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Double Form Song Structure

This month we’ll be discussing double key songs where the relative key
doesn’t stay the same. More or less this is about how to change key.
There are several ways to do it, my favorite is the Double Form
progression trend out of any progression. It’s basically a wave of cadences that
revolve around a scale of your choice.

Lets first assess the situation. Review the progression below and tell
me what you see.


The question is what key am I in? Answer? Really depends, what am I
resolving to? As it stands that pattern can repeat as often as it’d like
with out ever stopping. The trick is which chord do I exit on? Well,
break the pattern. You know your fret board after the fret board lesson,
you know what notes your playing, and you should be able to tell your in
either D major or B minor by now. If you can’t see how that works, try
rearranging the top three notes of each chord, that should get your brain

The question now becomes, since we know what key we’re in, are we going
to play in one key or the other? We’ve already covered the major minor
concept, so what if we tried something different. Double Minor, or
double major? Try taking this progression on:


The progression there in triad form is one of these most commonly used
heavy metal progressions there are. Play that in 4/4 time using 8th
notes and palm mute it out as the power chords (bottom 3 notes in a
triads major and minor form) and you have classic 70’s and 80’s chug chug
nostalgia streaming from your amp. Joy.

Now.. try altering the form of each major chord for a different effect:

  BmajAdd9  A     G   F#

These chord voicing really stand out against the regular hum-drum
triads and give a sense of depth to the music. The Bmajadd9 gives a
sparklingly optimistic sound, the A and G forms while common have a certain
amount of power in they’re voicing as apposed to the triad forms in the
same area of tonality on the fret board, so it comes of as a refreshing
change to pasta as apposed to meat and potatoes. The voicing of the F#
major chord isn’t at all uncommon either, but it’s context is as far as
the progression goes, because it’s an octave higher (two if you want to
be technical about it) but the whole thing as a progression has a much
different sound than the power chords of heavy metal.

So what’s this though, we started in D major but now we’re in B major,
strange, how’d we do that? Well, play the first riff a bit, then launch
straight into the alternate arrangement and tell me what you hear. You
should here an awesome triumphant sounding piece that launches straight
into the "we saved the day" mood instead of something like this

 Bminadd9  A   G    F#


This will have a rather spooky effect, and all you did was play a
Bminadd9 in stead of a Bmajadd9 (more on chord forms next lesson, add9 just
means you augment a chord degree "x" amount of intervals until you
achieve "add9" – there’s more too it than that, but we’ll cover it later,
for now be glad I tab ^_^), and it’s one note difference.

Now then, how does this tie into a Double Form? Well, space out your
progression a bit, take two measures each chord, but take the second
measure and voice it in a different octave and form of the same base chord.
Tinker with that some – it’s a handy tool to know how to use.

Finally though, there must be some way out of this aside from just
stomping on a B chord be it major or minor, there’s gotta be some way outta
the car right? You got in with style, exist with style! But there’s so
many ways. Below are a few that I think suits the way this example has
gone, one comprised of major chords, and one that mixes major and minor,
all relevant to the Key of B.


Or we can try a less obvious approch ad change the A chord from major
to minor which looks like this:


Or we can suspend the lil bugger:


To beat it to death we can rearrange the progressions in as man ways as
mathematically possible, again, change the chord voicings, and or
arpegiate them for a variety of flowering effects. They key as always is
experimentation and contemplation. Often times knowing how to use a tool
will spark the creative drive and from there it’s a matter of trial and
error using your ears to attain the groove and sound you’re after. As a
general rule of thumb, if you can hum it, you can play it. Find the root
note, pick it out on your guitar, then build chords off of each note,
start out with an octave, then work your way to a 5th, a 4th an a 3rd.
Try major and minor forms. When you get better at it, start filling in
your parallel diatonic harmonies (more on that next lesson – again, its
just two notes play at the same time) parallel means you use the same
interval say a 3rd. However – each key of music will not mathematically
support a major third indefinitely, it’ll have to change to a minor
third at some point. Sometimes a fifth or an octave to stay in key, it’s
dependant upon the chord progression. In truth there are any number of
diatonic harmonies you can chose from, it doesn’t have to remain interval
specific. The diatonic means standard melodic movement, as appose to
chromatic, which doesn’t need a key signature to work though it can
sound… odd.

At that point though when you’re progression is complete, if you are
going to put a melody over it you’ll have to keep in mind that many of the
harmonies to chose from for it may already be in use. For a guitarist
this is where the tonal aspects of each instrument and EQ settings will
become a handy thing to do unless you want to change octaves. This
presents certain advantages and disadvantages al of which have merit in some
light, but you’ll discover that as you begin composing.

At any rate this final example in A should give you a glimpse of what
I’m talking about. For more fun, apregiate in a descending pattern:



Well that outta cover the chord changes. Hopefully I’ll get less emails
about this particular topic now =) Not that I mind though.

Take care and see you next month when we plow into harmony over chords!

– Tachi

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