MUSIC THEORY FOR PRODUCERS
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Today we will practice what we have learned about intervals and chords by building a few triads and 7th chords and also creating a chord progression.

Let’s begin by building a Dm7 chord:

dm7

The Dm7 chord is an example of a minor 7th chord (a minor triad plus a minor 7th).

Remember, the chord formula for a minor 7th chord is 1-b3-5-b7, where 1 is the root, b3 is its minor 3rd, 5 is the perfect fifth and b7 is the minor 7th.

So, Dm7 will have D as the root, F as D’s minor 3rd, A as its perfect 5th and C is D’s minor 7th.

With music notation:

dm7

Now, let’s build an Fmaj7 chord:

fmaj7

Fmaj7 is an example of a major 7th chord (a major triad plus a major 7th).

The chord formula for a major 7th chord is 1-3-5-7 where 1 is the root, 3 is its major 3rd, 5 is its perfect 5th and 7 is its major 7th.

Notice that instead of placing the major 7th (E) in the high end, I built the chord with E as the lowest note. It is a type of chord inversion. Actually, you can begin a chord with any of its notes, whether it is the root, 3rd, 5th or 7th. We will cover chord inversions in future lessons.

If you’re uncomfortable with finding any of these intervals, please check our previous lessons.

With music notation:

fmaj7

Finally, let’s build a G7 chord:

g7

G7 is an example of a dominant 7th chord ( a major triad plus a minor 7th).

The chord formula for a dominant 7th chord is 1-3-5-b7 where 1 is the root, 3 is its major 3rd, 5 is its perfect 5th and b7 is the root’s minor 7th.

Notice that again, the chord is inverted so it can be easier to play.

With music notation:

g7

Now let’s create a chord progression using these chords:

progr

Notice that there are four bars. The 4/4 time signature indicates that each bar has four beats and each beat is represented by a quarter note (we will learn about time signatures in future lessons).

So, the idea now is to play the first chord (Dm7) on the first beat of bar 1, then play Fmaj7 on the first beat or bar 2, G7 on the first beat of bar 3 and finally Dm7 again on the first beat of bar 4. You can keep holding each chord for 4 beats.

For this exercise, you will play all the roots with the left hand and play the remaining notes with the right hand. It will be something like this:

 

                                                                    Dm7

dm7again

 

                                                                     Fmaj7

fmaj7again

 

                                                                     G7

g7again

Use the 1-3-5 fingering for the right hand.

It can be tricky in the beginning, so if you’re not being able to move from one chord to the next one, try to break down the exercise into little pieces. Start by playing only bar 1 over and over until you feel comfortable (use a metronome or a low tempo beat). Then play bar 1 and 2 in a loop. After that, play bar 2 and 3 in a loop. At last, play the whole progression. Don’t try to play it in a fast speed right away. Set the metronome to 70 bpm, and increase the tempo progressively.

At the end, it will sound like this:

That’s it! Keep practicing and in a short period this exercise will flow easily and naturally.

Happy productions!

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