Some kind of experiment with chords (N163)

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snowolf
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Some kind of experiment with chords (N163)

Postby snowolf » Wed Aug 19, 2015 12:43 pm

A few weeks ago, I discovered hooktheory and spent some times playing with the hookpad thing. I have no knowledge about chord progression so I just put some chords together until it sounds alright to me.
I choosed N163 because it's the only chip (with VRC7, but I can't into custom patches) that allowed me to play to add both chords and an echoed lead at the same time without arps. The result is a little distorted and the track is hissing at some parts because of the large amount of channels.

If anyone knows a good place where I could find some informations about music theory, I would gladly document myself. ;)
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Chord experiment.ftm
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Pencildragon
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Re: Some kind of experiment with chords (N163)

Postby Pencildragon » Wed Aug 19, 2015 7:29 pm

While I don't feel I'm particularly the best at using specifically Famitracker, music theory is one of my places I shine ;)
So, the very, very first thing I would recommend learning about is scales. Learn how scales work and you can do almost anything. Chords are based off scales, chord progressions can be based off scales, entire songs are based off scales. But honestly, I would say every aspect of music theory is very important and the more you can learn the better, never stop trying to learn more about music theory and how sound works. Here's some links:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Music_theory
http://openmusictheory.com/
http://www.musictheory.net/
http://teoria.com/
http://tobyrush.com/theorypages/index.html
http://www.daveconservatoire.org/
Hopefully at least one or two of those are helpful.

Now specifically about chords, let's break down your ftm to help with this. The chords in frame 00 are:
a minor
C Major 9
F Major
d minor 7(or possibly F Major 6)
So why are they those and what do they mean? Well, this frame appears to be in the key of a minor, which has a key signature of no sharps(also no flat notes, but Famitracker only shows sharp notes). A flat(b) or sharp(#) changes what note any given note of a scale is. For a minor the scale is: A - B - C - D - E - F - G - A. Notice there are 8 notes, A being the first and last. However, if you flat the B you then have B flat(written as Bb). Bb is also the exact same note as A#. That is because there are 5 b/# notes within any given scale as well. It's easier to understand if you look at a piano:
Image
(please excuse the poorly drawn piano, better pictures exist on the internet)
Anyways, back to your chords. The first one is a minor. That is because Major and minor scales can also be broken down into numbers. 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 -5 - 6 -7 - 8. Corresponding to the notes. An a minor chord in the key of a minor is a first(1), third(3) and fifth(5) with an optional octave(8). A, C, E, A = 1, 3, 5, 8. So your notes from the N163 channels are: A-2, A-3, C-4, E-4. 1, 8, 3, 5. It doesn't matter what order those notes appear in, they're the same chord: a minor.

Now the first chord is the chord that the frame is in the key of, so it's notes correspond to its scale. But how do you have a C Major 9 chord inside a minor? Well, C Major is what is known as the relative Major of a minor. This means they use the exact same notes in their scale, but in a different order. C Major is: C - D - E - F - G - A - B - C. Again, 8 notes, the same 8 notes, but in a different order. C Major 9 in the key of C Major is 1, 3, 5, 2 or C, E, G, D. Notice how for both minor and Major chords 1, 3, 5 is used. That is known as a triad, which is just three common notes which make a chord no matter what key you are in, no matter if it is Major or minor. Adding in the ninth note in the scale(which is the same note as the second note) makes it a 9 chord. The notes you used are: C-3, G-3, D-4, E-4. C, G, D, E = 1, 5, 2(9), 3 = C Major 9. But wait, we're in the key of a minor right? Well, no problem. The chord is still a C Major 9, because it uses notes in the C Major scale. It's just a happy coincidence that all music uses the same 12 notes(counting the flats/sharps) therefore any chord is possible in any key ;) But for pedantry, in a minor to make a C Major 9 you use the notes 3, 5, 7, 4(11). Again, doesn't matter what order the notes are in, they're the same chord.

So following the same process as the first two chords, F Major uses the F Major scale(F - G - A - Bb - C - D - E - F) and d minor 7 uses the d minor scale(D - E - F - G - A - Bb - C -D) which is also the F Major scale in a different order(F Major being the relative Major to d minor). F Major = 1, 3, 5, 8. You used F-2, A-3, C-4, F-4 = 1, 3, 5, 8. d minor 7 = 1, 3, 5, 7(or 6, 1, 3, 5 in the relative Major of F). You used D-3, A-3, F-4, C-4 = 1, 3, 5, 7(6, 1, 3, 5 in F Major). Again, all of these notes can be changed to fit into the a minor scale(F Major = 6, 1, 3, 12 - d minor 7 = 4, 6, 8, 3).

