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(hooktheory)   Guy analyzes the chords of 1300 popular songs for patterns. This is what he found   (blog.hooktheory.com) divider line 120
    More: Interesting, popular songs, GarageBand, chord progression, major chords, instrumentation  
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16295 clicks; posted to Geek » on 13 Jun 2012 at 8:17 PM (2 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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ZAZ [TotalFark]
2012-06-13 05:22:14 PM  
Put this data into a state transition matrix and let the computer play. Call it Markov Music. Cheap top 40 hits.
 
2012-06-13 05:33:25 PM  
Looks like he discovered the ubiquity of the I - IV - V chord progression in popular music.

Alert the media.
 
2012-06-13 06:13:16 PM  

gilgigamesh: Looks like he discovered the ubiquity of the I - IV - V chord progression in popular music.

Alert the media.


This. That's precisely what I would have expected to find. Except I wouldn't have even bothered to do that.
 
2012-06-13 06:16:08 PM  
ABACAB?
 
2012-06-13 08:00:03 PM  
I actually like the site, except most of the artists/songs seem to just be what happens to be popular now. If he expands the data base it could be useful.
 
2012-06-13 08:15:09 PM  

ZZ9 Plural Z Alpha: I actually like the site, except most of the artists/songs seem to just be what happens to be popular now. If he expands the data base it could be useful.


Add in The Police. Andy Summers instantly farks everything up.
 
2012-06-13 08:16:34 PM  
PLAY STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN BACKWARDS.
 
2012-06-13 08:19:06 PM  

Godscrack: PLAY STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN BACKWARDS.


It doesn't even have Stairway forwards.
 
2012-06-13 08:21:01 PM  
This is why Weird Al has one of the easiest jobs in the world.
 
2012-06-13 08:21:06 PM  
I mostly play in M - Q - S chords
 
2012-06-13 08:24:16 PM  
All those "oontz oontz oontz" songs have to fark with the data a little bit, don't they?
 
2012-06-13 08:30:39 PM  
But where is the drop?!?!
 
2012-06-13 08:37:12 PM  

I Have The Touch of a Shocked Monkey: All those "oontz oontz oontz" songs have to fark with the data a little bit, don't they?


GET LOOSE!

/I play this at work when I get frustrated, it always makes me happy.
 
2012-06-13 08:39:44 PM  
George Harrison?
 
2012-06-13 08:40:19 PM  
I wrote a version of Nirvana's Rape Me that went like this:

I only know three chords, ohhhhh
I only know three chords, ohhhhh
I only know three chords, ohhhhh
I only know three chords....

You can also play like 12 other Nirvana songs on the same chord structure.
 
2012-06-13 08:46:40 PM  
You'll notice "vagina" was nowhere on the list of things he found.
 
2012-06-13 08:48:16 PM  
As an extremely mediocre guitar player I am shocked by this revelation!
 
2012-06-13 08:49:25 PM  
This should about cover it
 
2012-06-13 08:51:46 PM  
You know...for songs...

onlineguitar.info
 
2012-06-13 08:53:44 PM  

nekom: gilgigamesh: Looks like he discovered the ubiquity of the I - IV - V chord progression in popular music.

Alert the media.

This. That's precisely what I would have expected to find. Except I wouldn't have even bothered to do that.


No shiat. Isn't this like....first year music theory?

Although I was a little surprised to see the lack of recurrence of the keyed chord.....
 
2012-06-13 08:54:42 PM  
Someone should tell The Axis of Awesome
 
2012-06-13 08:55:56 PM  
This does a much funnier job of showing the same thing
 
2012-06-13 08:57:55 PM  

Summoner101: This should about cover it


*shakes tiny fist*
 
2012-06-13 08:58:55 PM  

Summoner101: This should about cover it


To be fair not all those have songs the same progression, some just have similar sounding progressions.
 
2012-06-13 09:09:54 PM  

ZZ9 Plural Z Alpha: To be fair not all those have songs the same progression, some just have similar sounding progressions.


