we have an instrumental track, a rock song or a soundtrack: each music can be split it into several parts (e.g. intro, verse, chorus, bridge, etc.). Each part usually has its own sequence of chords and each sequence is slightly different from the others, so that the listener can easily recognize the parts. Thus, for example, we are all able to recognize the refrain of a pop music song even if hear it for the first time.

The following example will show a short piece for piano, based only on one chord. I use this small composition to emphasize two things. The first one is that, despite what we have said so far, even in the absence of an ordered sequence of chords we are able to separate the piece into several parts and to recognize them without any effort. Listening to this small composition you should be able to recognize two parts, as if they were verse and chorus. Yet there is no chord change. At the end you will also find a sort of coda or outro, but the chord still remains the same.
Secondly, by listening this song, will also be clear that a one chord composition has obvious limitations: it forces us to use only certain notes and limits the possibility of combining sounds and arrangements. This gives the listener a strange feeling, something like incompleteness, a kind of musical emptiness. The music sounds unfinished.

Here's how you can make music with one accord, in this case D major. Listening to the song you will verify what I have said so far (it is still possible to recognize the parts of the song, but there is a feeling of unfinished and too much repetition).

In the next post I will talk about simple harmonic progressions, those that alternate only two chords. We will discover that a large number of music hits are just based on simple chord progressions. For the moment, I invite those who want to start the composition of a song to try to improvise a melody based on a single chord.

Here the scores of this song:

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Learn To Compose And Notate Music - Beginning LevelLook InsideLearn To Compose And Notate Music - Beginning Level (By Lee Evans and Martha Baker). Evans Piano Education. 24 pages. Published by Hal Leonard (HL.9072)
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Complete IdiotLook InsideComplete Idiot"s Guide to Music Composition For composers. Reference Textbooks; Textbook - General. Complete Idiot"s Guide. Instructional and Composition. Instructional book. 264 pages. Published by Alfred Music Publishing (AP.74-1592574033)
...more info
7) Chord Progressions - One Chord Songs (part I) Reviewed by Satin Beaus on Friday, September 16, 2011 Rating: 5

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