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Hey Your Name,
Harry here from Whipped Cream Sounds again!
In this week's musical brain dump, I'm gonna give you some incredible tips to instantly create better-sounding chord progressions.
You'll be able to implement these techniques, straight after this email to make your melodies sound thicker, have more depth & give you the hair tingles.
In the run up for the release of the new piano chord poster, I've written a guide on how to expand your progressions, and I'm gonna share some of the top tips from it briefly here.
If you're stuck with simple triad melodies, this is gonna up your game big time!
No I'm not talking about your gf's highlights you never notice.
These extensions change your 3 note chords into 4 note chords (or more), and make them sound a hell of a lot better!
You might have seen chords like Cmaj7/9, Cmaj7, C6 etc.
These are all extension chords, and most of the music you listen to uses them.
So how do you start using them?
Let's take a Cmaj for instance.
You could add a 7th to this triad, to turn it from a humble chicken & mushroom pie, to the same but with a bit of fucking paprika in it. Sounds nicer now eh?
To add this 7th note is as simple as putting paprika in your food, but it makes all the difference.
The 7th note, is just the 7th degree of the C major scale. And, because we want to find a Cmaj7, we have to use the major scale.
Same as if we were to find a Ebmaj7, we'd use the Eb major scale. Or Cmin7, we'd use the C minor scale.
Taking the diagram above, you can see that if we count to the 7th note, we get B.
B is our 7th.
Alls you have to do is play it on top of your basic ass C major triad. Simples!
If you were playing an Fmaj, you'd use the F major scale to find the 7th for Fmaj7.
So for whatever chord you're using, the base note is the key, and the minor or major tells you which scale you're using to find the 7th.
You can do the same for this with 6ths, 7ths, 9ths etc. And, it's the exact same concept…
Count the notes up the scale, find the 6th, 7th or 9th degree, and plop it on top.
Let's take this Lilley Allen sounding chord progression
(all offence meant for any Lilly Allen fans)
and spice it up with our new knowledge!
I, V, vi, IV
C, G, Amin, F
I, V, vi, IV
Cmaj7, Gmaj7, Amin9, F6
You now have an instantly more intriguing chord progression that has loads more texture, and all we've done is some fucking counting.
Start to invert it, and damn you're well on your way to some beautiful sounding music.
The idea of inversions on the piano is to move the chords around, so they're closer to each other, and you can switch hand position more easily.
On the MIDI roll you can pretty much do whatever the fuck you like seeing as you don't have the limitations of hands, so this is where chords can get really interesting.
You could have 10 note chords going (same notes across different octaves, with extensions etc).
There are only 3 types of inverted chords:
Root position (natural position)
1st inversion (root note on top)
2nd inversion (root note in middle)
To invert your chords, all you do is move notes up and down octaves. It's stupidly simple, but can make them sound so much better, especially with extensions inverted!
So let's take Cmaj7 for example
Our root position is:
C, E, G, B
If we want to change this position to 2nd inversion we can move our root note (the C), to the top, resulting in:
E, G, B, C
We could move it to our 3rd inversion by putting the root note inbetween the notes. To do this you take the Cmaj7 chord, and move the 7th and the 5th down an octave (B: 7th, G: 5th).
G, B, C, E
You could also invert a Cmaj7 chord by taking the B (the 7th) and just moving it down an octave. This usually sounds quite dissonant and cool.
B, C, E, G
Moving your chords around to be closer together sounds a lot better when playing, allowing fluidity in it, and also creating an awesome texture, and adding colour.
It might be the missing addictive ingredient to your progressions.
Bass notes always make chords sound waaaaay better!
You can obviously use a double octave stretch with your thumb and pinky on the piano, and it will sound great, but this isn't all you can do.
There's a cool rule I've been using for a while now, and whatever root note your chord is on, you count 2 scale notes down and use this as the bass.
This should result as a 6th in the bass on each chord.
So in the Cmaj7 case, you don't play C as your bass.
Count 2 scale notes down, and you get A. This puts a 6th note in your bass.
If you double this up with a 5th on top (5 notes above A in the Cmaj scale), you get an even thicker sounding awesome chord.
You can also try things like 7ths in the bass a couple octaves below your chord, or 9ths and these will sound fantastic.
Creating great chord progressions is all about moving stuff around until it sounds good.
Use your ear, don't be afraid to mess up, and experiment.
Please let me know if you have any questions about this guide or any recommendations for enhancing it. I'm committed to further making these products better and better, continually updating them for you to help out.
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Happy music making!
A lot of music producers aren't interested in reading music. It's just not necessary to make a banger. What is necessary is having the tools in your arsenal to be able to make those bangers. Having the piano chords sheet as a reference, gives you mountains of opportunity to capture the creative flow you're in. Take a swift look over, and bang… you got your piano chords. Draw them in using MIDI, or play them – whatever suits your style.
Our poster displays all 120 Major and Minor chords in an easy-to-read, colour coded format. It's perfect for music producers and pianists that can't read music. Just take a quick glance and you'll instantly see what to play for each chord.
If you're a pianist or music producer learning piano all by yourself, it can be tough. With this easy design, you'll be able to refer to the chart and know what to play in minutes, rather than trying to read pesky musical score.
Looking for a perfect gift for your piano playing friend, partner or parent? Our piano chord chart poster will be the perfect accompaniment for learning theory and expanding their piano knowledge.