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#1 2011-07-21 21:04:52

mcclatch
Junior Member
From: Northern Ireland
Registered: 2010-12-21
Posts: 22

Recognising chords played in a song

Hi all, I was just wondering how people are able to tell which chords are played in a song just by listening to it.

Is there any specific technique?

Thanks, Nathan

Last edited by mcclatch (2011-07-21 21:09:07)


"just keep strumming, just keep strumming, just keep strumming, strummming, strummming"

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#2 2011-07-21 23:45:50

jerome.oneil
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From: Bellevue, WA
Registered: 2006-06-15
Posts: 3002
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Re: Recognising chords played in a song

Practice and familiarity with some basic theory.  Your ear will eventually tell you the tonality (major, minor, etc...) of a chord.  A bit of fiddling on the fretboard will tell you the key.  After that, if you're familiar with the IV and V of that key, you can pretty much figure out the rest.


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#3 2011-07-22 06:27:20

Baldguitardude
El Modarino
From: Las Vegas
Registered: 2010-12-09
Posts: 1188
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Re: Recognising chords played in a song

Ear training and basic music theory. For instance, most chords have tonic (I) to subdominant (IV) to dominant (V) motion of some form or another. There are tons of substitute chords that can represent tonics, subdominants and dominants....that's where the ear training and theory come in to play. smile

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#4 2011-07-22 09:35:36

tubatooter1940
Retired Beach Bar Entertainer
From: Alabama Gulf Coast
Registered: 2008-06-24
Posts: 1813
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Re: Recognising chords played in a song

Starting out in my old days, I needed to learn new songs and had only a 45 RPM record as my source. Super slow going at first. I started the record and tried to find the very first note on my guitar (after I tuned my guitar to the record). Then the second note in the song and so on.
When it came to chords, I would find the tonic ( C for a C chord).
I would then try a C major chord with the record. If that was wrong, I'd go down the list of C minor, C7, C major 7, C+ (augmented), C dim etc... until I found one that sounded right.
It took me a week of nights after work to learn "Crying" by Roy Orbison. I wrote the lyrics big enough to read in a dimly lit bar room and jotted the chords in red ink above the syllable of the word where they changed. Practice allowed me to do this faster as years went by.
It was slow but the only way.
These days most lyrics and chords can be copied and pasted from a website and then printed out in any size font. You have to sing and play them along with the U-Tube video to see if they are correct.


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#5 2011-07-22 12:29:24

mcclatch
Junior Member
From: Northern Ireland
Registered: 2010-12-21
Posts: 22

Re: Recognising chords played in a song

Thanks guys, could someone explain what this sonic, subdominant, and dominant are?

I havnt the slightest clue about music theory!

Thanks again, Nathan


"just keep strumming, just keep strumming, just keep strumming, strummming, strummming"

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#6 2011-07-22 15:15:17

Baldguitardude
El Modarino
From: Las Vegas
Registered: 2010-12-09
Posts: 1188
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Re: Recognising chords played in a song

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#7 2011-07-22 22:17:08

mcclatch
Junior Member
From: Northern Ireland
Registered: 2010-12-21
Posts: 22

Re: Recognising chords played in a song

Baldguitardude wrote:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tonic_(music)

Thanks for that man....but i couldnt understand a word of it!

Id like to know this, but thats a bit complicated! Is there an easier way of explaining it?

Bearing in mind i have NO music theory knowledge.

I appreciate the effort, i really do, but am utterly clueless...

Regards, Nathan


"just keep strumming, just keep strumming, just keep strumming, strummming, strummming"

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#8 2011-07-23 08:01:27

jerome.oneil
Moderator
From: Bellevue, WA
Registered: 2006-06-15
Posts: 3002
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Re: Recognising chords played in a song

If you can play a major scale, start there.  Doesn't matter which one.  The first note of that scale will have many names.  You will hear it called the root, the tonic, the I, but its the same thing.  Play that note.  Then play that major chord.

Play the scale to the fourth note.  It will also have many names.  You may hear it called the sub-dominant or the IV.   Play that note.  Then play that major chord.

Play the scale to the fifth note.  It will have many names too, like dominant, or the V.  Play that note, then likewise play that major chord.

You have just figured out how to play a rudimentary version of most of what you hear on the radio.   If you can figure out what key it's in by fiddling on the fretboard, you can probably figure the rest of the chords out without too much trouble.

If you can't play a major scale, check in with the stickied posts in this forum for some guidance.


Someday we'll win this thing...

www.aclosesecond.com

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#9 2011-07-24 12:05:15

mcclatch
Junior Member
From: Northern Ireland
Registered: 2010-12-21
Posts: 22

Re: Recognising chords played in a song

Ok thanks, that sounds better! Cheers


"just keep strumming, just keep strumming, just keep strumming, strummming, strummming"

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#10 2011-11-09 07:28:05

ndrewoods
Member
Registered: 2011-07-05
Posts: 25

Re: Recognising chords played in a song

tubatooter1940 wrote:

Starting out in my old days, I needed to learn new songs and had only a 45 RPM record as my source. Super slow going at first. I started the record and tried to find the very first note on my guitar lesson (after I tuned my guitar to the record). Then the second note in the song and so on.
When it came to chords, I would find the tonic ( C for a C chord).
I would then try a C major chord with the record. If that was wrong, I'd go down the list of C minor, C7, C major 7, C+ (augmented), C dim etc... until I found one that sounded right.
It took me a week of nights after work to learn "Crying" by Roy Orbison. I wrote the lyrics big enough to read in a dimly lit bar room and jotted the chords in red ink above the syllable of the word where they changed. Practice allowed me to do this faster as years went by.
It was slow but the only way.
These days most lyrics and chords can be copied and pasted from a website and then printed out in any size font. You have to sing and play them along with the U-Tube video to see if they are correct.

I too do this back in the days. Well the process that tubatooter replied here is called transcribing. I know it won't be sound better than what was advised here but that is how it is done, well basically. Listen with your complete attention to the whole piece or song. Listen to it several times, without stopping it. Go back, and listen to each individual phrase. Sing the melody and choose a guitar chord that you think is appropriate for the song. Then use chord progression to determine all the chords in one song. I hope it helps even though I dropped some technical terms.

Last edited by ndrewoods (2011-11-13 07:28:35)

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