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Hack Music Theory

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Join 130K songwriters & producers. Free book: HackMusicTheory.com/Books

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Join 130K songwriters & producers. Free book: HackMusicTheory.com/Books

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25 Ratings
Average Ratings
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5

Nope

By ngcne - Mar 31 2020
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Nope Just an add for other stuff Too bad

Nah

By BobbyF92 - Feb 17 2020
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Too many ads for such a short series of podcasts.

iTunes Ratings

25 Ratings
Average Ratings
12
4
3
1
5

Nope

By ngcne - Mar 31 2020
Read more
Nope Just an add for other stuff Too bad

Nah

By BobbyF92 - Feb 17 2020
Read more
Too many ads for such a short series of podcasts.
Cover image of Hack Music Theory

Hack Music Theory

Latest release on Jun 05, 2020

The Best Episodes Ranked Using User Listens

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Rank #1: How to Write an Arpeggio Chord Progression like David Guetta "Don't Leave Me Alone"

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Happy New Music Friday! David Guetta’s new single “Don’t Leave Me Alone” (feat. Anne-Marie) dropped today, so in this music theory lesson, you'll learn how to write arpeggios like David Guetta. But first… Tea!

Hello! I’m Kate Harmony, this is Ray Harmony, and welcome to the new Hack Music Theory show (yeah it’s like Hack Music Theory v2.0). Every Friday, we’ll hack the theory of a big new release, and you’ll learn how to use that theory creatively in your own music. You can think of it as hot-off-the-press” music theory news, you can actually use!

And if you’re new to our channel, just a heads up, we cover all genres here, from Hip-Hop to EDM to Metal, and everything in between. But please note, this is a strictly classical and jazz free zone! Also, the hack that you’re about to witness is at an intermediate level, so this video will make more sense if you’ve got a solid theory foundation, which you can get in a mere 30 minutes, if you read our free book “12 Music Theory Hacks to Learn Scales & Chords” (free download below). Alright, it’s time to open your DAW to hack music theory.

THE THEORY

An arpeggio is created by simply playing a chord, one note at a time. This technique contrasts the usual "block chords" we hear in most songs, where the notes of each chord are played simultaneously. While block chords work great in some sections, their thick texture can be too much for other sections. “Don’t Leave Me Alone” is the perfect example of this, as David Guetta uses arpeggios for the verses, but block chords for the rest of the song. This contrast makes the verses sound super chill, and the drop sound super massive!

THE HACK

Right, to make arpeggios, you need chords first, so start by choosing a key and writing a chord progression. David chose a minor key for his chord progression, but then he starts the progression on the relative major key’s root chord. This creates an uplifting beginning to the chord progression, as it sounds like it’s in a major key, but then things start getting sad when we reach the real key’s root chord, which is minor. Let me show you what I mean. So to keep things simple, we’re in the key of A minor here. And using our white-note hack, you get A minor by playing all the white notes from A to A. Then, to find the relative major key, you simply count up to the third note of your minor scale. So, the relative major key of A minor, is C major. What that means, is that A minor and C major have the exact same notes. If that seems like sorcery to you, then you definitely need to read our free book (download below)!

So, by starting our progression on the Cmaj chord, listeners will think we’re in the key of C major, but then when we hit the Am chord, they’re gonna start getting drawn into the key of A minor, and they’re not getting out! And if you’re interested in why this is in the key of A minor, and not C major, it’s because of all the time spent on the Am chord, which anchors this progression into the key of A minor. And by the way, if you need help writing chord progressions, check out the simple step-by-step guide in our Songwriting & Producing PDF (click & scroll down).

Finally, here’s a couple other things to consider when writing arpeggios. Be sure to use different note values for variation. David actually only uses 1/8 notes in his arpeggios, so we’ve thrown in a few 1/16 notes to spice things up. Also, change some chords in your progression on unexpected beats. Every time David changes chords, it’s on beat 1 or beat 3, so we’ve added some variation by changing chords on beat 2 (here) and beat 4+.

Just a couple quick things before the final playthrough. Firstly, we intentionally wrote these arpeggios to be very similar to David Guetta’s, but we did that for the sake of this lesson. So, now that you know the theory hack, we want you to explore how you can use it creatively with your own musical personality, so it sounds like you! Secondly, if you wanna learn how to write great songs (and finish them!), then check out our cutting-edge online apprenticeship course, where you’ll join over 400 apprentices from over 40 countries, who’re all learning our secret art of song-whispering!

Alright, that’s it. We really hope you found this video helpful, and if you did, subscribe and hit the bell to get notifications. Also, what do you think of this new David Guetta single? We’d love to know, so drop us a comment on YouTube. Thanks for joining the Hack Music Theory revolution, enjoy the video/podcast, and we’ll see you next week!

Kate & Ray Harmony (AKA Revolution Harmony)
Music Teachers & Producers in Vancouver BC, Canada

LEARN
1: Read our free book (below) & watch our YouTube videos
2: Read our "Part 1" book & "Songwriting & Producing" PDF
3: Learn our Secret Art of Song-Whispering, and effortlessly finish your music!

