Music Theory – 0022

I better hurry up, someone’s already up to “Music Theory – 0012” as of this writing. Take your time. The worst thing you can do is rush through these things before you are ready to move on. Let’s get on to the next step of writing for our first real chord progression:


Yes, I do want you to enter that. All of it. If you saved your work from last time all you have to do is add the melody for the first four measures.

Now, if you do not have at least five more open measures, go to the Edit menu of NotePad and select “Add Measures…” and in the dialog box enter “5” and click “OK”. Five more measures should have been added to the end. Now copy the first four measures into the next four measures and then edit the last measure in the bass clef and then for the final measure add the notes as shown in the picture.

As we have been doing, alter the melody some to make it your own. You can even leave some of those half notes alone but at least change some. You can connect the dots any way you wish or do something more original if you like. Melodies tend to follow the scale, using each line and space going from one point to another but certainly not always. Try to do it a little different the second time through the progression even though the basic melody is the same.

I once heard Paul McCartney interviewed on the radio and he said of writing music that he usually just plays someone else’s song and after a while he changes a few things until it becomes something different and then he has a new song. Let’s take that to heart. If you start with a great piece of music and alter it until it no longer sounds like you are copying it, you have indeed made something new. Take it from one of the most prolific songwriters ever.

I heard Bob Seger interviewed on the radio too. Garth Brooks had come out with a song that sounded very much like Seger’s “Get Out of Denver.” The interviewer asked Seger if he intended to do anything about it and Seger said, “Why would I do that? I ripped off ‘Johnny B. Goode’ when I wrote ‘Get Out of Denver’.”!

Sometimes a guitar is not just a guitar.

Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. The Alphabet Song. Baa Baa Black Sheep.

You feel me?

Don’t worry about accidentally copying something. Chuck Berry didn’t invent twelve bar blues, but he gave it a new attitude. Any music you make that sounds kinda good only sounds right because it was done many times before, otherwise, trust me, it wouldn’t work. If wildly successful people steal and alter what came before them what makes us so special that we can’t do the same thing? We build on what came before and if we’re lucky we’ll come up with some incremental difference that seems special.

Now get to work on that second most common chord progression so we can finish that and get to the single most common, twelve bar blues.

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