Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Chords - In Review, The

Here is a very simple review (and directory) of sorts of all the chords I've examined.

C Major
The positive, studious, good-looking boy. Very down to earth.

The best example of the chord (and scale) used in music. The progression starts in C and the chorus uses it (and F) as well.

C Minor
The worried, anxious guy who makes mountains out of molehills and see problems easily.

The bass plays C and the keyboard does a C minor during the verses. That's the best example I know of that chord being used.

The full post.

D Major
The most friendly, considerate, inclusive girl. Always smiling. Makes time for everyone.

This 1991 R.E.M. song is definitely in D major. It's obvious from the beginning and I've tried writing the bass down as music on a staff; all the notes it plays are notes in the D major scale. The first note you hear is D in the chorus, followed by A major, its fifth in the scale.

D Minor
This woman doesn't find much joy in things and is just rather bored with everything. Can be blunt. A sceptical person.

This song not only uses D minor as a guitar chord but follows its natural minor scale (obvious from the verse progression going from D minor to A# or Bb, the only sharp/flat in that scale).

The full post.

E Major
This is the guy everyone at school or the office (or anywhere) knows. He's happy, optimistic, confident, in-your-face, eager to be everyone's friend, clap them on the back. The bombastic positive energy coming from him guarantees his position as student council president or the guy who takes everyone out for drinks on a Friday evening after work.

I looked over a lot of songs in my list that I'd labelled as in 'E' but I was wrong for virtually all of them including this one. E minor is quite a popular scale to play music in. This is also in E minor - the G note is the only reason though - so I'm using this because the progression otherwise follows the scale exactly save for the G. The chorus (of sorts) is in E major.

E Minor
The eternally frustrated, surprised and disappointed character. I actually quite like this chord, and I think most other musicians agree considering the wide amount of songs in that key.

This is the best example of E minor. The song is in that key and the first, dominant chord you hear is E minor on the guitar and bass. Followed by its fifth, of course, B minor.

The full post.

F Major
This is Mr. Impatience - he is smart and academic and never has enough time, can be hedonistic. The guy running ahead and yelling 'hurry up!'.

This song follows the key of F major I believe, and it's the first note you hear.

F Minor
The unfortunately unconfident, anxious nester of a woman who had negative experiences in school and reacted by putting walls up around herself.

This is a great example of F minor in music. The song is in that scale and the chord is obvious at the beginning of the progression. It's played by both the piano and the dominant, signature keyboard riff.

The full post.

G Major
Mr. Comfortable - the well-established character who is also the man of reason and very diplomatic. Not necessarily an everyman (considering those tend to get themselves in sticky situations in sitcoms) but a comfortable, pleasant, polite person who is the voice of reason in a room of argument and chaos.

This is a good example of a song in G major. G, D (its fifth), A, E. The song itself actually does kind of sound comfortable.

G Minor
The nostalgic guy who spends too much time in his past, thinking of happy memories, and not wanting good things to end. Hates goodbyes.

While the guitar chords are in major (G major, F major, etc.), the scale is G minor (melodic due to the E in the pre-chorus bit).

The full post.

A Major
This is the seemingly stoic, quiet character who underneath the shyness has a high level of care and endearment towards those he cares about most. Sees himself as potentially adventurous, but more of a dreamer and more of a background person.

This song follows a progression entirely in A major and starts off with that chord. I feel the dominant guitar part also follows the scale as well, starting high up on A. I think the musical (and lyrical) context of this song also showcases the characteristics of this chord/scale pretty well.

A Minor
The hardworking, pessimistic character who feels like he has a big hardship, but that's life and that's what he's stuck with. I said in the proper post that I got a bald barber, complete with apron, who emigrated to the country hoping for choice and promise and instead ended up stuck in that profession, feeling short-changed and limited. But that's life, and nothing's going to change it.

I was going to use 'I Ran (So Far Away)' by A Flock of Seagulls as it follows the scale, but I felt that the lack of an obvious A minor in any form in the song (it's just guitar-picking and one-note synths) it ends up sounding like A major to the ears rather than minor, and 'Echo Beach' uses the chord on guitar throughout the majority of the song (as well as follows the minor scale).

The full post.

B Major

This is the shy but cute and noticeably different girl-next-door. She doesn't really conform to others and like A major cares deeply about those she's close to while being shy.

I was going to use 'Rasputin' by Boney M. but while B major is extremely obvious in the song, it's only really the strings that make it so, and this song just simply strums it on the guitar lazily throughout. Unfortunately, both 'Rasputin' and this are actually in the scale of B minor - thanks to their usage of D - but consider this a good example of the chord rather than the scale.

