Posts Tagged ‘harmony’

Jobim/Gilberto’s Way of Doing Music

September 9, 2013 Leave a comment

Hi there, how have you been?

Lately I’ve been on preparations for a special gig based on Vinícius de Moraes‘ work and that inevitably led me to some Bossa Nova harmony studies.

It can be quite interesting to get into Tom Jobim‘s mind while composing those terrific songs and into João Gilberto‘s as an acoustic guitar player. The first has merged jazz and samba harmonies in unprecedented ways; the second has crafted a particular way of defining rhythm into a single guitar.

This time I want to share the chords progression of Chega de Saudade, a song that starts in minor tone for Vinicius missing his distant girl and then shifts to a Major one when he mulls over her return. A true masters work. I hope you like it! :)

[chords taken from this João Gilberto’s recording]

Chega de saudade

Intro:		Cm7

1ª:		Cm7 Aº Abm6 Cm7
		II  II  II  II

2ª:		Cm7 Aº Gm7(9) | Ab(13) G7 G7(b13)
		         II   |   II

1ª':		Cm7 Bbm6(11) Am6 Abm6 Gº
		             II   II  II*

3ª:		Fm7 G7 Cm7 Cm7(9) | Aº Abm6 Cm7 Dm7 G#º
		                  |              ½   ½

1ªB:		C7M A7(b13) Am6 Am(b6) | G4/Ab G7 B7/F# C7M/G

2ªB:		C F#º Dm7 | Am6 Fm/D G#m6(#5) G#m6
		      II  | II          ½      ½

1ªB':		C7M C7M(9) Am6 | E7(9)/B E7(9) Am7 Abm7 Gm7 Gº
		           II  |                ½   ½    ½  ½

Concl.:		F7M Fm6 E7(9) A7(13) A7(b13) | Am6 Am(b6) E7(9)/B A7(b13)
		                ½       ½    |

		                               Am6 G4 C7M/G
		                                    7   II

6 Ways to Dress Up a Simple Chord Progression

April 8, 2013 Leave a comment

Hi there, how are you doing?

This time I took the liberty to share another person’s post… Because it’s valuable for those starting to compose or arranging. See ya next Monday! :)

The Essential Secrets of Songwriting Blog

Here’s how to make a simple progression more interesting, while leaving the original progression intact.


Download “The Essential Secrets of Songwriting” 6-eBook Bundle, and get back to the basics of why hit songs sell.

GuitaristI’m a big fan of keeping things relatively simple with regard to chord progressions in the pop genre. That’s certainly not to say that I don’t like complexity – I do! But more often than not, songwriters think they’re writing a complex chord progression when in fact they’re simply using those chords incorrectly.

Keeping things simple doesn’t mean that you can’t use some very interesting chord substitutes. Today, I want to focus on what could arguably be called the simplest (yet harmonically strongest) 3-chord progression we can use: I-IV-V-I (C-F-G-C)

One simple way to dress this progression up is to insert interesting chords between the ones that make up the backbone of the progression…

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Melodic, Rhythmic, Harmonic… Transformations.

October 8, 2012 1 comment

Hi there, how are you doing?

Crafting a nice piece of music to be the main theme of a bigger project can be quite a tough (though satisfying) challenge. But messing up with a theme already recognized as a remarkable piece to make new arrangements can be an even harder task to perform. For that I wanted to dedicate this post to Mr. Hans Zimmer who, aside being a highly creative composer, can also deal with such challenges with mastery.

This weekend I watched The Simpsons Movie with the curiosity of seeing (hearing lol) how the original (and brilliant) theme by Danny Elfman could be tweaked around to permeate the movie… and the result is surprisingly fresh.

The Simpsons Movie

Tasty… Literally!

I’ve choosen “Trapped Like Carrots” to show how those musical transformations (specially rhythmic ones here) can do wonders to a new rendition of a given theme. Also, the prelude here is way cool. -.-

Enjoy the music, see ya next week!

From Chopin… To Jobim.

March 19, 2012 4 comments

Hi there, how are you doing?

I always heard Tom Jobim (the most important composer in Brazillian Popular Music, so-called “MPB”) talking about how he was influenced by Romantic Era music when it comes to harmonics… And althought it can be easier to find samba, or jazz, or Villa-Lobos in him if we dig a little deeper we can get right to his point.

The point in Chopin (aside dinamics and expression), for instance, was all about soften the emotion inside triads (or even tetrads) by stacking other consonant notes… So we could get to reach more delicate emotional levels–like “melancholic” or “depressed” instead of the just plain “sad” of the minor chords.

Tom Jobim mastered that quite effectively and left indelible marks in our music from that point on.

Here’s a clear example of how the thing worked for him–“How Insensitive” (“Insensatez”) was base upon Chopin’s Prelude in E-Minor (op.28 no. 4). A nice way to keep a melody simple without being boring.

See ya!

Bowie’s Hat Full of Tricks

October 3, 2011 Leave a comment

Hi there, how are you doing?

Time to talk about one of my favorite songs from one of the most unique artists around the globe: “Quicksand”, by David Bowie.

I won’t even start to itch questions on the confuse lyrics here since it describes a wide variety of issues–from Occultism to Nazism, from Nietzsche to science–and Bowie himself states he was about to lose it (“I’m sinking in the quicksand / of my thought / And I ain’t got the power anymore”) but I’ll stick to the anti-climax chorus (“Don’t believe in yourself”) and its harmony. lol

Bowie can be unpredictable in many ways but I always get impressed by his unusual solutions when it comes to harmony. And by analising this particular block we can start to understand his approach on the matter.

The deal here is to drag out-of-the-box chords in by doing some small tweaks into regular chords. It works as tension points that keep the harmony from resolving and allow him to jump to a completely new place if he wants to. “Quicksand” is a nice study case since it’s all about diminished seventh chords.

Here we can see what an “ordinary” chords progression would be for the given melody (2/4):

A E F#m B7 E C#m Bm B7 A F#m Esus4 E

In this case B7 would provide tension enough for the melody to work fine and thing could run somewhat smoothly.

But Mr. Bowie wanted to go one step further and decided to force more tension points inside it with the above-mentioned diminished guys:

A E F#m Cº7 E A#º7 Bm D#º7 A F#m Esus4 E

The result is formidable. The final chords progressions feels much more epic and emotional–and the suspension caused by that Esus4 near the end only sums up to that overall feeling.

Take a listen and see (hear) for yourself how it does behave. It’s a beautiful song no matter what you think about the lyrics matter.

Have an awesome week, see ya!

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