Popular Four Chord Turnarounds

December 30th, 2013 Jonny Kaine Posted in Music Theory, Musicianship No Comments »

I’ve started working on a series of basic drum machine + piano backing tracks (each will be about 5 minutes long) that feature the most common four chord turnarounds (four chord progressions which repeat) in pop music.

They will be in a variety of keys and tempos to spice things up a bit.

All of the these tracks are going up on my youtube channel and they will also be available to download as mp3s here.

The idea is that these tracks can help you get the sound of these popular progressions in your ear so that you recognize them when you hear them. I think this can help not only for musicianship but also for songwriting. One thing you may want to try is adding your own melodies to these tracks (like I did in this example.)

I’ll be updating this post as I create additional tracks.

I – vi – IV – V
(“the 50s progression“)

Examples: “Stand By Me” by Ben E. King & “D’yer Maker” by Led Zeppelin.

I – ii – IV – V

Examples: “99 Red Balloons” by Nena & “Somebody” by Bryan Adams.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Ascending Interval Ear Training with Song Associations

March 27th, 2011 Jonny Kaine Posted in Music Theory, Musicianship No Comments »

Melodyne was used to the extreme to get the vocals in tune with the piano. Not only does this make my voice sound robotic, but it also added some strange artifacts to the recording (partly because of how I recorded it.) Hopefully they are not too distracting.

Song Associations Used

White Christmas” for Minor 2nd: “i’m DREAM…”

Frere Jacque” for Major 2nd: “frere-AH…”

Georgia on My Mind” for Minor 3rd: “george-AH…”

Michael Row the Boat Ashore” for Major 3rd: “mic-HAEL…”

Here Comes the Bride” for Perfect 4th: “here COMES…”

The Simpsons Theme” for Tritone: “the SIMP…”

Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” for Perfect 5th: “twinkle TWINKLE…”

In My Life” (The Beatles) for Minor 6th: first two notes of the guitar riff.

My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean” for Major 6th: “my BON…”

Star Trek Theme” for Minor 7th: first two notes of melody.

Take On Me” (A-Ha) for Major 7th: “take ON…”

Over the Rainbow” for Octave: “some-WHERE…”

The links take you to YouTube videos of the songs (fast forwarded to the moment in the song where you can hear the interval.)

Learn About EarMaster Pro Ear Training Software.

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Interval Ear Training Practice (Ascending, Descending, Harmonic)

September 28th, 2010 Jonny Kaine Posted in Music Theory, Musicianship 2 Comments »

You can download MP3 versions of all of these at my bandcamp site (CLICK HERE to check it out.)

This is how they work:

1. Piano (NI Komplete VST) plays an ascending interval.

2. That interval is repeated but this time with vocals (singing the name of the interval.) The idea is to get the name of the interval associated with the sound of it. I think this is even more effective if you actually sing along with it too. I use Melodyne to make sure vocals are in tune (I wouldn’t want to throw you off!)

3. Descending interval with vocals.

4. Harmonic (both notes played at once.) No vocals.

MINOR 2ND

MAJOR 2ND

MINOR 3RD

MAJOR 3RD

PERFECT 4TH

TRITONE

PERFECT FIFTH

MINOR SIXTH

MAJOR SIXTH

MINOR SEVENTH

MAJOR SEVENTH

OCTAVE

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EarMaster Pro Ear Training Software

August 26th, 2010 Jonny Kaine Posted in Music Theory 1 Comment »

I’ve been creating some ear training posts/videos lately (and I’m working on some more) but I haven’t yet written a post dedicated to the EarMaster Pro Ear Training Software that I use everyday (or at least try to use everyday) and that I really strongly recommend to anyone who wants to improve their ear.

It helps you learn intervals (ascending, descending, and harmonic), how to identify chords, and how to correctly tap out different rhythms.

I’ve been using it for awhile now and what’s great about it is that you can really keep on using it forever because it gets more and more complex so you can keep on improving your ear until the point where you really have superhuman hearing (I’m not there yet, unfortunately.) And because of the way the program works, there’s no chance of you “memorizing” the answers (because the questions are randomized.)

It starts off simply enough where even someone who has a very poor ear will probably be able to get past the early tests but then it gets progressively harder over time so that it continues to be a challenge (and a challenge is what you need to improve, that goes for ear training and every other kind of training really.)

Another thing I really like about it is how I don’t have to think that my ear must be getting better, I know it is because I’m now able to pass tests that I couldn’t pass before.

This isn’t to say I rely on the software entirely for my ear training. I do make these videos for my own use as well as for others. I think there are certain tricks we can use to advance our ears more quickly. Ways to “unlock” our ears faster. I’m trying to find those tricks and share them with these videos.

For example associating certain intervals with certain songs: an ascending perfect fourth sounds like “Here Comes The Bride” and an ascending tritone sounds like the theme to “The Simpsons.”

Anyway, I do strongly recommend the EarMaster Pro Ear Training Software. I think it’s definitely worth the $50 price tag.

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Why the V (G) Chord Resolves to the I (C) Chord

August 3rd, 2010 Jonny Kaine Posted in Music Theory No Comments »

You most likely know that the V-I chord progression is the “strongest” in music and that most songs feature it (often at the end of a sequence of chords.)

For example, in the key of C that’s G to C and if you look at many songs in the key of C you are likely to find that many of them end with this sequence of chords (it’s also known as a “perfect cadence.”)

But do you know why this is the case?

To find out you have to break apart each chord to it’s elements (the notes within it.) I’m going to continue with the key of C example because using a real world example makes explaining it much easier.

The C chord (the I or “tonic” chord in the key of C) is made up of the notes C, E, & G. The G chord (the V or “dominant” chord in the key of C) is made up of the notes G, B, & D.

The first thing you should note is that they both share the note G. This means that when we hear these two chords one after the other our brain picks up on that note being the same. We don’t hear it going from G to C as we might assume.

Then you should notice that the other two notes of a G chord are B and D and that both of these notes want to resolve to the C note. The B note is the “leading tone” of the key of C and it wants to resolve up to C and the D wants to resolve down to C.

This pressure of the B and the D notes both wanting to resolve to C is what makes the G to C chord progression so powerful sounding. It’s not because of the note G to going to the note C (a perfect 5th down.) I think that’s worth repeating. We don’t hear that because both chords have the G note, so we hear that note as going nowhere at all.

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