It is Friday again and here is another issue of my DulciBlog. This time I want to open the door for you to learn about Chord Progressions--how they work, some basic rules and guidelines, and how to build your own. I want to give you some terms and phrases to look up for yourself in Google or Bing. I hope this gives you a nudge in the right direction, and that it encourages you to try some progressions on your own.
Doing Your Own SearchesIf you punch some of these terms into a search engine yourself, you will be amazed at how much you can learn! Everyone is different with respect to musical abilities, experience, what instrument(s) they play, and understanding of music. You are the only one who knows what you know and what you don't--and don't feel discouraged if you don't even know where to start: many of us feel the same way, that we don't even know what questions to ask! This is perfectly natural!
You Need To HEAR Examples
As you try some of these search terms, phrases, and questions, be on the lookout for web sites that let you listen to the chord progressions or examples. Learning music has more to do with listening and hearing what's going on than memorizing concepts or definitions of terms. An "audio picture" is worth a thousand words! My all-time favorite blog for great musical examples, clear explanations, and audio snippets of the examples is Gary Ewer's Essential Secrets of Songwriting Blog:
And Gary has another web site devoted to chord progressions:
I've learned a LOT over the years following these sites, particularly when the topic is chord progressions!
Rules For What Chord Follows What
- what are the rules for how chords move from one to another?
- is there a chord progression flow chart?
- is there a chord progression branching diagram?
- building your own chord progressions
- DIY chord progressions
- circle of 5ths progressions
- chords moving in 4ths
- chord cycles
- Tonal Harmony
- Tonal Chord Progressions
- Tonal Music Theory
- Common Practice Period
- Diatonic Chord Progressions
- Modal Chord Progressions
- Aeolian Chords
- Dorian Chords
- Mixolydian Chords
- Relative vs. Parallel Relationships Between Modes
A Few Things To RememberKeep perspective! Don't feel you have to devour everything right away. I just put these terms up for you to search because some lightbulbs may go off for you. Some terms may not have any resonance for you (the terms under Tonal Harmony are just good for a very, very general overview and that's ALL -- you can pass them by entirely, or spend 3 to 5 minutes reading a definition.... that may make no sense at all!!! and that's fine). Some terms may arouse your curiosity--like the Modal and Diatonic terms: these have AMAZING possibilities for the mountain dulcimer in DAD tuning!
My Favorite Circular Diatonic ProgressionsThese are the BIG HITS of the last decade for me and my dulcimer composing and improvising--they are all playable on your DAD dulcimer:
If you need TAB numbers or diagrams for a few of these chords that you don't know, then you have an opportunity to do a search for DAD chord charts for dulcimer, right?