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Writing Chords

Lesson 8 from: Songwriting in Logic Pro X for Electronic Music Production

Tomas George

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Lesson Info

8. Writing Chords

<b>In this lesson, you will learn about Writing Chords.</b>
Next Lesson: Experimental Chords


Class Trailer

Writing Drums and Bass Part Introduction


Making Drums Beats with Ultrabeat


Beats with Ultrabeat and Drummer


Writing Bass Parts - Part 1


Writing Bass Parts - Part 2


Writing Drums and Bass Parts Assignment


Writing Chords Introduction


Writing Chords


Lesson Info

Writing Chords

OK. Now we're going to have a look at writing chords for our song. So when writing chords, it has to really make a loop in electronic music. It's really got to loop round and round. So the first chord and the last chord really have to link together anything else in between. However, you can really do whatever you want. If you want to create more experimental music, music, that sounds a bit more interesting. Don't just stick to chords in the key. Don't just stick to predictable sounding chords experiment and try new ideas. I do have a complete music theory course if you'd like to expand this further, but we're gonna jump in and start making some chords. Now, it is important to know about keys. It is important to know what notes fit in key signatures before you break the rules. But most importantly, it's about training your ear and knowing what works or being able to work out what you want. So let's create a new software instrument by hitting this plus button here. And now let's go down ...