Some are just transposed from whatever key they were in to the key being used and it works out.
 
2012-06-13 09:10:12 PM  

ZZ9 Plural Z Alpha: Summoner101: This should about cover it

To be fair not all those have songs the same progression, some just have similar sounding progressions.


To be even fairer, even the same song while mainly just changing the tempo, mainly because the instruments are obviously different but the progressions are intact, can completely change the mood of the song.
 
2012-06-13 09:12:32 PM  
I covered this in 6th-8th grade music theory with my students.
 
2012-06-13 09:15:45 PM  
Thank you, analyst, for repeating the work that music theorists got to long, long ago. Maybe you should learn about it, so you don't have to reinvent the wheel again.

Lesson 1:

cloud.freehandmusic.netdna-cdn.com
 
2012-06-13 09:16:30 PM  

Summoner101: To be even fairer, even the same song while mainly just changing the tempo, mainly because the instruments are obviously different but the progressions are intact, can completely change the mood of the song.


And another example using the same song
 
2012-06-13 09:19:24 PM  
After spending 15 seconds on a guitar just now, I find that singing in C is easy and fun.

And singing in A is, like, work.

Also, barred F is easier to do than open A because I have big fingers.

But that's just me.
 
2012-06-13 09:32:17 PM  

emonk: After spending 15 seconds on a guitar just now, I find that singing in C is easy and fun.

And singing in A is, like, work.

Also, barred F is easier to do than open A because I have big fingers.

But that's just me.


I can't bar a chord to save my life. Something farked up in my hands...I do NOT have the grip strength.

If I hold a wrench for more than about 3 minutes, I end up damn near in tears from the cramping.

Any fark MD's care to tell me what's wrong with me?
 
2012-06-13 09:37:34 PM  

NIXON YOU DOLT!!!!!: If I hold a wrench for more than about 3 minutes, I end up damn near in tears from the cramping.


Well, It is difficult to play bar chords on a wrench.
 
2012-06-13 09:40:41 PM  

gilgigamesh: Looks like he discovered the ubiquity of the I - IV - V chord progression in popular music.

Alert the media.


Discovered? Quantified.
 
2012-06-13 09:44:11 PM  

NIXON YOU DOLT!!!!!: emonk: After spending 15 seconds on a guitar just now, I find that singing in C is easy and fun.

And singing in A is, like, work.

Also, barred F is easier to do than open A because I have big fingers.

But that's just me.

I can't bar a chord to save my life. Something farked up in my hands...I do NOT have the grip strength.

If I hold a wrench for more than about 3 minutes, I end up damn near in tears from the cramping.

Any fark MD's care to tell me what's wrong with me?


Too much fapping?

Jk

Is it in the hands/fingers or the wrist.... The pain I mean?

If wrist, could be carpo tunnel
 
2012-06-13 10:02:58 PM  

NIXON YOU DOLT!!!!!:
I can't bar a chord to save my life. Something farked up in my hands...I do NOT have the grip strength.


Assuming that there's nothing physically torn up in your hand, wrist or arm, this might help:

Link

When I started playing everthing hurt. Mostly my back and shoulders.
 
2012-06-13 10:04:49 PM  
 
2012-06-13 10:09:06 PM  
The default key is the most common, as well as the major chords, followed by the minor chords. Who'd of thunk?
 
2012-06-13 10:20:42 PM  
let me guess...I IV V.

also 12 bars
 
2012-06-13 10:35:28 PM  
Hey guys. I'm the guy that did the analysis.

I know this stuff obviously isn't news to anyone who knows music theory. This was meant to be an introduction. There's obviously a lot that can be done, and I'll be looking at more interesting relationships between chords soon.

It may be obvious to those of us with training, but I think your average guitar player might have trouble explaining why A minor chords are more common than A major chords in songs written in C. If you've ever read the forums of people asking questions on guitar forums, you're probably well aware that this is true.

I also have a feeling most people wouldn't know that if they use a iii chord in their song, that they should probably use a IV or a vi next.

If you've got any suggestions for future things to look at in the data, I'm definitely interested in hearing what you've got to say.
 
