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4 Chord Simplicity

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  • 4 Chord Simplicity

    Saw this and thought of all the discussions we've had...


    Note, some choice words used sparsely...

    Is the simplicity of Christian music the issue why non-Christians don't like it? This is only one 4 chord progression... G, D, Em, C... Makes you think
    Last edited by steensn; 12-01-2012, 11:01 AM.
    Lov'n Jesus

  • #2
    CCM appears to largely follow a formula driven approach which might be one reason for a turn off. It is more forgivable for 'song marketers' to have such a formula approach than for worship music... but then again those artists need to make a living too.

    Another thing I've noticed is that most everything is in major keys. I think there needs to be some minor key worship music. Minor keys don't have to be dark. They can be deep. The major keys sometimes come across as shallow.


    • #3
      I guess I should also say that I long for more challenging worship music, but I'm not going to argue this here and value the counter-perspective as well...

      I just don't like being looked like an alien for advocating the alternative. I sometimes feel like those who advocate simplicity are zealots about it. I hope I'm not offending....


      • #4
        You want some challenge, play some gospel music. We did a song two Christmases ago that had 22 different chords. (not chord changes - chords.)


        • #5
          It isn't about whether it is better or not. It just seems too often that it comes across as "superior," like it NEEDS to be more difficult for some reason. I believe both are great and wonderful for praising the Lord, each have their own fit. Too many times this is a divisive discussion instead of a celebration of both.
          Lov'n Jesus


          • #6
            Too many times this is a divisive discussion instead of a celebration of both.
            I agree- wish we could find more ways to use both skillfully instead of being on one camp or the other

            I've got no issue with 4-chord bangers- I'm a blues guy, so I'm used to 3 and 4 chord major keys in A,D,E and G, maybe C. It's not about how many chords you use, it's what you do with them.

            For example, my work band is doing an 'unplugged' gig where we are playing "Horse with No Name"- it's basically 2 chords- but we play it with enthusiasm and dynamics. For example, the rhythm guitar has a great cadence, the vocal harmonies are great, there is a nice acoustic guitar solo part, a piano part and I do a little something on upright bass. We don't showboat with it but it sounds good.

            Another good example is "Trading my Sorrows". That's a 4-chorder that has some life to it. I had fun playing the bass line playing the root and 5th at the same time- it was a challenge to get them to sound the same, and I honed a new skill.

            On the flip side, I played with a jazz-based gospel musician who wrote his won songs and came up with some great sounding stuff that the chords that read like a bingo card.

            I just like music done with enthusiasm and organically, born out of a creative process instead of an attempt to write to a 'formula' or whatever you want to call it- whether it's 2 chords or 10 chords, I don't care.
            If we want to go places we haven't been, we will have to do things we haven't done.


            • #7
              Mike, that's really some good stuff. I like doing 4-chords, but with moving bass notes to keep things interesting, especially on acoustic. I'm also a big fan of the cut capo and the great voicings you can get out of just a few chords.


              • #8
                I totally agree! A good song praising the Lord is a good song praising the Lord. How complex shouldn't be the focus.
                Lov'n Jesus


                • #9
                  I totally agree Mike (and others) on advocating balance and just more interesting music, whether or not it has lots of chords or not. I'm so sick of I V vi IV chord songs for example... primarily because it's just done so often....