One Chord Songs – The Modal Chord

Bars 9-16

In this article I will make some music from this chord form and I will also try to break it down for you. You will have access to all the composition materials i.e. score, midi file, individual tracks and the mix of the result, all these materials are at the end of this article.

If you have not read the modal chord article you should do so before reading this one, since this article is build on it. I would also like to point out that the song is not so much a song I would do for a album but rather a demonstration of possibilities in music and sound.

The Staring Point is a Single Chord form Playing a F# Locrian Scale Pattern

LocrianWalkingChordsBoxes.jpg

In order to understand the breakdown of the song, here are the tracks that make up the song:

1. Rhythm – Chord track.
2. 3rds – Playing two notes at a time.
3. 5ths – a single note play accompanying the chords.
4. Melody – a single note play over chords adding movement to the chord progression.
5. B pivod point – Main purpose of this track is the add tension and release it.

Bars 1-9

For the first seven measures I use the scale pattern as a basis for the song. This pattern is not that interesting musically but used here for the purposes of demonstration.

scale pattern

Rhythm

I break up the chords by plukking each note of the chord rather than just strumming the whole chord. The plukking is interesting in it self, it follows a pattern that collides with the open B string that is always present, the pattern is root, octave, third, open B, octave, open B, third and octave.

By plukking the same pattern while moving the chord around, still always playing the open B note, there is a sence of modal movement of the chords.

3rds
Accompanying the chords for the first seven measures is a single guitar that just plays the thirds of every chord and the root. This is done to get a fuller sound and strengthen the chord movement.

5ths
Silent.

Melody
Silent.

B pivod point
Silent.

Bars 9-16

Enter three new voices that add considerably to the song. Althrough there is the same chord progression underlying, the three new voices add to the fullness of the progression and give a sence of added chord movement within the same chord progression i.e. inner movement. Let´s look at them in more detail

Rhythm
The chord track is still the same and by doing so streangthens the chord progression. The second track is also playing the same thing i.e. the thirds and root.

3rds
The third track introduces the fifths. Since there have not been played any fiths in the song, except for the E chord, this adds a more fullness and purpose/strength to the progression.

5ths
Playing the 5ths adding to the fullness of the chord.

Melody
The forth track brings the melody. It´s not much of a melody at all but still it keeps on adding to the movement of the harmony. Starting with a 4th on the 9th bar adds space and purpose to the chord. It sets the tone for the movement that follows in the sence that it assimilates a mood behind the song. Also the 4th beeing the pivod point (B note) employes a stand against the whole progression i.e. adding tension.

In the melody part the 4th gradually moves to the root to follow the chord progression and leaves the tension to the 5th track (B pivod point track).

B pivod point
The fitht track (B pivod point) dances around the B note (4th) for added tension. The track hold it’s tension for three bars, then joins the root of the B chord in the 12th bar and then follows the root to the end of the progression ending on a 5th. Initially this brings tension to the song but resolves it self to assimilate it self to the song.

Bars 16 – 24

This part introduces a new concept i.e. the added tension from the F9 chord (B pivod point) against the F#4 chord (rhythm). At first this sounds as a bridge to something or rather some situation, this is then slowly resolved with a strange chord progression against the pivod point.

Rhythm
Here the chord progression changes. It enters a two chord wamp (F#4, C7M) that gives the song a sens of beeing in a limbo or stationary. then in bars 20 – 24 it resolves it self in a strange way with the chords of G, A add9, and A#add9- against the F9 pivod point chord. This is kind of a backward resolution in the sense that it resoves the issue at hand but still the issue is not resolved completly.

3rds
Plays the 3rds througout this section.

5ths
Plays the 5ths througout this section.

Melody
Silent.

B pivod point
Introduces a new chord against the chord progression of the rhythm. This F9 chord is not at ease in this section. It sounds like a ambulance (in some countries) and gives a sense of high anxiety or added pressure to a point. In the 16th bar it adds m9, 5- and a m3rd to the underlying chord of F#4.

The answer in the 17th bar is a R, 4 and aug 5th. With the Root and the 4th giving a sense of resolution to the situation at hand but the aug 5th still hinting that there is still some pressing issue that needs to be dealt with.

Bars 24 – end

The final resolution to the song is presented here, offering a genuine resolution that is in turn ruined by the last chord.

Rhythm
C#7 and the D6 chords keep on offering the same limbo as in bars 16-24, the resolution is not so genuine since the pressure is all around the chords.

3rds
Plays the 3rds througout this section.

5ths
Plays the 5ths througout this section.

Melody
Playing mostly root and 5ths with a wisit to 3rds in bars 26 and 27. The melody part goves a sence of negotiating the resolution with the chords and looks quite good until the last chord where there is only a partly relolution to the movement of the chords.

B pivod point
Silent.

Excersice

Make a melody and record it or write it down. Add 2-3 improvised melodies on top of the first. Try to make the chord movement in the melody to your liking while improvising.

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