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#250933 - 05/24/14 02:03 AM [Band-in-a-Box for Windows] BIAB: Songwriting for Dummies
Registered: 02/20/10
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Loc: Maryland
TuneMonger Offline
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Registered: 02/20/10
Posts: 462
Loc: Maryland
I have some melodies and lyrics in my head and need some chords for them so I can use them in BIAB. Anyone have any suggestions? I can play guitar and harmonica some but never had enough ability to hear how chords fit with melodies. Any ideas appreciated.
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#250939 - 05/24/14 05:27 AM [Band-in-a-Box for Windows] Re: BIAB: Songwriting for Dummies [Re: TuneMonger]
Registered: 05/24/14
Posts: 6
Loc: france
titiclarinet Offline
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Registered: 05/24/14
Posts: 6
Loc: france
I am not a specialist of harmony, but may be a first advice could help ?

Can you enter the melody of your song in Band in a Box ? You have to choose a tonality first. In C major and A minor there are no flats and sharps (except a G# often found in A minor). Il you choose another tonality, band in a box indicates the flats or sharps at the beginning of the score.
Enter the melody and try to decide what are the most important notes Inside every bar. Normally, these notes belong to the chord played at the same time as an accompaniement.
Try to enter some simple major or minor chords and observe the score of an instrument like the piano or the guitar. Il you can read music, you will see if there are notes of the chord that correspond to notes in the melody.
Normally, sharps of flats in chords are the same as in the melody. Pay attention to major and minor chords so that all the notes of the chord belong to the scale .
The last important topic is the place of the chord in the scale . For instance if the song is in C major, C is the first note(I) and G is the fifth (V). Band in a box can display IIm-V7_I instead of Dm-G7-C. (a very popular chord progression).Most important chords are I,IV and V7 in a major tonality. Then IIm and VIm may be used to vary the accompaniement. In minor tonalities it is a bit more complex (I tell you later) .
Also observe simple songs if you cant get a ready for use Band in a box file of them .

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#250942 - 05/24/14 05:51 AM [Band-in-a-Box for Windows] Re: BIAB: Songwriting for Dummies [Re: TuneMonger]
Registered: 08/13/11
Posts: 1827
solidrock Offline
Expert

Registered: 08/13/11
Posts: 1827
You can also try Microsoft Songsmith, it use PG styles and saves to a midi file that you can open in BB, there is also a free Academic version.

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#250947 - 05/24/14 06:41 AM [Band-in-a-Box for Windows] Re: BIAB: Songwriting for Dummies [Re: TuneMonger]
Registered: 07/13/02
Posts: 2827
pghboemike Online   content
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Registered: 07/13/02
Posts: 2827
Originally Posted By: BeelzeBob
I have some melodies and lyrics in my head and need some chords for them so I can use them in BIAB. Anyone have any suggestions?


Musical Scale Finder Tool

How To Harmonize Melodies
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#250949 - 05/24/14 08:14 AM [Band-in-a-Box for Windows] Re: BIAB: Songwriting for Dummies [Re: TuneMonger]
Registered: 11/24/11
Posts: 99
Loc: Near Charlotte, NC
marty c Offline
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Registered: 11/24/11
Posts: 99
Loc: Near Charlotte, NC
Hi Solidrock,
Does BIAB recognize the chord progression that Songsmith created or do you need to use the ACW for this purpose?

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#250959 - 05/24/14 09:05 AM [Band-in-a-Box for Windows] Re: BIAB: Songwriting for Dummies [Re: titiclarinet]
Registered: 12/08/02
Posts: 6206
Loc: Chicago
MusicStudent Offline
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Loc: Chicago
Originally Posted By: titiclarinet
In C major and A minor there are no flats and sharps (except a G# often found in A minor).


There are actually 3 minor scales (excluding modes). Your G# in Am is the harmonic minor scale which is the same as the natural minor (no sharps or flats in C) except that the seventh degree is raised by one semitone (G#), making an augmented second between the sixth and seventh degrees. A nice sound by the way (listen to Summertime by Janice Joplin)

But never mind that, I am afraid the OP is over simplifying the point. Countless Melodies hide within the very same chord progressions. Otherwise, every I IV V would sound the same. So no simple answer (at least from me) on how you turn a melody into a chord progression. But that is a actually a good thing, cause a simple progression can be used to cover all those melodies. Start with an instrument (assuming you play and if you don't pick up a guitar and take a fell lessons on how to play simple chords), strum them as you sing the melody and let you ear tell you where to go.

