The most common used synthesizer VSTi and a necessity on my list of things to have to make good music is Native Instruments Massive. This video will give you an inside on how to use it, so if you dont have it I advise you try to get it (even if its torrented).
A chord is a tool used to harmonize with the melody in a song and is made up of a triad (three) of notes. A triad is usually based off of a scale.
For example a C major chord is based off the C major scale. The notes in this chord are C-E-G.
Each note in a scale is considered a ‘degree‘ which has a chord associated with it. These degrees exist in both major and minor scales (for what I am going to show you right now). There are 7 degrees in each of these scales. The uppercase letters in the diagram below are the major chords and the lowercase ones (except for the vii which is a diminished chord) are the minor chords.
- Major = I ii iii IV V vi vii
C D E F G A B
For the minor scales it’s a little bit different…
- Minor = i ii(diminished) III iv v VI VII
A B C D E F G
There are rules to how you can use these chords to make up a progression. Usually in most electronic and popular music the common progression is a I-IV-V repeated. So, an example of this would be Cmajor-Gmajor-Amajor then back to Cmajor. This is only one example of the endless amount of progressions you can do, but there are some limitations to creating them.
In order to tell what chords will go good with each other, there is a diagram that you can follow to tell you the possible chords you can go to next. Below is a diagram of how you can go about making a chord progression within a major scale. You can use the same diagram for a minor scale but change the degrees (uppercase and lowercase letters).
As you can see, the I-IV-V chord works perfectly with this diagram. Another example made using this diagram would be I-V-vi-IV-I. So in a C major scale would be Cmajor-Gmajor-Aminor-Fmajor then Cmajor to start the progression again.
Now try and play around in Ableton or on a keyboard playing the different chords and theories mentioned in this post. I will be posting more in depth posts about chords and ways to make your music sound unique.
EXTRA TIP: try starting on the iii of a major scale (phrygian mode) and making a chord progression starting on the diagram at that degree.
**Also try using other major and minor scales**
Here is a great video by ARTFX explaining major and minor scales. These are things any person trying to make music should know. Scales are what make music sound right and in ‘key.’ There will be more posts on different scales and modes that can be used in music.
After looking at this video, mess around with making things in a certain key. Also don’t be afraid to go outside of the boundaries and start on a different root note (Ex. not on C for a C major scale) on a scale to see what you get.