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> How To Enhance Standard Chord Progressions?
Bogdan Radovic
post Mar 19 2013, 11:58 PM
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Hey guys - guitarists from my band are working on one alternative/ballad song and since the whole song has a same chord progression, I was starting to wonder in which way a chord progression can be "enhanced" and made more thrilling and interesting?

Currently the song just goes like this (verse / bridge / chorus) :

Dm - Cadd9 - F - C
Dm - Cadd9 - F - G (each chord lasts 4 bars)

How can a progression like this be made more harmonically interesting yet retaining the same "core"?

Warning : cool ideas might be stolen ph34r.gif

I think it would be really interesting to post "standard" progressions here and see how they can be "enhanced" in various ways smile.gif


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The Professor
post Mar 20 2013, 12:06 AM
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QUOTE (Bogdan Radovic @ Mar 19 2013, 10:58 PM) *
Hey guys - guitarists from my band are working on one alternative/ballad song and since the whole song has a same chord progression, I was starting to wonder in which way a chord progression can be "enhanced" and made more thrilling and interesting?

Currently the song just goes like this (verse / bridge / chorus) :

Dm - Cadd9 - F - C
Dm - Cadd9 - F - G (each chord lasts 4 bars)

How can a progression like this be made more harmonically interesting yet retaining the same "core"?

Warning : cool ideas might be stolen ph34r.gif

I think it would be really interesting to post "standard" progressions here and see how they can be "enhanced" in various ways smile.gif


Cool! something simple might be a little twist like this:


Dm-Dm/C-F-C/E

Dm-C/G-F-G/B

Check it out!


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klasaine
post Mar 20 2013, 03:35 AM
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Those are what I refer to as very 'open' chord changes. Open in the sense that you can do a lot with them depending on the groove, what the melody will be, even the instrumentation can suggest arrangement ideas.

Not knowing anything about the tempo or groove or melody I would start by putting an E on top of every chord (open high string on the guitar). That changes the prog to:
Dm9 - Cadd9 - Fmaj7 - Cadd9
Dm9 - Cadd9 - Fmaj7 - G6

*4 bars each or 4 beats each?

This post has been edited by klasaine: Mar 20 2013, 03:35 AM


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Bogdan Radovic
post Mar 20 2013, 10:49 PM
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Thanks a lot - very interesting ideas! smile.gif

QUOTE (klasaine @ Mar 20 2013, 03:35 AM) *
Those are what I refer to as very 'open' chord changes. Open in the sense that you can do a lot with them depending on the groove, what the melody will be, even the instrumentation can suggest arrangement ideas.

Not knowing anything about the tempo or groove or melody I would start by putting an E on top of every chord (open high string on the guitar). That changes the prog to:
Dm9 - Cadd9 - Fmaj7 - Cadd9
Dm9 - Cadd9 - Fmaj7 - G6

*4 bars each or 4 beats each?


Opps yes 4 beats each chord. I like this progression - it sounds a bit alternative rock which would fit will.
The song is around 120 bpm and has a ballad feel to it. Should have a depressive vs optimistic feeling to it.


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klasaine
post Mar 20 2013, 11:51 PM
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You can sub an Am11 for the Cadd9.
Also, a Bbadd2 is nice in place of the first F. Voiced x1331x or, x13010 (Bb6#11).

If you want to really start taking it 'out' put a D on top of the Dm7 and make the second change an Ebmaj7 with a D on top. x5353x and x6533x respectively.
Or, a Bb13 or Abmaj7#11 - both with D on top.
It's kind of never ending. Once the melody gets sorted out then the substitution possibilities become more limited.

This post has been edited by klasaine: Mar 21 2013, 12:31 AM


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tonyk
post Mar 21 2013, 11:54 AM
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Hi Ken.are there "rules" you used to choose the above subs.thanks
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klasaine
post Mar 21 2013, 05:01 PM
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QUOTE (tonyk @ Mar 21 2013, 10:54 AM) *
Hi Ken.are there "rules" you used to choose the above subs.thanks


'Rules'? ... yes and no. *Ultimately you have to go with what works and sounds good with the song in question.