A bit of similar discussion going on regarding this very topic:
http://forum.cockos.com/showthread.php?t=140607

My conclusion (and what do I know) -
There's no quick formula to circumvent experience. What you need is lot's familiarity with music theory and/or a lot of experience, and a real good ear.


Edited by jazzmandan (05/25/14 08:43 AM)
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#251011 - 05/24/14 05:24 PM [Band-in-a-Box for Windows] Re: BIAB: Songwriting for Dummies [Re: marty c]
Registered: 08/13/11
Posts: 1827
solidrock Offline
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Registered: 08/13/11
Posts: 1827
Originally Posted By: marty c
Hi Solidrock,
Does BIAB recognize the chord progression that Songsmith created or do you need to use the ACW for this purpose?


Microsoft Songsmith saves to a midi file that you can open in BB and you will get the chords.
You should be able to copy your BB midi styles to the Songsmith Styles Folder if you want extra or just do it in BB after.

Songsmith_Demo1.mid

Songsmith_Demo1_Vocal.wma




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#251036 - 05/24/14 10:42 PM [Band-in-a-Box for Windows] Re: BIAB: Songwriting for Dummies [Re: TuneMonger]
Registered: 02/20/10
Posts: 462
Loc: Maryland
TuneMonger Offline
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Registered: 02/20/10
Posts: 462
Loc: Maryland
Thanks to all for their ideas, I'll look at all of them for sure!

I have never had any luck with Songsmith or ACW. With both I usually get a different chord every measure when I know the song is (or can be) a very easy progression. Most of my stuff is blues based but not just I-IV-V. Many of the songs were done to backing tracks I found on-line, but I don't have access to the authors or know the chords to the backing track.

I probably need someone gifted enough to do it for me. I've tried to find people and have offered to pay them, somehow they never have the time.

This is a rough version of one song, if anyone is interested. I'm sure there are a lot of chords in it compared with most of mine. It's on youtube:

http://youtu.be/mlxWUXBpz8A

I've almost given up, but it seems a shame to when BIAB can do so much, and all it asks for is the chords!
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#251039 - 05/25/14 12:08 AM [Band-in-a-Box for Windows] Re: BIAB: Songwriting for Dummies [Re: TuneMonger]
Registered: 07/27/00
Posts: 109
Loc: TN
boydbob Offline
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Registered: 07/27/00
Posts: 109
Loc: TN
1. Pick out a style & tempo that seems to fit - you can change it later.

2. Set the key to 'C' and enter a 'C' chord in bar 1.

3. Press Play and start singing along.

4. If the 1st chord doesn't work, try a different key and select 'yes transpose'

5. Repeat 3 and 4 until you're at least close to the right key.

6. Now listen carefully to each bar to see if it needs a chord change.

If you do this, you will eventually be able to hear where changes need to be
and you'll be able to pick out the right chords pretty quickly.

In the meantime, there are sites online that can help you with basic music theory
which will speed up the process immensely.

Hope this helps.
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#251055 - 05/25/14 05:36 AM [Band-in-a-Box for Windows] Re: BIAB: Songwriting for Dummies [Re: TuneMonger]
Registered: 01/08/10
Posts: 1488
Loc: Schleswig-Holstein, Germany
GHinCH Offline
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Registered: 01/08/10
Posts: 1488
Loc: Schleswig-Holstein, Germany
The following approach helps me most of the times.

1. Write the melody.
2. Determine the last tone of the melody -- often it is the root of the key of the music. Let's assume "C".
3. Take the first note of the melody. Let's assume "E".
4. The most important basic chords in the key of "C" are C (C, E, G), F (F, A, C), and G (G, B, D). (These three chords contain all notes of the given major scale.)
5. Now the first chord is probably a C-chord.
6. Play the first measure using that chord. Does it sound ok.? If yes leave it that way for a start. If no, try one of the other chords and decide on the least unpleasing sound as ok for a start.
7. Repeat that with each subsequent measure.
8. Play the chord progression only -- listen to it carefully to figure out whether it is flowing or rough, too many changes (hectic) or too few (boring).
9. Get to know some theory about chords: Which tones are the color tones 4, 6, 7, 9.
10. Does it improve if you start a 3. again replacing some of the chords (for example C) by a C6 or C7?
(11. For further improvements you could change the chord mid-measure.)

