How Can The Harmonic Progressions Of Rock Music Be Described?Posted by Mike Schumacher
When listening to rock music, there are two main things you will notice: harmonic progressions and meter. Harmonic progression is when one chord consistently repeats (is restated) within a song or sequence of songs. For example, in the beginning of Beyoncé’s “Drunk On Love,” she sings, “I got that good look/ You give me something I can feel / It makes my body tingle.” This whole verse is made up of a tonal center of A-flat major with a half step down from B-natural to A-flat and back to G-sharp.
This type of harmony comes off as very natural and easy to listen to. The reason for this is because it follows the rules of consonant-dissonance. Consonants are notes that sound same, while dissonances are notes that do not sound the same. By using chords that contain only consonant notes, your ears are able to relax and enjoy the music more easily.
Another important part of rock harmony is rising chromaticism. Chromatics are notes that go by any letter name beyond A. These include b, c, d, e, g, and so forth. Rising means that each note gets slightly higher until it reaches its highest possible pitch. The term chromatic comes from the word color, due to the fact that these tones create colorings effects in sounds.
The harmonic progressions that make up jazz
Many consider Jazz to be one of the most beautiful forms of music ever written. And while there are many styles of Jazz, there is always an underlying structure or pattern to each piece.
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This article will discuss some of these patterns and how they can be applied to your songwriting. These patterns include Melodic Triads, Dominant Chords, Suspended Vowels, and More!
A melodic trio is made up of three notes, usually starting with the root note (the lowest pitched sound) then moving onto either the third degree (third highest) or fifth degree (fifth highest).
These notes are then stacked together creating what is known as a chord. In this case, the chords would be called a first position chord. First position means that you start by laying out the root, then the third, and finally the fifth.
The roots of most major scales form a nice first position chord. For example, the G Major Scale begins with the root note of G, then A, the third note of the scale, and B, the fifth.
You can also create second position chords by stacking the root before the third, or the third before the fifth. This is why the third degree of any major scale is its own unique note – it becomes the second note in a second position chord.
The harmonic progressions that make up soul
Melodies in soul music are typically made up of sequences of chords, or groups of notes used to create songs. These chord sequences are referred to as melodies because they clearly indicate what tone (or note) is being repeated.
The most common type of melody in soul music is called an ascending melodic sequence. An example of this would be the song “My Girl” by Marvin Gaye, where the first two lines contain the same notes but rearranged into different orders:
Line one has all B notes
Line two has all F# notes
That pattern of notes is a parallel major second (called a rising second) which means it goes upwards by a half step. This structure is then reordered to create another version of the same tune!
This process of reorganizing the notes to create new tunes is how harmonics work, and it can be applied to any genre, not just soul. You will often see this concept done with pop songs, jazz pieces, and even classical compositions.
In fact, there is a theory about why musicians use harmonic patterns like these sometimes in popular music. It was coined by Russian composer Dimitri Shostakovich in his 1975 composition Rehearsal No. 5. He termed it the ‘Rule of Three.’
Dimitri believed that every time three successive tones occur in a row, you get the effect of a whole note, a half note, or a quarter note.
The harmonic progressions that make up classical
Classical music is typically described as having melodies, chords, and rhythm. Melodies are usually written in natural or formal rhythms, and most people associate longer pieces with a sequence of songs that can be listened to indefinitely.
Chords are an important part of any song, but not every chord belongs to a song. Some use them for creating new songs by mixing together different chords, which is how some consider them more fundamental than others.
The term “chord” comes from the Greek word koordeis, which means concave. Chords have straight sides, making it difficult to describe them as concave or convex. So instead, we refer to a set of notes as a chord because they create an internal balance. These sets of notes are called intervals.
There are eight common intervals, including major, minor, augmented, diminished, half-diminished, suspended, and octave/perfect fifth. Each interval has a name related to its position within the scale; for example, the perfect fourth is three steps away from the third note of the scale.
With practice, musicians find themselves using combinations of these intervals to form new sounds and understand what each one contributes to a piece.
However, there is another type of progression used exclusively in rock music that goes beyond just intervals. It is referred to as a harmonic progression.
