Posts tagged harmony
A Guide to Cadences

In this guide, I'll show you how to understand and write your own jazz-influenced chord progressions. The most frequently used progression in jazz composition is called the ii - V - I cadence. My last harmony article tackled Chromatic Chords, and I outlined how to use out-of-key chords to add some spice to your own writing, and in that tutorial, I mostly used roman numeral based chords to relate the chromatic chords to the root chord. In this article, I’ll look at chromatic chords that veer further away from the home chord, and journey through jazz-related harmonic territory. This type of cadence guided composition can sound refreshing in comparison to a lot of modern 4-chord pop songs.

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A Guide to Chromatic Chords

In this article, I'll explain the difference between diatonic chords and chromatic chords, and explore some cool, ear-bending harmonic choices that we can use in our own music. You may have stumbled across interesting sounding chord combinations already and been unaware of exactly why they worked well together, and some music theory can help better understand and use these chord combinations.

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A Guide to Chord Progressions

Here at Reverb Machine, I usually cover sound design, but for this article, I'd like to deviate slightly and cover another side of music-making: composition. Even with the best sounding patches, and the tightest production, boring compositions will still sound boring. I'll start out by discussing chord progressions and how to make your chord arrangements sound more interesting.

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Timecop1983 Synth Sounds

Synthwave is an electronic music genre heavily influenced by 80’s synthpop and film soundtracks, and has reached wider popularity in the last 10 years. One of it’s most popular artists is Timecop1983, a Dutch musician otherwise known as Jody Leenaerts, who combines nostalgic 80s synths with a dream-pop production aesthetic and melancholy songwriting. Last year he released the EP _Lovers, Pt. 2_, a follow-up to 2016’s _Lovers, Pt. 1_, which I’ll focus on deconstructing in this article.

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Deerhunter Guitar Sounds

Deerhunter are a psychedelic indie-rock band from Atlanta; they've released 7 albums that have seen them experiment with ambient music, garage rock and dream pop. They don't seem to be gear-heads, they favour cheap guitar pedals and record on Tascam portable eight-track recorders. However, there is one guitar pedal they use that I want to concentrate on, a pedal that strongly shaped the sound of the album Halycon Digest: the Eventide Pitchfactor. The Pitchfactor is a powerful harmonizer pedal, capable of harmonizing chromatically and diatonically, and capable of applying delays to the harmonized notes to create sequences. This Deerhunter sound is usually an acoustic guitar played through the Pitchfactor into a big, modulated reverb. Cox actually favours cheaper reverbs such as the DigiTech DigiVerb and Behringer Reverb Machine (no relation). Although the Pitchfactor is a deeply powerful pedal, and easily programmable, Cox actually just uses many of the factory presets to guide his songwriting.

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