2012-06-13 10:42:10 PM  
A. Good country key.

/Chicken wire?
 
2012-06-13 10:43:02 PM  
C major is the best key because you don't have to worry about all those black keys on the keyboard.
 
2012-06-13 10:47:30 PM  

dc999: Hey guys. I'm the guy that did the analysis.

I know this stuff obviously isn't news to anyone who knows music theory. This was meant to be an introduction. There's obviously a lot that can be done, and I'll be looking at more interesting relationships between chords soon.

It may be obvious to those of us with training, but I think your average guitar player might have trouble explaining why A minor chords are more common than A major chords in songs written in C. If you've ever read the forums of people asking questions on guitar forums, you're probably well aware that this is true.

I also have a feeling most people wouldn't know that if they use a iii chord in their song, that they should probably use a IV or a vi next.

If you've got any suggestions for future things to look at in the data, I'm definitely interested in hearing what you've got to say.


I think you should resolve the issue of the 7th chords. Why they are used the way they are and what in them makes them that way.
 
2012-06-13 10:49:33 PM  
I think I'd rather see an analysis of the edge cases in your data than lists of common chords. What are the hairy oddballs, and why do they work, and are they all from Andy Summers or can we blame Elvis Costello for a few of them? Also, I'd like to see something besides harmonic analysis. There's a lot of diversity in pop music, really, but it's not in the harmonies ... this ain't Ravel.

/ Really? Music theory is what pulls me out of lurking???
// Or do I just miss the slashies?
 
2012-06-13 10:53:10 PM  

ModernLuddite: C major is the best key because you don't have to worry about all those black keys on the keyboard.


It could be a coincidence that a lot of my favorite stuff to play is in a minor.

I don't mind anything between B-flat and A major. Things get awkward (read: require more work) outside of that range, to the point where it's sometimes useful to mark the sharps and flats with a pencil.
 
2012-06-13 10:54:51 PM  
Although I appreciate him going through the effort to quantify this, at the end I'm still left asking "So what?" Along the way he suggests songwriting 'tips' based on the data. For instance: "If you write a song in C with an E minor in it, you should probably think very hard if you want to put a chord that is anything other than an A minor chord or an F major chord."

I object to this. OK, yeah, maybe it's more common to go from Em to Am rather than to A, but I shouldn't have to construct an academic argument for playing Em-A. I should just play it if it sounds 'right' within the context of what I'm writing. It sure seems to be antithetical to the qualitative emotional and creative process of songwriting to rely on heartless statistics. Just go with what fits your vision. The music world will be better because of it.
 
2012-06-13 11:10:37 PM  
Stick with what works, I guess. Check out these two choruses:

Katy Perry - California Gurls

Ke$ha - Tik Tok
 
2012-06-13 11:13:34 PM  

rmcooper4:

I object to this. OK, yeah, maybe it's more common to go from Em to Am rather than to A, but I shouldn't have to construct an academic argument for playing Em-A. I should just play it if it sounds 'right' within the context of what I'm writing.


I guess I would say it's not necessarily about making an academic argument so much as it is having an idea about what is more likely to work. If you just try random combinations until you get something that sounds good, you're going to be going at it a long time, and when you finally get something that sounds good, you're likely to be reinventing the wheel.

None of these things are new. People have been studying music for a long time. Breaking rules is great, but as they say, you should learn the rules before you can break em.
 
2012-06-13 11:15:55 PM  

dc999:
If you've got any suggestions for future things to look at in the data, I'm definitely interested in hearing what you've got to say.


It would be interesting to either search or compare songs based on progressions. For example, what songs in the database are all I-IV-V-I.

Maybe even tie in the Billboard chart data.

Also, in your database, the band "The Eagles" should just be "Eagles."
 
2012-06-13 11:19:21 PM  
content8.flixster.com
D minor is the saddest of all keys


/lick my lovepump
 
2012-06-13 11:19:53 PM  
And great work, dc999, by the way. I should have mentioned that first.
 
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