Wouldn’t it be great to have different colour progressions to choose from when songwriting on guitar? Ones with different moods that you could use as templates for creating a particular atmosphere with your music?
Well guess what! That’s exactly what we’re looking at today. I saw this question posted on another account and I wanted to take my shot at answering it. I’ve come up with 11 progressions that you can use as a reference for creating a particular feeling when you are writing songs.
What are we waiting for? Let’s get moody!
Different Types of Moods
There are many moods, however I did some research on Quora and thanks to the helpful community there, we can distill them into 8 categories:
- Love/ passion ,
- Joy/ Cheerfulness ,
- Heroism / valor ,
- Grief/ sad ,
- Anger ,
I didn’t manage to create progressions for all these categories, although this is the first post in this topic so later on there will probably be more to add.
Also, why would we want to be able to pick a particular mood? So we can pick a colour to represent our feelings or to invoke a certain feeling in order to express ourselves. For example, we may be great lyricists but terrible at choosing chords that work with our lyrics.
Being able to choose a mood helps us to create new ideas, and serves as a handy reference tool when writing songs.
Characteristics of Each Progression
Whilst I was examining these progressions for their feels, I noticed some things that helped as a set of guidelines. These guidelines serve to make identifying different moods in progressions easier.
- Progressions that ascend at the start are ‘happier’
- Progressions that descend at the start are ‘sadder’
- Each mood of the progression is characterised by the harmonic rhythm & chord function arrangement – where each chord falls on which beat.
So without further ado, here are the progressions I came up with…
I’ve named each progression according to the feeling I associate with it. You may think differently; feel free to create your own labels!
Each progression is only different by the interval pattern; I’ve not assigned them to keys or rhythms, only by their position away from the root. In doing this, I hope it’s easier for you to play with them in different keys, rhythms and instrumentation.
Happy, upbeat progression:
IMaj iim iiim iim
Im Vm IVm
Epic worship conclusion/ Reverance
bVimaj bViiMaj Imaj
Imaj biiimaj bVmaj IVmaj
Sad submissive conclusion
bVimaj bVIi7 Im
Sad unwilling defeat
bVimaj V7 Im
Sad but hopeful
Im Vm iim Imaj
Im IVm V7aug
IMaj IVMaj V7Aug
Like I said earlier, these progressions can be played in various ways, in different:
- chord variations/ extensions (e.g. Imaj vs Imaj9)
Play around with them and see what you come up with! If you notice anything cool, I’d love to hear about it in the comments.
Take care fellow travellers! Namaste x