I'm programmatically trying to create a song. If I have a 4 chord progression that i'm trying to fit into 3 bars, what rules of thumb should i be following to make it sound not terrible?

If we have a example scenario that I'm in the key of C, and my chord progression is I–V–vi–IV. So that leaves us with the chords of C–G–Am–F. What I would do is just shorten the bar the minor chord is in and leave all the major chords longer. Is this a good rule to follow? Will this be ok for other scales, like minor scales?

Sorry if i'm not using the correct terminology, my music theory knowledge is lacking.

1 Answer 1


Chords conventionally change on the bar, on the half bar or on the beat. Assuming we're in 4/4 time, you could just choose one pair of chords to fill half-a-bar each instead of a full bar. No reason to treat minor chords any less favourably than major ones!

  • So in saying that, would my 3 bar phrase be | I - V | vi - IV | I - V |? What would the next 3 bars look like? | vi - IV | I - V |? And if i wanted to round off a nice 8 bar section of song, i'd create a new phrase for the last two bars so that it completes the progression with | V | IV?
    – Carlo Cruz
    Commented Apr 13, 2017 at 14:04
  • You could do that. My suggestion was rather to do |I - V| vi | IV |. Or | I | V | vi -IV |. It's traditional to end on V or I, depending on whether you're next going to 'go round again' or end. But you don't HAVE to.
    – Laurence
    Commented Apr 13, 2017 at 14:14

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