How to Write a Beautiful CHORD Progression
Step 1. Beauty
Set your grid to 1/16 notes and your tempo to 113 BPM. We’re in the key of A minor here, which is just all the white notes from A to A.
Right, so the first step to writing a beautiful chord progression is finding a beautiful chord. There are many beautiful chords, but a good guideline is to leave space for the harmony to breathe. Think about walking into a beautiful cathedral. The space is as beautiful as the structure.
When applying this concept to chords, it’s as simple as not cramming too many notes in. Three notes is enough. But yes of course, you can use more notes if you want, it’s your music. In this example, the first chord contains the root, ♭ 3 and ♭7. And if all these flats and numbers are confusing, read hack 8 in our free book.
Step 2. Chord Beat
This is the fun part! You’re now gonna turn your chord into a drum beat. A “chord beat”, if you will. If you’re playing this on a keyboard, you’re gonna play the root note (A) in your left hand, and the other two notes (C and G) in your right hand. Now, pretend your left hand is the kick drum and your right hand is the snare drum, and come up with a cool beat. And if you don’t play the keyboard, no problem, just do this step right here on the MIDI grid.
Each hit is only going to be a 1/16 note, so the final result will sound really percussive, like a pitched drum beat. All those rests add rhythmic space to your harmonic space, creating a beautiful simplicity. And a shoutout to Sleep Token, as this lesson is based on their beautiful song “DYWTYLM” from the new album “Take Me Back to Eden”.
Just before we jump into the next step. If there’s an artist you want us to hack, drop us a comment on YouTube.
Also, are you new to music theory? Or are you experienced, but you want a refresher? Then download our FREE BOOK (link opens in new tab). It only takes 30 minutes to read, then you’ll have a solid theory foundation that you can instantly apply to your songwriting and producing.
Step 3. Bass
Okay, so we’ve got one beautiful chord played over one bar. Now, let’s turn this into a four-bar chord progression. So, start by copying and pasting your first bar into the remaining three bars. You’re actually going to leave your right-hand notes the same throughout the four bars. This creates unity, which adds to the beauty.
Next, spend some time moving your bass note up and down in bar two. Once you’ve found a beautiful place for it, stay there for the whole bar. Then, do the same thing for bars three and four. Sleep Token stays on the same bass note here for the two bars. You can do that, or you can move it, like we did in our example.
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