Re: Chord Progression

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Posted by Shaggy on September 13, 2002 at 21:28:11:

In Reply to: Chord Progression posted by T on September 12, 2002 at 12:22:58:

: Been learning harp for a while now and can 'fake' it as far as the blues go. My problem is CHORD PROGRESSION. I have no other musical experience aside from what I've learned in the context of Harp. My question: If I am in a I bar (or a IV or V) do I want to START that bar with the I note (2 draw) or FINISH on the I note? This is more a problem for the IV and V bars, I just can't seem to get it right. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

I'm pretty much in the same boat as you in regard to musical knowlege. The only real musical education I've had is from the books I've read on harp playing.

But do you start or finish a bar on the tonic of its related chord? Well, it's not quite as simple as that. Most of the time you'll want to begin a bar on the tonic, but you may want to end on it, and sometimes you'll want to do both, but you may also do neither, as long as the bar is dominated by the proper chord. The thing about a chord progression is that it is just that: a progression. It's not always as cut and dried as "This bar contains this chord, that bar contains that chord and the next bar contains some other chord." Chords naturally lead on from one another in a more or less fluid progression.

The 5-4-1 transition and turnaround are not always easy to get right. The 5-4-1 transition (the 9th & 10th bars and usually the first part of the 11th in the 12 bar blues progression) are called that because it starts off dominated by the V chord, changes to the IV chord but ends on the I chord, leading naturally into the turnaround (11th & 12th bars). The turnaround ends on the V chord, indicating that there is more of the song to come. At the end of the song, a song ending, usually similar to a normal turnaround but ending on the I chord, is used instead to tie up the loose end and finalise the song.

: Also any tips on restraint would be good. I find myself trying to play too many notes in a bar or riff when I know that less is more for the most part.

Try for a while just playing a single note or chord in each bar. Resist the temptation to "play" stuff. Just one single sound. Keep practising that for a while. Then, for some time, try just playing breaks instead of whole chord progressions. Just play short riffs at regular intervals, preferably in between vocal lines. After you've done that for a while, try imitating horn lines. Don't over play these. Just listen to some good jazz, blues and rock with moderate ammounts of horn, and try playing with the horns.

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