Now how does this all relate to a minor and its scale? Well, you used a minor, C Major 9, F Major and d minor 7. a, C, F, d. Oooooor 1, 3, 6, 4. In chord theory(there's probably a better name for it than that) that is written as i, III^9, VI, iv^7(it's really just roman numerals, don't let that throw you off). And voilà! Scales can be used to make chord progressions ;)

I'm not the best at explaining things and that was a giant wall of text, so if you don't understand anything feel free to ask and I will gladly answer to the best of my ability!

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snowolf
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Re: Some kind of experiment with chords (N163)

Postby snowolf » Wed Aug 19, 2015 10:35 pm

Wow, that's impressive! Thank you for sharing your knowledge!

So let's see if I got this right:

A minor scale is A - B - C - D - E - F - G - A

F at A minor scale is 6, 1, 3, 12
So it should be like this F#3 - A#3 - C#3 - E#4

dm7 at A minor scale is 4, 6, 8, 3
So there we have D#3 - F#3 - A#4 - C#3

Can I also change the first chord to a C major one, tweak the lead for that part a little and keep every other chords the same as in the first .ftm?
Also, can I choose any octave I want for each notes of the chord? (Like this for example: D#3 - F#3 - A#4 - C#3 --> D#2 - F#3 - A#4 - C#3).

I'm going to study your links more deeply in the next few days. :D
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Pencildragon
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Re: Some kind of experiment with chords (N163)

Postby Pencildragon » Wed Aug 19, 2015 11:14 pm

Wow, that's impressive! Thank you for sharing your knowledge!

So let's see if I got this right:

A minor scale is A - B - C - D - E - F - G - A

Yep, a minor(emphasis on the lower case a, that's the note I'm referring to- not the article "a") is A to A, no flats/sharps.

F at A minor scale is 6, 1, 3, 12
So it should be like this F#3 - A#3 - C#3 - E#4

No no no, an F Major chord doesn't have F# in it. Nor does it have any sharps in it. It would be F, A, C, E(specifically that's an F Major 7 chord). Unless you meant those # signs as the octave it's in, in which case yep that's an F Major 7 chord!

dm7 at A minor scale is 4, 6, 8, 3
So there we have D#3 - F#3 - A#4 - C#3

Again, no sharps unless you meant those # signs as what octave they're in, otherwise yep again! But keep in mind like I said, you can also relate those chords back to their own root scales which is sometime easier. You'll learn to recognize intervals between notes and get a feel for when certain chords are being used.

Can I also change the first chord to a C major one, tweak the lead for that part a little and keep every other chords the same as in the first .ftm?
Also, can I choose any octave I want for each notes of the chord? (Like this for example: D#3 - F#3 - A#4 - C#3 --> D#2 - F#3 - A#4 - C#3).

I'm going to study your links more deeply in the next few days. :D

Personally, I'd keep the first chord a minor, songs typically start on the root chord of their key- though not always. They also almost always end on either the root note chord, or the last chord in the progression before it works itself back to the root chord. Ending on other chords is also not unheard of, but when done wrong it can leave people's ears "hanging." Like they're waiting for it to "resolve" and it just sounds unfinished.

I noticed in your first ftm that later on(around when the drums come in) you pretty much did a key change and used some C#'s and F#'s, which is completely okay. Pieces can change key any number of times, in fact I've played a piece(back in high school band) that changed key literally every measure. Composers can also use accidentals(which is simply using a note from another key inside the current key, such as using F# inside of an a minor based piece), but when done wrong can lead to a lot of clashing. Also, don't feel like your melody has to only play notes that match the chords, when the melody plays a note not present in the chord it can change the chord- which again is completely okay.

And yes you can have the notes in any octave you wish, that's simply called "inversions" which isn't really important to know at the moment, but I'm sure you'll learn about it later on. Notes in a chord can be in any octave and they'll still make the same chord(it might sound different, because it's a different musical context, but it'll be the same chord).

Basically, make those changes if it sounds better to you. But there's no wrong answer to it. That's one of the great things about music, understanding why something works in theory is important because it can help to make better decisions, but if it sounds good then it sounds good no matter what the reason- simple as that. Music theory in a way has "rules." And breaking those rules willy-nilly sounds as silly as you might think, but when you know how and when to break the rules then break them. Most non-theory-trained musicians discover this the opposite way, they start by breaking the rules(because they have no idea what music theory even is therefore have no rules) to make awesome sounding stuff then discovering that sometimes when they do certain things it just doesn't sound good. Neither way is better than the other imo, if it sounds good then it sounds good.

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ollaxe
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Re: Some kind of experiment with chords (N163)

Postby ollaxe » Sat Aug 22, 2015 11:37 am

This sounds really nice! Only thing is that you should learn how to use the "wave position" setting for the N163. You can read about this in the wiki.
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