There's still a lot of mystery to songwriting.
Karen Cuneo Ramirez is one of my favorite person when it comes to practical music theory http: ChuckO You seem to know theory but it seems odd that you are looking at actual chords and their frequency and not the chords relationship to the scale which would seem to me to be more relevant.
Although it would be interesting if hit songs in the key of C were prevalent especially if the singers tended to sing in a particular range. ChuckO By range I mean octave. ChuckO And I meant the root chord to a minor 6 chord not root to minor 4 chord.
This is why I transposed all the songs to the key of C. I do disagree about How to write songs understanding of Roman Numerals for chords though. For all jazz, blues, rock and folk players and for all composers Roman numerals for chord are standard.
ChuckO True, as a songwriter I would also be more interested in writing a song that lasts. We still listen to The Beatles because they wrote great chord changes.
That is to say that focusing only on harmony in an attempt to decode what makes for good music is akin to saying that what most accounts for great literature is the frequency of letters. Letters in words have no inherent meaning unto themselves; words themselves will be largely meaningless without the context of a sentence.
Analyzing frequency of letters would be a surface analysis at best. Harmonic structure is not the surface of a piece of music; it creates an underlying backbone for the melodic and rhythmic elements to work from. It is structural, not decorative.
I have no qualms using this as a starting point for deeper analysis, and am excited to see this series continue. Perhaps a better comparison would be between harmonic progression and gramatical structure.
Joshua Jones Goovitude, it is true that a lot of guitar and piano players, when composing, find a chord harmonic progression that they like and then locate a melody within that structure. However, historically, melody has been the king of music composition.
You can rearrange the chords of a song but keep the melody and everyone will still recognize the song. But if you keep the chords and change the melody, the original song would be unidentifiable. But of course chord progressions are, as you say, very important.
Could you be a bit more specific about your choices of songs to study? The database entries small individual chord progression so each is analyzed with respect to the key it is currently using.
Thanks for sharing your findings! Frank Yes, I think you should do an analysis relative to the key, e. Compare your results to the circle of fifths and the chords for each key.
Apple use the first seven chords in the key and add an eighth which is interesting. Is your data base available? Do you use the Chord Pro format?
If not, what format do you use? If you want to make changes, go right ahead! This will essentially tell us which songs have the same melodies. In fact, all of the songs in the Hooktheory database use relative notation, e.
Cryptography has recently piqued my interest and in the course of learning about it I have written some simple programs to analyze text for frequency of n-grams, frequency of the first letters of words, etc and I can see a bit of a parallel between written text analysis and the analysis of parts of song!
Enc Is there any chance you would publish your database, so that we can write our own queries? What happened to the key of B major? D and E are indeed there, but in the key of C they are the ii and iii chords, which are minor.
A is also minor in the key of C being the vi chord. I mean, we could crawl http: The data eludes to the most common key which is C and is very well known to most musicians. The reason being that this is all the white keys on the piano no flats and easiest to play in, which is why it would be the most common and popular.
Roman numeral analysis would have been much more useful here, as it is not dependent on the actual chord letter or key, but its overall function. Functionally this is known as root-predominate-dominate progression and is the most popular movement in all modern music.Read on my blog: How to Write a Song if Your Don’t Play an Instrument.
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All you really need is some basic knowledge of a melody instrument like a guitar or a piano, an idea, and the proper methodology. As long as you know how to brainstorm ideas for your song, how. That’s a good recommendation. I have a feeling it wouldn’t change the results much for pop songs, but it’s something to try!
I know Pandora has done some analysis like this for their database, but I thought it was limited to things like major or minor tonality, upbeat tempo, etc. and didn’t delve as much into the nitty gritty harmony.