The evolution of a song…

April 12, 2009 at 9:27 pm (Music)

Many music fans wonder how professional musicians create their ear pleasing songs, and I am going to try to explain it as simply as I can (without going into too much musical theory). To do so I will stick with a particular song intro to get my point across.

Let me quickly run through the basics of what music is. Music is made up of notes that sound (in most cases) appealing to the ear. All notes fall somewhere on a scale, which is a pattern of notes which can be played to sequentially to produce music. A chord is several notes played in unison. Each chord (just like a note) fits into a pattern called a chord progression…when a chord progression is played sequentially it sounds good just like a scale does. Here is an example of a common chord progression: Sample Chord Progression. That chord progression includes the chords A major, D major, A major, E major. The usefulness of chord progressions will be explained in the next paragraph.

The song I have chosen is “Hurt” as preformed by Johnny Cash (song written by Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails). Like many others have done in the past, Reznor used a chord progression as the initial frame for the song’s main riff and intro. The chord progression behind “Hurt” can be seen here: Hurt Chords. This chord progression includes the chords A minor, C major,  D major, and A minor. Minor chords often have a darker feel which leads them to be more expressive

By hitting the first two notes of the each chord before strumming the rest rest of the notes , this chord progression turns into this: Hurt Cover.

When vocals and a piano accompaniment is added, you have a finished product: Hurt by Johnny Cash.

Its just that simple! Just so there is no confusion with copy write infringement, I am the guitar player on the first three links. Let me know if you enjoyed this post!


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