to sculpture and hit crate. Now let's click on sculpture. You don't have to use this S this is just one that I like. So this kind of tries to recreate real sounding effects, which I think can sound really awesome for writing chords. Just open up musical typing. Let's go up and octave. OK. Nice. I'm just gonna start off with a factory default. So previously, when we wrote a bass part, it was in C minor. So I'm gonna initially start off in C minor, but then we're gonna go into something new, some different ideas. So I'm just gonna solo this for now and we'll link it back up with the bass and drums later on. So let's actually just get this base information and copy it over for now and then just expand it out. It is a good idea to link the instruments together. It is all about locking in the different instruments when songwriting and Logic pro or any other digital audio workstation. So let's just put this up an octave, delete these. OK. So you can, here we have this cause straight away, I'm gonna put this e upon octaves. E sorry, this is flat. So we have the root note and the third up an octave. Let's hear this and let's turn it on the Metronome cos now we don't have the drums on. I'm just gonna set a loop going up to bar five and bar two. I'm gonna add a new cord there. I like this root note, octave, root note. Third octave thing going on I do think it sounds quite interesting. So now I'm gonna go down to a B flat because we are in the key of C I now, like I said, the start and the end of the loop has to really link together, but anything else can change. So I'm gonna start off with notes that do fit in the key and then we're gonna change it around and think of something new. I suggest you do the same. Start off with predictable stuff, start off with things that will work and then expand and then create new interesting ideas. And this will go to ad and then they're gonna go up to an F and then a flat. So what I'm doing now is actually creating a third but an octave above and then I'm gonna go to the g nice and predictable, nice and simple. OK. So let's hear this back. They changed the last one to knee flat and AJ. So that's the root of the E flat cord and the third up and octave. So you can hear that works. And then I'm gonna add the fifth, the fifth notes is the same in the major and the minor. So a lot of this is just knowing what notes fit in the chord. So all these notes at the moment fit in C minor. So C minor is different to C major. C major is all the white notes, you can turn a major scale into a minor scale by flattening the third, the sixth and the seventh. So the third of C major is this E, so we just flatten it to this E flat. And then the six, is this a flatten it to a flat? The seventh is this B, we flatten it to B flat. That's the same to turn any major scale into a minor scale flat in the third flat in the sixth and flat in the seventh and vice versa, to turn a minor scale into a major scale. So if you want to turn C minor into C major, sharpen the third, so sharpen this E flat into an E natural, sharpen the sixth. So sharpen this a flat into an A natural and sharpen the seventh. So sharpen this B flat to B natural. So now we're gonna add the fifth this time, we're gonna add this for different instruments just so it sounds a bit more exciting cos at the moment, if it's just all the same instruments playing these chords, it's not gonna sound too exciting. So we're gonna actually create another instrument. And this time we're gonna use the Exs 24 we're gonna try and find some string samples. I think that can sound really nice. So it's going to a S click on here and then go down to try pop strings. Let's try Cello Arco. So we get a nice smooth cello sound. Let's drag this first loop which was this sculpture synth down to the cello. Let's solo this and now we're gonna work out the fifth and have this fifth note playing. So the first one was ac so we count up five notes because it's the same in a major arm minor 12345. We get a G. So let's just move this to AJ and delete the bottom one second. Is it B flat. So if you count at 512345 is the F, the third is A F. So if we count it at 512345, we get ac so we count up five in a major or minor because the fifth is also known as a perfect fifth, which basically means it fits in a major or a minor scale. And the last one is uh E flat and let's hear this back. OK? We can change some of this around. Put all the standard octave, you'll notice the third chord is an F. So I'm just gonna leave this F note running. So it's just playing two notes here. And then what I'm gonna do is actually go into the excess 24 and change some stuff around. So I just decrease the cut off. So it cuts out some of the highs, increase the drive and increase the resonance just to make it sound a bit smoother. And then I'm going to add some effects quickly now and we're gonna actually use send reverb. So we're gonna bust this reverb. So if you're kind of new to logic pro busting basically means to send this track to another track. And on that other track, you can add some effects. So you can actually send several tracks to another track that all share the same effects. This is great for time based effects like reverb or delay. So we're gonna add on a stereo space designer and then we're gonna make sure the drys all the way off. If you're bussing or you're sending your effects to a bus, an auxiliary track is also called, you have to make sure the drys off or you're just gonna be duplicating the track and making it louder. So we've just got reverb on this, make it sound a bit more washy, a bit more epic. And then we need to increase this button here which will add on some of the send effect. And then we're going to go into sculpture and change some of these sounds around because sound design is very important in songwriting. Nowadays. It's not really the case where you can just write a few chords, you can write a melody and you send your song to a producer and you can get signed by a record label. Now, it's, you really have to be able to produce it and write it all yourself. It'll save you a lot of time, a lot of headaches just being able to learn this stuff yourself. So this is really the position of the pickup. It is a kind of a strange one sculpture but it can create some really cool, interesting sounds. I do recommend. However, if you are new to sound design and you're new to actually making songs in logic pro, I do recommend using the some of the presets. Let's use module pads. Got some really cool sounds here, make sure as well. It's always in poly if you playing more than one note because mono would just play one note at a time. If you are playing chords, it won't really work in mono. That's nice. Just gonna add a EQ now just to cut out some of these highs. OK. Great. Remember to save and now I'm gonna add more of a keyboard part, more of a piano part to kind of get some rhythm going with these chords. Remember we can always change the chords. We don't necessarily need them to be the same. So I'm just dragged over this bamboo airs string. So the sculptor the first cause we wrote and now I'm actually gonna choose X ss 24. Click on the drop down and let's choose acoustic pianos. Let's try Steinway Piano two. OK. And so do this here. We're going to actually add the fifth as well. So that's a G. So the fifth, remember of C is five notes up of B flats and F. So count five notes up in your key signature. And now we're going to use something called inversion. So this is basically where we move the notes around. So they look more even so they flow a lot better. If you notice here, there's a big jump up to here. So if you put this G sharp here, we notice there's less of a jump. If we put this one here, this F you can actually put it down, same as this D sharp and then move this one that's G. So here, let's see what this sounds like. I prefer it to sound a lot more full like this. So I'm actually gonna change a lot of these around. So let's move this f up here. Let's move this G up here. Now we get this kind of fuller sounding piano. Great. What we can do now is actually add some rhythm. So now let's actually add on the drums because we have some nice chords here. They sound really good, but they're not very rhythmical. We can leave that bass part. It does kind of fit. We're gonna mute this for now and we can actually change the bass notes to fit with the piano notes later on. So what we can do is either physically play these piano notes in and get some rhythm or we can just change them around. So it's really about creating a dance rhythm, a lot of the time in dance music. It's all about offbeat. So you need to create music on the offbeat. Offbeat basically means on the and so if you break up a beat into 21 and two and three and four and the, and is the offbeat, that's really what it means. And that's where the dance comes from, is going on the offbeat and getting that pulsating rhythm. So let's just move this to the offbeat. If we can see here, we have beat two. So this needs to be on the and which is there. So let's just put them all on the offbeat for now. Just so you can hear this pulsating rhythm. Obviously, if you have it too much, it sounds a bit boring, but we can, of course, we can mix it up and change stuff around. A lot of this is about experimentation. What do you actually want this track for? And of course, we can actually add other melodies on top, which we will be looking at later on quantitative key. OK. So that's basically how we can write some chords. What we're going to do now is we're going to leave this rhythm. But it is all about experimentation, finding out what works, what you like as a rhythm might be different from what I like as a rhythm. But for now, let's actually change the base part. So it fits with these chords. So remember the first chord was the c the second was the B flat. The third was this f and the fourth was this E for lads. So the easiest thing to do is to just go into the base part and just change it. So it fits with the chords. Of course, you can get cords called slash cords, which basically means the base notes aren't the same as the chords. So certain ones we can use the slash cords. So if we're keeping this as see Mida, let's just see if we can use any slash cords. So the second has ad which will really clash this E flat. So the second chord we have to add in ad can't really use this E flat. So all we have to do changes to E flat to ad and E flat, of course, also has a B flat. So move this down to a B flat. Let's hear this back now. Nice. And now let's look at the third chord which is an F minor. So let's go to this third one. Remember F minor? See if it's ne minor. It's nice. That's the fifth. This is the seventh which won't really work. So we need to drag this up to F. Now, let's have a look at the fourth one which was and E flat again. So we can just use the second one again. Nice and simple. And now what I'm gonna actually do is just color these differently. So hit Alton C just so we know they're different things. OK. Great. Remember the second and the third were both E flats. So we're gonna leave them like that. And now let's just copy these over. Start to make a bit of an arrangement now. OK. Let's hear what we've got so far. I think we're starting to get a bit of a song. This is just one example of how I like to write a song. OK. Thanks for watching this lecture. The next one, we're going to be looking at more experimental chords and more experimental patterns of notes.

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