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JacksonGuitars07 2005-12-03 17:13

Chord Progressions and Rhythms
This isn't another chord progressions only thread like to other ones posted here. If I got my answer from the other posts I wouldn't have to post this. In other words, I have a new question, sort of.

Firstly, other than just taking the 1st, 3rd, and 5th note in a scale and playing the corresponding chord, what are some ways I can take any scale (not just the standard major/minor scales) and find out the chords that would sound good together in a progression. What I am kind of looking for is something along the lines of what someone posted regarding theoretical progressions. And what types of progressions would have been used in classical music? I want to apply these to my metal playing. Think early "Something Wild" or Sinergy or something of the sory.

Also, in terms of coming up with rhythms for a song/riff etc, are there any things you people do if you are stuck in a rut? Because I am having trouble writing creative rhythm parts, and for the most part good songs have good rhythms because rhythms are 70% of a song.

Lastly, I am still studying classical composition and stuff, if any of you have resources such as sites or books that cover composition techniques that say for example, Mozart would have used. You know, the things such as using pedal points, arpeggios, chordal stuff, chamber music, etc. I want to learn as much as I can so I can create some kickass melodic metal.


[Edit] Also, relating to my problem with writing rhytms, this problem is probably more so for writing good, driving song introduction riffs. Like ones that are fast but move into a melody, a la Hatebreeder (The Album)

davie_gravy 2005-12-03 17:43

In response to your building chords from any scale. Just take whatever scale tone you wanna build a chord off of and skip every other interval. Example: build a chord off the 1st scale degree, take the 1 - 3 - 5. Wanna build a chord off the 2nd scale tone, take the 2 - 4 - 6. Etc etc... This will build you a chord unique to that scale. Another ex: build a chord off the 7th scale tone, this would be 7 - 2 - 4. It wraps around... Now, I'm not theory guru, but I believe this is correct.

Also, when I'm stuck in a rut. I use several of my resources for ideas. One being my guitar world and guitar one mags for ideas. I also like to load winamp with several different genres of metal that I enjoy and pull vibes from that too. Don't forget the internet. Try learning a new lesson, every time I learn something new or someone shines a light of a particular thing differently, it always spawns good shit.

JacksonGuitars07 2005-12-03 18:29

You are correct in describing the triads, more what I meant is like forming (for example) a progression from a scale, for example.

C Major Scale


I-IV-V = C-F-G
I-ii-IV-V = C -Dm-F-G


davie_gravy 2005-12-03 22:08


My bad. There was a thread in this forum, that deals with what can follow and what leads to what. I think guitar_demon posted it, I can't remember the exact topic name, but it's in here. Major and minor based too.

wolfsd 2005-12-04 01:37

you would pretty much follow the same routine with building a progression from the scale.....regardless of what scale you are using. say you took the "insert exotic scale here" would still build chords using every other tone, but instead of basic triads, you may end up with some really odd chords, you can even build the same way with progressions.....this is actually the basis of one of the lessons i'm working on for if you can find them...the old guitar player columns by joe satriani are great places to start, and there is even a compilation of some satch's columns in a book called guitar secrets. for even more ideas, i'd recommend the guitar grimoire books, and ron jarzombeck (the genius behind watchtower and spastic ink, who is also working on material with alex webster and chris alder) has a cool page with something new he has worked out.

hope some of this has helped....

Amadeus 2005-12-04 01:53

This might be entirely useless, but just as a tip I might mention something I myself like to do.
In the intro, you stick to the usual progressions that you like, but when the song gets started you start using whats generally regarded as unharmonius; mixing 1-2-5 or something. Of course, if you are playing alone it mostly sound like something you never want to hear again, but together with others you can sometime produce really interesting pieces. Learning to play an instrument is mostly about learning the rules. Learning to be a muscian is mostly about breaking the rules.

JacksonGuitars07 2005-12-04 09:45

Originally Posted by davie_gravy

My bad. There was a thread in this forum, that deals with what can follow and what leads to what. I think guitar_demon posted it, I can't remember the exact topic name, but it's in here. Major and minor based too.

Yea, I mentioned I had read that post, but my question is will it work for only the major and natural minor scale or will it work for other major/minor scales as well such as the melodic minor and harmonic minor, and for the major/minor modes.

davie_gravy 2005-12-04 16:42


Man, I'm sorry. I'm fucking missing the whole point here. Long posts, I tend to just skim, and you can see this was one I should have read thoroughly before posting. Back on topic, I'm not sure bro, I would imagine it would go for any major / minor scale/mode, since they all share common characteristics (tones), I figure it would work. guitar_demon could prob give you a more concise answer.