B Minor
This is the deeply brooding, but deeply endearing chord. You can count on her to always be there for you, ready for any adventure you're about to go on. While she's more pessimistic, she's very committed. And not because she feels she isn't strong enough to be on her own, but because her feelings run deep - I would not cheat on this girl.

There is no better song to exemplify the sound of this minor chord and it's expression. B minor is the first sound you hear.

The full post.

C# Major
I wrote C# major as a dreamy, happy, almost too-perfect-seeming girl who despite setting big goals for herself actually goes out and meets them. I made reference to girls at school who always seemed 'out there,' on athletic council and student council - and on the honour roll.

It took me a bit of a while, but this is the result I could come up with best. While there are a couple of notes in there (such as B) that do not fully put it into a C# major scale, the rest of it follows the major scale and the guitar chords are major.

C# Minor
This is the girl with the very negative background who isn't exactly negative or brooding or anxious as a result (like F minor for instance) but rather disconnected and on her own. She throws away a lot of conventional ideas and only lives to fulfill herself, because others in the past definitely didn't help, so she no longer needs others. Therefore her views tend to come off as worldly and cultured thanks to the accelerated speed she had to grow up, though still being young there's a falseness that comes from those disconnected, independent views. And she's also very cautious, opening up to people very selectively. Very careful, thanks to experience.

One thing I've noticed in putting this together is that there are many more songs that are structured around minor scales than major ones. A major scale ends on a half-step movement, so E major's seventh, second-last note is D# (or E flat) before E. A minor scale doesn't, ending on a whole instead of a half, so for E minor, it's D. Musicians tend to like going down a whole step from the tonic than a half-step, so they'll still use major chords, but on a minor scale. This song is a great example, going a whole step down from C# to B, and it uses C# minor. So it fits.

The full post.

D# Major
The starry-eyed famous celebrity winking at the paparazzi cameras.

This is an obvious song in D# major. The procession follows the scale and the piano plays the chord in an inverted triad quite nicely. This is also another song I feel makes me think of the personality of the chord very well in its context.

D# Minor
This is the manipulative, suspicious, materialistic older woman who stirs drama in others around her to protect herself while being highly critical. I likened her to Lucille Bluth on Arrested Development.

This is the only real example I've found or at least listened to well enough to notice the keyboard starts the progression in D# minor while the bass keeps playing D# on its own.

The full post.

F# Major
The cool kid who has stories to tell. Easy-going with people and social but not super extroverted or introverted, just in the middle.

This doesn't follow the major scale all the way - but it follows the majority of it and uses the major chord.

F# Minor
This is Orson Welles as Citizen Kane. Accomplished in life, but not satisfied or fully happy. Not sure why.

This follows the minor scale (this and 'Around the Bend' use the same progression) but doesn't really use the minor chord itself. But that's not the end of the world, really. You can see how the root chord sounds the same as the one in 'Run to You.'

The full post.

G# Major
This is the guy who doesn't really not like or like anything, and has no obvious interests, drifts around.
Unfortunately, for the major, I do not know of or have any songs figured out that's in this scale or begins in this chord. Really.

G# Minor
This was the accident-prone guy with no confidence, always worrying about things. The tax man who hates confrontation.

This is the only song I've found that is in this scale. It's quite exotic-sounding to me rather than worrisome, although it's about a man who dreams who can fly (but always falls instead).

The full post.

A# Major
The well-traveled person, a guy who needs to always be moving around. Has a career that requires him to travel the world, and see many places. Very intelligent and cultured.

A good example of this chord/scale in music.

A# Minor
The disabled kid who feels blocked in life to better opportunities or advancement. More frustrated and angry than sad or pessimistic.

While the guitar strums A# major, the song follows notes in the minor scale.

The full post.

Well, it was interesting putting all of that together finally. Brief descriptions with musical examples (to virtually the best of my ears and knowledge). Only the G sharps are missing example music, but oh well. I've really found that musicians prefer minor scales as most popular songs and music use the first and seventh notes - but they're almost always a whole step away from each other rather than half a step as it would be in a major. It's an interesting thing for me to note.

It's also a bit of an accomplishment for me to finally publish this as it's taken me all day long (I started yesterday afternoon and then went to work). I hope people find this interesting as I don't think you'd find musical examples with descriptions of major/minor scales, and this is further made colourful with my synesthetic perception of the chord's personality.

Isn't it kind of neat at least?

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