Just going to say I don't have any experience with music/music theory so the way that I may not be right in the way that I describe my problem though I think it will be easy to understand.

Right now I play D4 A3 F4 D4 - B3 G3 D4 G3 - A3 B3 A3 D4 - A3 B3 A3 A3 in a loop, on a vibraphone with elements to back it up etc.; where each note is played at one-fourth of a second. I am now 1 minute 30 seconds into the song and I want to change the progression up, or maybe play at one-eighth of a second. The response I may receive will also help my understanding of a similar problem in the future, I hope.

Thanks in advance, and if you have any questions, eg. my describing, I will be pleased to answer.

EDIT : Sorry that I confused you, I play at 120 bpm each of the notes is on the beat.

closed as primarily opinion-based by jdjazz, Richard, David Bowling, Dom Nov 7 '18 at 20:21

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • can you tell us something of the style you are working in? I suspect this is some techno/electronic style, because your looping a 4 second sequence for 1:30. This could also be Minimalism. Whatever style, your development methods usually differ based on style. – Michael Curtis Nov 6 '18 at 15:12
  • Well... I try to add beats or sounds that sounds interesting and it has turned out to be a mix between a kalimba, accordion, some SFX and organ. Would it be easier if I posted my progress on like a mp3 file? – Dux Nov 6 '18 at 17:16
  • I think a sound file could be helpful – Michael Curtis Nov 6 '18 at 17:18
  • If you have things that I can improve, please let me know! drive.google.com/file/d/1zWDnYSTQxg0qY0MsXAzz6HMC8nVjUV0x/… – Dux Nov 6 '18 at 17:46

Let's analyse the chords you've outlined. (Note that the octave of the notes doesn't matter in terms of chord analysis)

  • DAFD spells out the notes of a D minor triad (D-F-A)
  • BGDG spells out a G major triad.
  • ABAD makes for an interesting situation. Using A as the root, you make Asus2sus4 (the point is its a sus chord of some kind, name isn't important). Using B as the root, it's either Bm7 or Bm7♭5. Either's believable.
  • ABAA is too simple for me to analyse as a chord, but it does have the same notes as the one before it, so let's call that the same thing.

So, it looks like there are some options on how to analyse the key of what you wrote.

  • It could be in the key of D minor. The notes in D minor are D-E-F-G-A-B♭-C.
  • It could also be in C major. C-D-E-F-G-A-B-C
  • It could also conceivably be in G major. G-A-B-C-D-E-F♯.

There are other options, but those are the most likely, in my opinion. The way to tell would be to:

  1. Listen to what you wrote, and try to determine what feels stable. Or just play the notes of each scale over the song and see what fits best.
  2. Looking at EVERYTHING YOU WROTE (all melody notes, all chord notes, etc.), try to find an F note. Is it an F♯? If so, the piece might be in more of a G major. If it has an F♮, maybe it's D minor, maybe C major.

The only way to really tell what key the piece is in is going to be to decide for yourself. It's important to know what key you're in, because that will help you narrow down some options for what to change up.

  • Dm is a possibility, but B can also be part of Dm. G maj. with F# doesn't work well, as the tune contains F nat.. C is feasible, but centring on D, D Dorian would be a better bet. That apart, OP isn't asking for harmonic analysis. – Tim Nov 6 '18 at 8:01

If this is an ostinato pattern (an unchanging repeating mini phrase), you could make a counterpoint melody above, possibly using a church or exotic scale mode that incorporates the pitches of the ostinato.

As you are playing four notes per second, and four sets of four notes, this can be called one 4/4 measure of sixteenth notes at metronome marking/quarter note equals 60. The metronome marking is a per minute scale, so the tempo 60 also refers to one beat per second. The division of one fourth of a quarter note is a sixteenth note. A 4/4 measure is a group of 4 quarter notes worth of time.

Besides a melodic counterpoint you can also add a rhythmic variation such as syncopation as an element of the counterpoint.

  • Sorry that I confused you, I play at 120 bpm each of the notes is on the beat – Dux Nov 6 '18 at 17:49
  • 1
    From the way the question is written, the term counterpoint may not be one OP is familiar with, the answer might be improved by a brief summary of the meaning. – Alex Y Nov 7 '18 at 3:10

Firstly, we don't generally count music in seconds, or 1/4 seconds per se. BPM is the accepted form. So, at 4 notes per second, your tune goes along at 240bpm. Quite rapid.

You ask about making the notes twice as quick/ half as long as the previous part. 240bpm stays, just play the notes twice as quickly. At this point, you'll need twice as many for each bar or measure - because you've decided that each bar originally will contain 4 notes, then there's a noticeable change every 4 notes. That's what dictates how long one bar needs to be.

So, the tempo does not go from 240 bpm to 480 bpm! There's no need. Just put twice as many notes in each bar - or leave some spaces, of combine longer and shorter notes to fill each box (bar/measure).


Your question asks...

how to develop or change the chord progression... I want to change the progression up...

While you may be considering changes to the chord progression - meaning literally changing the harmony - I also think you mean develop in a general sense using methods that wouldn't change the harmony. I suspect that, because you also mention trying rhythmic changes.

So you could try developing the chord progression itself. Something like Dm - G changed to Dm - D7 - G or a dozen other possibilities. Instead of listing a bunch of options based on theory, I would say just experiment and use you ears. (You can always describe your harmony with theory later.) But I'm not sure if chord changes are where you really want to go. Try some things. Keep them if you like it, or move on to other development options.

Maybe you can consider:

  • change your figuration, meaning instead of playing the broken chord pattern play all the chord tones together. You could start a new rhythmic theme with those chord hits.
  • change the instrumentation and register. so the bass part could become horns and the vibraphone part could move into piano in octave, or electric guitar with lots of reverb.
  • keep playing with the dynamics and it's natural to work that with instrumentation changes. I think you are already doing this. Near the end you lighten up and drop some instruments. How loud or quiet and you get?
  • adding another melody that fits the chords, the counterpoint @RichardBarder suggested, is also a great idea.
  • You can truncate or sustain part of the progression. For example, shift back and forth between the [GBD] and [ABD] and build up tension before going back to Dm [DFA], or holding the Dm for double the time might change the mood.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.