The Quest for the Perfect Progression
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Music Theory & Composition Questions & comments about composition, arrangement, and music theory. Music rules and how to follow or break them.

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Old 08-01-2013, 04:03 AM   #1
Noahlotr
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The Quest for the Perfect Progression

So I like to make music, and I've made very few complete, let alone good, songs. I think that one main problem I have is that I have trouble writing good progression. I use a midi keyboard, but I have very basic piano knowledge, so I really only play chords on the white keys. I sometimes manually put in notes to make slightly more complex chords, but my progressions still sound not very good. Is there some secret to a good progression, or is it a practice makes perfect thing?

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Noahlotr

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Old 08-01-2013, 05:51 AM   #2
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Re: The Quest for the Perfect Progression

There's not only one secret, but many! These secrets come together to make one big secret called music theory.

Its only a secret because its hidden in plain view and nobody's actually interested in it!

Sarcasm aside though, there are not really any simple rules to help you. I could tell you how to do one particular thing that sounds good, but then you'd get stuck doing that : /

I posted a guide to music theory in the tutorials section. I suggest you read everything on that website, lots of good info.
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Old 08-01-2013, 06:03 AM   #3
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Re: The Quest for the Perfect Progression

depends what you mean by "perfect"
a very simple chord progression sometimes does it, if it's arranged nicely
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Old 08-01-2013, 01:01 PM   #4
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Re: The Quest for the Perfect Progression

I'm also on the quest for the perfect chords, and in my experience, just using those ebony keys is not going to get you anywhere, incorporating the sharp ivory notes into your melodies/progressions allows for a more musically fluid and intuitive cadence.
With the entire scale at your disposal, theres no limit to the amount of awe inspiring progressions you will be able to compose.

That, and it just takes time
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Old 08-01-2013, 11:58 PM   #5
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Re: The Quest for the Perfect Progression

Chord progressions are all about context.

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Old 09-01-2013, 12:02 AM   #6
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Re: The Quest for the Perfect Progression

Totally agree with Slump, the progression should reflect the mood of the story that you're trying to convey through music.

"I really only play chords on the white keys"
All you're doing here is limiting yourself, and might be one of the reasons you don't feel your chord structures are complete, because you're not using half of the notes

The secret to a good progression is knowing your instrument, knowing your scales, and a bit of mathematics to guide yourself through the former.

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Old 09-01-2013, 12:58 AM   #7
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Re: The Quest for the Perfect Progression

Thanks for the help, guys! The reason I (mostly) only use white keys is that I'm not a pianist, but fortunately, I actually start taking piano lessons tomorrow. I foresee that helping me greatly with this problem!

@statisticquill: I'll check out your music theory guide! I expect that it'll be very helpful.
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Old 09-01-2013, 02:29 AM   #8
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Re: The Quest for the Perfect Progression

An endless quest.

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Old 09-01-2013, 07:14 AM   #9
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Re: The Quest for the Perfect Progression

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Originally Posted by Noahlotr View Post
Is there some secret to a good progression, or is it a practice makes perfect thing?
I-V-vi-IV

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Old 09-01-2013, 12:44 PM   #10
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Re: The Quest for the Perfect Progression

12 bar blues. Ah fuck it, just make something up

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Old 09-01-2013, 07:45 PM   #11
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Re: The Quest for the Perfect Progression

2 - 5 - 1 chord progression, maybe?
But it really depends on the context of the piece.
And this is where music theory and chord progression theory come in handy
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Old 10-01-2013, 05:56 AM   #12
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Re: The Quest for the Perfect Progression

For a beginner like me putting a note there and here in a midi track (trial&error) will be only choice with few knowledge of music theory. Including pressing keyboard (Trial & error).

Thats my way of getting good(not perfect) chord progression. Hahaha. I guess by practice and experience we can get perfect chord progression.

Hey dont forget BLACK keys, it makes up everything.

Cheers,
T-REn
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Old 11-01-2013, 01:06 AM   #13
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Re: The Quest for the Perfect Progression

Thanks for all the help everyone! After reading all your suggestions, I have decided to most definitely BEGIN USING THE BLACK KEYS!
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Old 11-01-2013, 12:35 PM   #14
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Re: The Quest for the Perfect Progression

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Originally Posted by Friend Request View Post
I'm also on the quest for the perfect chords, and in my experience, just using those ebony keys is not going to get you anywhere, incorporating the sharp ivory notes into your melodies/progressions allows for a more musically fluid and intuitive cadence.
With the entire scale at your disposal, theres no limit to the amount of awe inspiring progressions you will be able to compose.

That, and it just takes time
I should clarify here, I meant to say ivory in place of ebony. I do know the difference hahaha
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Old 28-01-2013, 06:53 AM   #15
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Re: The Quest for the Perfect Progression

Listen to Steve Reich to hear perfect Western progressions
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Old 28-01-2013, 11:29 PM   #16
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Re: The Quest for the Perfect Progression

Listen to the band 'The Black Keys'.

They'll motivate you.

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