I am making some Hip Hop beats, but I found difficult to bring some catching chord progressions that represents the feeling that I want them to have.

Is there any books that summarize the chords progression with their key signature alongside the feelings that it may produce?

  • 2
    No, and there can't be. And if there is, then it's not accurate. That's because there is no mapping between chord progressions and feelings. To many other things contribute to the emotional content of music besides the chord progression to the point that the same chord progression can be used to evoke pretty much any emotion. May 13 at 15:07
  • There are no books, and if there were, we wouldn't recommend any. Chord progressions alone do not and cannot imbue feelings. You could listen to sequences you feel invoke certain feelings, and emulate them...
    – Tim
    May 13 at 15:13
  • 1
    If only it were that simple! Or no, I'm glad it's not that simple, there would be no magic to it at all.
    – Creynders
    May 13 at 15:45
  • Since the same person can react differently to the same stimulus at different times it might be hard to get a foolproof system, but I would say collect a lot of data, plug it into a machine learning model and see what happens.
    – Emil
    May 14 at 6:39

1 Answer 1


There's no one book, especially no handy table that's like "This chord, plus that one, equals happy. This one equals sad." But there is basically the entire discipline of music theory, and there are hundreds of books on that. Music theory is basically about asking, "Why do musicians do what they do? Why do composers tend to put that G chord after that C chord? Why do they use that beat? Why did they pick that key?" And along the way, they hopefully also get to "and what does that do for the listeners? That moment sounds cool. Why? This part makes people cry. So does this other part. What do they have in common?"

The bad news is, to get to the point of these more advanced questions, you have to start with a lot of basic stuff like "what is a key," "what is a chord," on to "what is the dominant," "what is a cadence," and then stuff like "what is a surprise cadence" and "what are borrowed chords." And, while music theorists are increasingly asking all these questions about all kinds of music that people listen to and make, everywhere, some of those basic questions will deal more with stuff that sounds like simple hymns or Bach rather than hip-hop (although you'll start recognizing it everywhere, like the 4-part chorale motion in "Gangsta's Paradise").

All that to say: Study music theory. You'll have to start at the beginning, but before long you'll have some idea of which chords to choose and why.

  • Like several on this site - it won't be served to you on a plate, you'll just have to go out there and do some spadework! +1.
    – Tim
    May 14 at 8:25

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