The harmonic progressions that make up country
In Country music, there are two main types of chord structures used to create songs with lyrics. These are called common chord sequences or motifs and harmonic progressions.
A common chord sequence is when the chords change quickly back and forth between different chords without any other chords in-between. An example of this would be the song “Happy Birthday” by Taylor Swift as it goes from Gm – Em7–Dm–C/G–Am–F♯m–Em7.
This type of chord structure is very popular in Country music because it allows for more creativity in what chords can be inserted into the song. Since there are no middle notes like a standard melody, people have freedom to use whatever chords they want! This also helps the ear learn the song faster since there are not many rest points where the ears must figure out the next note.
Another reason why these types of chord changes are important in Country music is due to how harmonically rich the genre is. Many musicians in Country music will mix modes, tritone substitutions, augmented seconds, etc. within their songs. All of these concepts depend heavily on having enough roots, second stages, and thirds. Having frequent shifts in mode, tritone substitution, and third shapes makes your song sound beautiful and unique.
A harmonic progression is when one chunk of music moves forward by another piece.
The harmonic progressions that make up pop
There are two main types of chord sequences used in popular music – ascending and descending harmonic progressions.
An ascent is when the chords get longer as the song progresses, creating a feeling of motion. Some examples of songs using this type of progression include Your Body Is A Wonderland by Ariana Grande, Crash by Katy Perry, and What Are You Doing This Sunday? by Taylor Swift.
A descent is when the chords become shorter over time, creating a sense of calm. Some examples of songs using this kind of progression include Angel by Sarah McLachlan, Beautiful Day by John Lennon, and Clarity by Pink.
Some songs use both kinds of progressions simultaneously to create an overall feel that changes quickly. These types of songs are very hard to predict because it does not give you a sense of stability or relaxation. An example of such a song is Stay (I’ll Never Let You Go) by Whitney Houston.
Descending harmonic progressions can be really catchy, but they need to have some sort of conclusion otherwise people will continue to play the notes indefinitely. When musicians use these melodies in their songs, they usually add a crescendo at the end which stops the harmony before it gets too complicated.
The harmonic progressions that make up R&B
Many consider R&B to be simply songs with a catchy melody and lots of luscious vocals, but there’s more to it than that.
Underneath the surface, some interesting chord structures emerge that create an underlying harmony.
The harmonic progressions that make up metal
What is an indirect descent?
Indirect descents are also known as secondary dominants or second dominant chords. These are typically found one chord away from a main (or primary) dominant chord. For example, if the main dominant chord is A-Bm-C#-D, then the next chord would be Bb-A-G-F.
The term “descend” comes from the bass note in each of these chords, which all lead back to the tonic (the root notes of the music). Therefore, the third chord goes down (or moves closer to) the first chord.
Indirect descends can sometimes go very quickly, making them seem more like steps than ascensions. This makes sense because they often coincide with resolutions, where something ends. They also play an important part in creating many metal songs!
Another way indirect descents relate to resolution is by how they feel. An indirect descend usually feels better than its counterpart, the direct minor/major descending tone. It leaves space for other parts of the song to fill this gap, giving it texture and depth.
What about major indies vs. natural minors?
In metal, there are two types of indies: major and natural. A major indie happens when the fourth degree (octave level) of the scale drops while the rest of the notes stay the same. A natural minor indie occurs when only the sixth degree rises.
The harmonic progressions that make up hard rock
There are two main types of chord progression used in hard rock music – major and parallel chords.
A major chord is made up of one root, one minor third, and one perfect fifth. For example, the first chord of Metallica’s “Enter Sandman” is an Am-Bmaj chord. This means it has a tonal center at B (the second note) with no rest tone.
The next most common type of chord in hard rock songs is a parallel chord. These use either a half or whole step as their bass note instead of a pure tone. A half step is like dropping one note, while a whole step drops two notes.
Both contain a root, a middle interval, and a final interval. The difference is how many notes there are in the middle interval. With a parallel chord, the middle interval only have one note whereas with a normal chord, it can have more than one.
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