This work is repetitive and needs ear training. You might start with an already existing simple song. Most children's songs are in that category. Write down the melody, invent the chords, listen and compare to existing examples of the available arrangements of the song.
(I'm sorry but I can only give examples to German songs: Alle meine Entchen; Fuchs, du hast die Gans gestohlen; Kuckuck, kuckuck ruft's aus dem Wald; Summ Summ Summ, Bienchen summ herum. Search for them on the internet, if they are unfamiliar to you they make a good start.)

Good luck.
Guido
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#251176 - 05/25/14 11:34 PM [Band-in-a-Box for Windows] Re: BIAB: Songwriting for Dummies [Re: TuneMonger]
Registered: 06/15/00
Posts: 2197
Loc: Sacramento CA
flatfoot Offline
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Registered: 06/15/00
Posts: 2197
Loc: Sacramento CA
.
You have asked a really big question. You can get some pretty good results with simple melodies and chords just by experimenting. The ability to write more complex melodies and apply a complete set of harmonic tools can take years to learn completely. Either way, BiaB is the best learning tool you can have, second only to a good teacher.

I have tried a number of other composing tools, songsmith among them. Some are good, some are easy, but I always come back to Biab. It will continue to be useful, even challenging, no matter how good you get. I dont think the effort of learning some other program will pay off in terms of making you better at music.

A hint: Look in your BiaB folder for a folder called "50 Songs." There is a god selection there for beginners to analyze and learn from.

Best of Luck!


.
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#251237 - 05/26/14 01:56 PM [Band-in-a-Box for Windows] Re: BIAB: Songwriting for Dummies [Re: TuneMonger]
Registered: 12/16/09
Posts: 401
Loc: Benoni, South Africa
CountryTrash Offline
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I generally find all my chords for the covers that I play on the internet ....just google for "<songname> chords tabs " .

Works for me!
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#251550 - 05/28/14 01:09 PM [Band-in-a-Box for Windows] Re: BIAB: Songwriting for Dummies [Re: TuneMonger]
Registered: 02/20/10
Posts: 462
Loc: Maryland
TuneMonger Offline
Journeyman

Registered: 02/20/10
Posts: 462
Loc: Maryland
Thanks again to all for so many good responses! I've got a lot to work with here, I'll report back after I've tried everything. I had a close friend who could come up with chords for melodies almost instantaneously but sadly, he's all but gone to the world now. Do things while you can, that's for sure.
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#539248 - 06/03/19 05:03 AM [Band-in-a-Box for Windows] Re: BIAB: Songwriting for Dummies [Re: marty c]
Registered: 08/16/18
Posts: 1
yeto Offline
Newbie

Registered: 08/16/18
Posts: 1
Originally Posted By: marty c
Hi Solidrock,
Does BIAB recognize the chord progression that Songsmith created or do you need to use the ACW for this purpose?


What is ACW?

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#539251 - 06/03/19 05:36 AM [Band-in-a-Box for Windows] Re: BIAB: Songwriting for Dummies [Re: TuneMonger]
Registered: 10/31/08
Posts: 15795
Loc: Australia
Noel96 Offline
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Registered: 10/31/08
Posts: 15795
Loc: Australia
Hi yeto,

Welcome to the forums.

It stands for Audio Chord Wizard and is a BIAB tool that helps analyse the chords of an audio recording.

If you go to YouTube and search for 'PG Music Inc Audio Chord Wizard', you'll find a clip that will show how it works.

Regards
Noel
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#539427 - 06/04/19 04:46 AM [Band-in-a-Box for Windows] Re: BIAB: Songwriting for Dummies [Re: TuneMonger]
Registered: 12/26/11
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Loc: Milano, Italy
LtKojak Offline
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Holy necro-threading, Batman!
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