TruthDevoid 2005-12-05 04:49

If you want more options, try using 7th chords and extentions. You don't have to stick to just triads. I dunno why you guys keept saying only 1-3-5. that's not the only workable progression. If you wanna know more about what chords to use, you should read up on scale tendancies first.

JacksonGuitars07 2005-12-05 06:40

I'll google the scale tendencies thing. Thanks

lizardly 2005-12-05 11:47

Use the Circle of Fifths man!

This is the best way to figure out progressions. Start from any note on the circle and try playing chords near it to include 7th, 9th, 11th and 13 chords. Don't forget the minor chords. Try substituting them all with Suspended and Augmented chords. The farther away the chord gets on the circle the less likely it will result in a good progression. This is not to be taken as a rule but a generallity. I could give you a list of common progressions but your question was how to figure them out for yourself.


tchambliss 2005-12-05 19:44

Jazz band has taught me hatred for the great Suspensions. . . well at least the Added tension ones that eventually give you hand cramps after two hours. The Circle of Fifth's mainly helps to Identify Key Signatures in Major and Minor Keys. It can be used for a little bit more but not much. while it does help with the V of I progression it doesn't much help with other common chord substitutions such as V of II(Secondary Dominants). Closely Related keys is pretty much what he was describing by showing the scale harmony of the triads, fe: (in C major) I C-E-G, ii D-F-A, iii E-G-B, IV F-A-C, V G-B-D, vi A-C-E, vii(half diminished) B-D-F. . . In comparison to C Major of course D minor(relative F Major) contains one flat(B) and also in comparison to C major, E minor(relative G major) contains one sharp(F), while taking that into consideration each of those keys are said to be "closely related" because the other two lie directly to the sides of C Major on the circle of fifth's. .. it is something to take into consideration because with pentatonics especially the positions are so interchangeable while soloing. I don't know if I answered anything or just rambled but yeah, later.

JacksonGuitars07 2005-12-06 15:04

If somebody could post some information regarding how to find out the scale tendencies for any scale (not just major and natural minor scales). I would greatly appreciate this. Because all I've gotten out of the music theory book so far is the V-I cadence and I-IV-V. I would like to be able to find out the chords that each tone in a scale leads to. Hopefully I am making myself clear. Mainly I am asking this because theory is becoming important as I am starting a Sinergy type power metal band, and I need as much theory on progressions and stuff as I can get. I know scales/technique I need to use for the most part, just want to be able to create the backing stuff behind the vocals. Cheers, and sorry for being a pain in the ass question asker.

powersofterror 2005-12-07 10:24

Look on page 2&3 of this forum. I've made a Figured bass thread, a 7th chord thread, and a cadence thread--I'd hate to see them go to waste;)
Also, the exotic scales thread might be of some use. tchambliss made that one.

lizardly 2005-12-07 11:20

Originally Posted by tchambliss
The Circle of Fifth's mainly helps to Identify Key Signatures in Major and Minor Keys. It can be used for a little bit more but not much.

And you took Jazz? From the circle of fifths you can find:

1. Key signatures
2. Chord families
3. Relative keys of modes
4. Major and Minor Parrallel modes

I forgot to mention that you can use it to identify notes on the fretboard. Circle of Fourths


powersofterror 2005-12-07 15:05

The circle of fifths is all crap:p.

lizardly 2005-12-07 16:44

Originally Posted by powersofterror
The circle of fifths is all crap:p.

Please don't hold back any more...


powersofterror 2005-12-07 17:58



JacksonGuitars07 2005-12-08 06:31

I just checked out the one and only theory book in our library. It describes the use of each tone in a scale, and what it generally leads to. But I have a question on this, what about a scale, such as the diminished, that has more than seven intervals? Or the pentatonic? Because I am wondering since the diminished has 8 notes and the pentatonic has 5.


Minor Pentatonic

For the diminished, which tones then would be the tonic, supertonic, mediant, subdominant, dominant, submedian, and leading tone? Thanks

powersofterror 2005-12-08 10:24

Well those aren't necessarily Major or minor scales either. All roots are tonic.

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