Chords Make Songs

Chord ProgressionsSo, if you’ve been following along our basic music theory course you know the basics about how time and rhythm work. You also know about scales and chords and have even learned about numbering your music notes.

Chords are extremely important whether you’re making beats, learning piano or figuring out the guitar. They can also be important to people starting to sing when building harmonies.

But there’s one more thing you’re going to want to understand and that’s chord progressions.

Chord Progressions

The music you love is based on chord progressions – the movement from one musical chord to another to form a fully completed song.

So in music, the notes are the building blocks of scales and chords. Scales and chords are the building blocks of chord progressions.

And chord progressions are what make full songs. Even in some singing training programs they discuss chord progressions because of songwriting.

So how do you know which chord to go to next to make it sound good? The Circle of Fifths

The Circle of Fifths

The circle of fifths is a diagram that describes how music flows. When you’re playing a song there is a certain way you move from key/note to key/note. It’s not always sequential or one after the next. Sometimes you jump from note to note because that’s what actually sounds good.

Here’s what it looks like:

Chord Progressions and the Circle of Fifths

How it Works

As you can see the outer circle has all the different notes on the piano. We won’t worry about the inner rings of the circle for now, we only need to be concerned with the outer most layer.

How you read this diagram is simple. Start at one note on the outer ring – C, for example – and then just move either counter clockwise or clockwise to find out where you move next – either F or G. What you might notice (if you know your piano scales!) is that F is the 4th tone of the C scale and G is the 5th tone.

Annnnnndddd that’s why its called the circle of fourths or circle of fifths. The way that music moves, from note to note, is basically arranged in this diagram.

Why it Matters Now

I know its more of an advanced topic, and right now we’re still learning the basics, but we might as well be practicing and learning while flowing with the proper movement of music.

That’s why instead of learning the D-major scale after the C Major Scale you should move from C to the F major scale. The F note is the 4th tone of the C major scale. And its the next note you would normally move to when playing or making music.

Now that you know about the circle of fifths, you can start making beats and writing songs that will sound a lot better. Just follow the chart above – download the image and put it on your desktop. Always refer to it when you start making music. It’ll help a lot.

We’ll get into this stuff more as time goes on, but I wanted to introduce the concept to you now so you’re aware of it (and can take advantage of it).

That’s all for now, but stay tuned to our blog for more great tutorials on how to make music in the professional music industry.

Make some noise!

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