For my first example I just added extensions on to the chords. The added notes are in the key (as opposed to altered tones which are not in the key).

In my second post where I use Bb, Ab and Eb type chords - now we're getting into real 'chord substitution' and I'm obviously going outside of the original progressions key. Now I'm 'altering' the chord prog.
The technique I used specifically in this case is called 'Modal Interchange'. The orig prog is in C major (D dorian) when I sub the second change (Cadd2) with Ebmaj7#11 I'm taking a chord from C dorian. When I use the Abmaj7#11 I'm borrowing or interchanging from C aeolian. Keeping the top voice/note (and maybe another voice) the same from the orig chord to the sub chord helps your ear maintain the familiarity. You'll notice I keep D on top of the Ab and Eb chords. The D is not only common to those chords but common the the orig progs chords and key.
Check this website and book out ...
http://audio.tutsplus.com/tutorials/music-...al-interchange/
http://www.amazon.com/Reharmonization-Tech...s/dp/0634015850

You can experiment with ANY chord below the top note.
For example you wanna turn that prog into a Bossa Nova sound thing try this: Dm7 - G13 - C9 - F13. Or, Am11 - Ab7b5 - Gm7 - C9 *keep a D on top of all those.
Or this ...
Dm7 - Ebmaj7#11 - Abmaj7#11 - G7sus4
Am11 - Bb13 - Gm7 - Gbmaj7#11

Like I said before - it's endless! And this is only lightly scratching the surface.

This post has been edited by klasaine: Mar 21 2013, 05:04 PM


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tonyk
post Mar 21 2013, 09:27 PM
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Great info.thanks Ken
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tonyk
post Mar 22 2013, 03:35 AM
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I forgot to ask.why did you choose these particular modals subs
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klasaine
post Mar 22 2013, 04:33 AM
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QUOTE (tonyk @ Mar 22 2013, 02:35 AM) *
I forgot to ask.why did you choose these particular modals subs


Ah! Now we get into the art and experience aspect of it.
Mainly, I chose what I chose because the particular progression that Bogdan asked about is very common and I've encountered it or something very similar to it literally hundreds of times in many styles of music. So I basically know what will work when I see that prog. If I have a melody to arrange around then my options become more limited (also the tastes and preferences of the writer and other band members come in to play).

In the specific case of this thread - I just picked subs and voicings that I was feeling at the time. Since the overall 'vibe' of the progression is Dm I'll tend to hear the other available chords in Dm which would be Bb, Am/A7, Em, etc. and start adding extensions on to those chords. If it was tomorrow maybe it'd be different - ? If there was one other chord in there that could also alter how I approach it.
It pays huge dividends to listen to jazz (and fusion) keyboard players. When it comes to this stuff they are miles ahead of other musicians. As the great chord melody guitarist/author and teacher Ted Greene would say, "listen to the piano players, we all follow them". Bill Evans, Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock, McCoy Tyner, Joe Zawinul - these are the guys that EVERYBODY else learns this stuff from.


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The Professor
post Mar 22 2013, 09:54 AM
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I took a very simplified approach to my alterations, just looking at slash chords (chords where the triad stays the same but there is a different note besides the root in the bass.

Dm-Dm/C-F-C/E

Dm-C/G-F-G/B


Adds some melodic movement to the bass, providing a sense of the unexpected to the listener, while maintaining the original chord progression at the same time.


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Bogdan Radovic
post Mar 23 2013, 02:45 AM
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Thanks a lot for suggestions Ken - I'll keep experimenting! smile.gif

BTW - Very interesting to see a practical "how to substitute chords" approach/check list forming here.


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klasaine
post Mar 25 2013, 02:34 AM
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QUOTE (Bogdan Radovic @ Mar 23 2013, 01:45 AM) *
Thanks a lot for suggestions Ken - I'll keep experimenting! smile.gif

BTW - Very interesting to see a practical "how to substitute chords" approach/check list forming here.


My pleasure! I love this stuff. I can get lost for hours and even put myself to sleep thinking about chord substitution.

This post has been edited by klasaine: Mar 26 2013, 04:34 AM


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