chords question is there only ONE right way of playing chords for a song

Discussion in 'Beginner's Q&A Forum' started by the_googly, Apr 4, 2005.

  1. the_googly

    the_googly New Member

    is there only ONE right way of playing chords for a song?
  2. death_metal_fan

    death_metal_fan oh goody, it's a woody!

    No. There are many ways to play a song using the same chords.
  3. sayanakaharry

    sayanakaharry Forum Leader

    no of course not. there are many harmonically correct ways to fit in chords, but if u want to do it like the original, then there are only one set: the original. i think this is a good question and deserves more attention from the pros.
  4. d_ist_urb_ed

    d_ist_urb_ed Genuflect b*tches!

    Hmm, there are many ways to play a song using the same chords on different positions of the fretboard. But that was a layman's explanation. A more professional explanation by someone would be very good.
  5. the_googly

    the_googly New Member

    ok... my question was

    given the melody.... is there only ONE way of playing chords for the melody.
  6. hs07

    hs07 New Member

    Not really, given the melody, u can play a chord that fits the melody and even u know which chord, u can play it in differnt places on the fretboard and using different inversions. Simple example would be - play open "C" chord, play barre "C" chord in the 3rd position or play yet another barre "C" chord in the 8th position. And then u can substitute (different topic, Ihave a thread about substitution elsehwere...).

    Slightly more complicated example is to play the "C" chord with root in the bass (8th position), with the 3rd in the bass (10th position) or 5th in the bass (2nd position) etc. These are called inversions of the major chord.

    The difference is in the different "voicing" that u get with the different chords i.e. they shound slightly different. Again simple example is to listen to the difference between open and barre chords.

    The more complicated answer to the question is "Probably Yes" - because u probably want to achieve a certain voicing at certain times in a song to fit the melody best. Depends on what u r trying to emphasize - if u want to emphasize the melody then u want to try and play chords which have the bottom as the melody line (bottom = treble strings i.e. lower 3 strings), if u want to emphasize moving bass lines (ascending or descending, then u'd play appropriate chords to emphasize the bass string that descends or ascends with the chord changes). Also important is whether u r playing alone or u have a bass player who already plays a bass line, so u can concentrate on other chordal aspects.

    This stuff easily becomes complex - harmony theory etc. comes in, so I'll just stop here b4 I shoot myself in the foot with too much mumbo jumbo. But the idea is that u want to play chords that attain a certain voicing, but in general, u can probably get away with playing the "proper" chord w/o worrying too much about the voicing (except perhaps open vs. barre where the difference is accentuated quite a bit).

    Long winded answer to the basic point, if beginner, concentrate on the chords and smooth changing, strumming etc. If intermediate/advanced, experiment with different positions to attain the best voicing.
  7. d_ist_urb_ed

    d_ist_urb_ed Genuflect b*tches!

    ^Excellent explanation, thanks a lot dude!!
  8. the_googly

    the_googly New Member

    hs07 - thanks for the explanation.

    i do now understand that there are different voicings for the same chord... and they have to be picked appropriately.

    what about 2 different chords - like C and Am... are there situations where both of them might sound right...?
  9. hs07

    hs07 New Member

    Sorry, again the asnwer is Yes and No !! Most probably NO, Am instead of a C major changes the tonality i.e. one is a minor chord and the other is a major, so its hard to play a minor instead of a major.

    BUT, complicated answer is "Sometimes Yes, u can get away with it and actually in some instances it can work beautifully) - bcos Am is the relative minor of C major (see many other threads on scales, relative minors etc. including this theread where I posted some stuff).

    The basic idea is that certian chords can be substituted by other chords, usually the substitutions are close substitutions (like C maj 7 for a C maj ot an Am7 or Am6 for an Am), but in some cases, u can substitute the relative minor for the major (in this case substitute Am for C maj) and it will be good. It depends on the melody line, the chords that preced and follow it, voicing etc. See my other threads on substitution for more (I did not address the relative minor for major subst. in those thereads though).

    U should let ur ear guide u as to when a "big" substitution like Am for C makes sense - substitution can be a good tool if used correctly, if misused, it will become a khichdi !
  10. the_googly

    the_googly New Member

    thanks for the explanation...

    are there any defined set of rules for chords selection?

    ok... here is what i am trying to do... i would like to define a melody using midi... i would like to fit in chords automatically.. if there are multiple possibilities then we can randomize the chords and see what kind of effects it can produce... :think:
  11. hs07

    hs07 New Member

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