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#2132961 - 08/14/13 08:34 PM Variations on a four-chord progression
neuralfirings Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/29/13
Posts: 174
Hi all, here's a piece I wrote based off of a simple four chord progression (the "heart and soul" progression: I-vi-IV-V). It an exercise to see what I can come up with given the limited chords to work with.

It's a work in progress so I'm looking for feedback for my next draft.

Link: http://musescore.com/user/110359/scores/122976

Thanks

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#2135069 - 08/18/13 10:25 PM Re: Variations on a four-chord progression [Re: neuralfirings]
stalefleas Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/16/13
Posts: 249
An interesting challenge, for sure. I have tried to limit myself to two to four chords sometimes myself as a sort of practice, though I have not managed to write anything I am very happy with by this method. I especially like the part in minor with the intricate left hand part and denser harmonies. I am not a big fan of the opening theme, this may be in part due to the mechanical playing of the muse score website but I am not sure. Perhaps you could try recording this one on an actual piano? Overall though I think with the various changes the piece goes through it does not really feel like you are recycling the same chord pattern contuously like a lot of music seems to do.

Hope the input helps. Do you have any specific thoughts or concerns regarding this piece?

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#2135569 - 08/19/13 05:46 PM Re: Variations on a four-chord progression [Re: neuralfirings]
neuralfirings Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/29/13
Posts: 174
Thanks! I think right now it jumps between the variation too quickly.. it feels schizophrenic? So for the next draft, I'll work on spending more time on each variation. Also, I am working on shaping the whole piece so there's a clearer structure--intro, variations, climax, coda.. something like that.

I did try to "smooth" out the transitions between the sections by referencing previous sections. For example, the beginning of the 3/4 section (bar 13) condenses the melody from the previous section (bar 9-12). Then the beginning of the 2/4 section (bar 24) has waltz-y chords overlayed with the 2/4 rhythm.

Another concern is that it gets too academic in places. The piece up to the high point (starting at bar 47) is basically condensing the chords. It starts as one chord change per measure in 4/4, then chord change every 3/4 measure, then 2/4. Then back to 4/4 but double time. Then at bar 43 each 1/16th note actually follows a rough I-vi-IV-V pattern, while each measure also follows the pattern. That's so it goes from really condensed chord progressions back to progressions spanning larger sections of the piece. Very academic, right? The feel I'm going for is faster-faster-faster up to the high point, and then gradually calm down.

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