ABOUT
Hack Music Theory is the pioneering notation-free method for making great music. Taught by award-winning music lecturer Ray Harmony, and his protégé (and wife) Kate Harmony, from their studio in Vancouver BC, Canada. Ray is the author of critically-acclaimed book series "Hack Music Theory", and has made music with Serj Tankian (System of a Down), Tom Morello (Rage Against the Machine), Steven Wilson (Porcupine Tree), Ihsahn (Emperor), Kool Keith (Ultramagnetic MCs), Madchild (Swollen Members), and many more. Kate has the highest grade distinction in Popular Music Theory from the London College of Music, and is the only person on the planet who's been trained by Ray to teach his Hack Music Theory method! While these Hack Music Theory YouTube lessons teach music theory for producers and DAW users, they are designed to accommodate all music makers (songwriters, guitarists, etc.) and all genres, from Electronic Music to R&B, Pop to Hip-Hop, Reggae to Rock, EDM/Dance to Metal (and yes, we djefinitely Djent!).

Wooohooo!!! You’re a mere 30 minutes away from being even smarter than you already are. Just head on over to your inbox now for your free download.

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“The most brilliant, fast, easy & fun music theory book I’ve ever seen!” DEREK SIVERS, CD Baby founder

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Jul 28 2018

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Rank #2: How to Write a Bass Line & Lead Melody like Marshmello “Happier” (ft. Bastille)

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Happy New Music Friday, and welcome to the Hack Music Theory show! So, today Marshmello dropped his new single “Happier” (ft. Bastille), and there’s a theory hack in this song that pretty much guarantees it’s gonna appeal to a huge audience. What’s the hack? And how can you use it in your own music? The answers comin’ up. But first… Tea!

THE THEORY
When isolated, the lead synth melody in the “Happier” chorus/drop definitely sounds like it’s in F major. However, when you add the bass line under the first bar of this melody, something strange happens: it now sounds like it’s in D minor. Why? And how? Well, F major and D minor have the exact same notes. They’re what we call: relative keys. So, what determines whether this melody is in F major or D minor? The bass. Yep, the bass line is the musical foundation upon which everything else is built. So if the bass emphasizes D (like Marshmello does in the first bar of his drop), then the lead melody sounds like it’s in D minor. But if the bass emphasizes F (like he does in his second bar), then the lead melody sounds like it’s in F major. Emphasizing both root chords in relative major and minor keys (like Dm and Fmaj in “Happier”), is super popular with EDM/Pop crossover producers, like The Chainsmokers and David Guetta. Using this relative major/minor crossover hack allows your song to appeal to people with a preference for music in major keys and people with a preference for music in minor keys, which covers pretty much everyone (other than the mavericks, of course!). And by the way, if you need help understanding scales and relatives keys and all that good stuff, no problem we got you covered, just read our free book “12 Music Theory Hacks to Learn Scales & Chords”, which you can download below.

THE HACK
Okay, so you can write this kinda chorus/drop in two simple steps. Step 1: Write a lead melody, using a major scale. Step 2: Write a bass line that emphasizes the root note of that major scale, and the root note of its relative minor scale. And for this example, we’ll use D minor and F major, like Marshmello. Alright, now let’s work through these two steps in more detail. So, start by setting your grid to 1/16 notes, then to get that “Happier” rhythm, play every third 1/16 note in each bar. And by the way, if you need help writing melodies, just use the Melody Checklist in our Songwriting & Producing PDF. Alright, now it’s time to get stuck into the low end! So, for Step 2 (the bass line), start by playing the root note of the relative minor key, which in this example is D. And that’s gonna make your first bar sound like it’s in D minor. Then, work your way up to the root note of the relative major key for the second bar, which in this example is F. And that’s gonna make your second bar sound like it’s in F major. Also, remember to use plenty of rests in your bass line, if you want that EDM drop vibe. And lastly, we used counterpoint to write this lead melody and bass line, which creates an awesome musical depth from the two totally independent layers. And if you’re interested in learning how to use counterpoint, that’s also in our Songwriting & Producing PDF (click and scroll down).

THE END
Remember, we intentionally wrote our example to be very similar to the original song, but we did that for the sake of this lesson. So, instead of copying Marshmello, please explore how you can use these hacks creatively with your own musical personality, so it sounds like you! Also, quick question. Do you struggle to finish your music? If you answered yes, then we can help you. Yes indeed we can, just check out our cutting-edge online apprenticeship course, where you’ll learn how to make new sections for existing sections, how to transition between sections (even when they’re in different keys), and most importantly, how to finish your songs. If that sounds useful to you, the head on over to: HackMusicTheory.com/Apprenticeship. Alright, that’s it! We really hope you found this video helpful, and if you did, subscribe and hit the bell to get notifications. Also, we believe in sharing our knowledge for free. Please pay it forwards by teaching these hacks to a friend, so they can benefit from this lesson as well. I’ve been teaching music theory for 24 years, so I can safely say that the best way to learn something, is to teach it to someone else. So, go forth and teach! And on that note, thanks for joining the Hack Music Theory revolution. We’ll see you next New Music Friday!

