If you look at the pic above closely you can see its vanishing point. The vanishing point in a piece of art is where everything would vanish if you kept looking in that same direction. It goes as far as the eye can see.

The vanishing point in the picture by Alex Wolfe is right down the middle of the picture. Its where everything stems from. Notice that everything goes in that direction, all leading to that point at the end of the road underneath and in between the green traffic lights.

My point is that… thats where everything starts. The artist would figure where exactly he or she wants the vanishing point to be. Once it is established, it then becomes the (starting point) for the drawing. Next time you see a landscape pic or piece of art, see if you can find the vanishing point.

The reason I wrote that is because its the same when you write a song. You look at the end point (vanishing point) so that you can write your song from beginning to end. If you dont know where it will end or what the end result will sound like its okay. You can figure it out later but you do want your starting point.

Your starting point in this case can be your musical key of choice. Below are the keys of Ab Major and F Minor. So that would be a starting point.

Next, you figure out what kind of sound or melody will be in the song. Is it sad or is it happy, strange, uplifting, melancholic?

If its a really sad melody you could start with F Minor and if you want something brighter you can go with Ab Major. Knowing these things gives you your…starting point.

You’ve got to start somewhere so that you can go somewhere. Then when you have started, you will eventually have to end somewhere (vanishing point), or simply where the song ends.

I hope my analogy has helped you a bit. If not and you are all confused don’t worry, here it is in simpler terms.

When you write a song, the more you know your stuff, the better your song can be. 

 

Ab Major

The Notes in the Ab Major Scale are as follows:

Ab Bb C Db Eb F G

Progression Examples:

  1. Abmaj7 Dbmaj7 Abmaj7 Eb7
  2. Ab Bbm7 Eb7
  3. Bb5 Eb5 Ab5
  4. Ab Fm Eb7 Ab
  5. Ab Fm Db Eb7
  6. Ab Eb Ab Db
  7. Abmaj7 Db Eb Fm Cm Eb7
  8. Ab Db Gdim Cm Fm Bbm7 Eb7

All Flat keys start on the black keys on a piano. 

Listening examples progressions 1-8 in order. Some progressions may be in odd meters. 

 

Frédéric Chopin – Impromptu No. 1 in A flat major, Op. 29

Franz Schubert – Impromptu op. 90 no.4 in A flat Major

 

Assignment:

Learn and play progression number 8 in arpeggiated chords. (one note at a time.)

 

F Minor

The Notes in the F Minor Scale are as follows:

F G Ab Bb C Db Eb

Progression Examples:

  1. Fm Dbmaj7
  2. Fm Bbm Cm
  3. Fm Dbmaj7 Eb7
  4. Fm Gdim Cm
  5. F5 C5 D5 C5 G5 C5
  6. Fm Cm Cm Fm
  7. Gdim Cm Fm
  8. Fm Bbm Eb Ab Db Gdim Cm7

This key is the key of one of  Beethoven’s most widely known Sonatas. 

Listening examples. Some progressions are definitely in odd meter. See if you can figure which one is in 11/8 time.

 

Symphony No. 1Dmitri Shostakovich Check out this video and listen to the cool bassoon and trumpet intro that starts (starting point) this piece off. Check out the haunting melody at 30:12. Really cool stuff. Lastly try and listen from 31:53 to the finale so you can get a glimpse of what can be achieved from a single key. 

Piano Sonata No. 23, Op. 57 (Appassionata) – Ludwig van Beethoven

Ballade No. 4, Op. 52 – Frédéric Chopin

 

Assignment:

Listen to Symphony No. 1 and come up with a rhythmic motive from it to use for the progressions. For example: pick a part of the piece that you like the most. Even if you don’t really like this type of music you should try and do this exercise as your guitar playing will sound totally different from what you hear. Once you have the part, mimic the rhythm or the melody. Then come up with your own rhythm or melody and record it.

Heres a hint: Quarter note, 8th note triplet and a half note. That gives you a 4/4 time motive. Use it to play your progression, melody or solo.

Heres another one: 3 8th notes and a rest, repeat. Thats in 4/4 time as well.

Finally: Half note, 2 8th notes and a quarter note.

Been listening to the Symphony in the background as I write this. Try and do the same and jot down so rhythmic motives. You will soon begin to see that its pretty much limitless when you write music.

 

 

 

Keep it simple and Ill talk to you soon…