Kate & Ray Harmony (AKA Revolution Harmony)
Music Teachers & Producers in Vancouver BC, Canada

LEARN
1: Read our free book (below) & watch our YouTube videos
2: Read our "Part 1" book & "Songwriting & Producing" PDF
3: Learn our Secret Art of Song-Whispering, and effortlessly finish your music!

ABOUT
Hack Music Theory is the pioneering notation-free method for making great music. Taught by award-winning music lecturer Ray Harmony, and his protégé (and wife) Kate Harmony, from their studio in Vancouver BC, Canada. Ray is the author of critically-acclaimed book series "Hack Music Theory", and has made music with Serj Tankian (System of a Down), Tom Morello (Rage Against the Machine), Steven Wilson (Porcupine Tree), Ihsahn (Emperor), Kool Keith (Ultramagnetic MCs), Madchild (Swollen Members), and many more. Kate has the highest grade distinction in Popular Music Theory from the London College of Music, and is the only person on the planet who's been trained by Ray to teach his Hack Music Theory method! While these Hack Music Theory YouTube lessons teach music theory for producers and DAW users, they are designed to accommodate all music makers (songwriters, guitarists, etc.) and all genres, from Electronic Music to R&B, Pop to Hip-Hop, Reggae to Rock, EDM/Dance to Metal (and yes, we djefinitely Djent!).

Wooohooo!!! You’re a mere 30 minutes away from being even smarter than you already are. Just head on over to your inbox now for your free download.

There was an error submitting your subscription. Please try again.

 

“The most brilliant, fast, easy & fun music theory book I’ve ever seen!” DEREK SIVERS, CD Baby founder

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Aug 18 2018

5mins

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Rank #3: How to Write a Beautiful Piano Chord Progression & Melody

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The piano is a universal instrument, so a great piano part will give your song a timeless feel. And in this lesson, you’ll learn how to write a beautiful piano chord progression and melody, which will stand the test of time. But first… tea!

DOWNLOAD PDF + WAV + MIDI FROM THIS VIDEO

Hello revolutionary music makers, we are Kate Harmony and Ray Harmony (AKA Revolution Harmony), and welcome to Hack Music Theory. We help you make great music that stands out, so you can move and grow your audience! If that sounds useful to you, then subscribe to our YouTube channel and hit that bell to get notified every Thursday, when we publish our new video. Alright, let’s jump in...

THEORY
London rapper DAVE just dropped his new single “Black”, which is a goosebump-inducing song with one of the most sophisticated piano parts we’ve heard in the New Music Friday playlist in a very long time! What makes the piano part so good? Two things. First, the chord progression lasts for an epic 16 bars. This is extremely rare in today’s music, which usually consists of four-bar loops. Second, the chord progression switches back and forth between the natural minor (popular music’s favourite scale) and the harmonic minor, which creates a Classical flavour to the piano part as the harmonic minor is the quintessential Classical scale. And it’s this Classical vibe that adds a timeless feel and a musical weight to the song, which in turn makes Dave’s important lyrics even more powerful.

SETUP
Alright, now you’re gonna learn how to use this theory to make your own version, and what you see below is our version that we made earlier. So, start by setting up 16 bars of 4/4, with your grid set to 1/8 notes, and your tempo set to 84 BPM. Dave’s song is in the key of D minor, so we’ll use it too.

STEP 1.  LEFT HAND  (chords)
We’re gonna start with the left-hand part, which will simply play octaves of each chord’s root note. These octaves provide a minimal harmonic backdrop, which creates a more delicate sound than full chords. So, first things first, here’s the menu of chords in D minor that you can choose from: Dm, Edim, Fmaj, Gm, Am (or Amaj), B♭maj, Cmaj, C♯dim. Please note: the Amaj and C♯dim chords are from the harmonic minor. Choose whichever chords you like from the D minor menu, but approach your 16 bars as 4x four-bar chord progressions. And start each four-bar progression with the root chord (Dm), except for the last progression, which you wanna start with one of the major chords in the key, to provide an uplifting vibe to the end of your epic 16 bars. Lastly, the Cmaj to C♯dim movement has a magnetic pull to the Dm, so definitely use that progression somewhere.

STEP 2.  RIGHT HAND  (melody)
Right, it’s right-hand time, and that means melody! So, using 1/8 notes, come up with a motif (which is a short musical idea) over the Dm chord. Base your motif around the 2nd note (cos it’s a beautiful interval), and the 3rd note (cos it’s a deeply emotional interval) - over Dm the 2nd note is E, and the 3rd note is F. Then once you’ve got your motif, you can re-use it over the other chords (basing it around each chord’s 2nd and 3rd notes). Next, tie ‘em all together with some other notes, and be sure to use some arpeggios too, which is when you play a chord one note at a time. Also, throw in a few melodic variations to keep things fresh.

BONUS HACK  (intro)
Lastly, if you want a beautiful intro (like in Dave’s song), then use this hack. Set up four bars for your intro. Now, start on the root chord (Dm) and play it for two bars, then go to another chord and play it for two bars as well. You see, by playing each chord for two bars, instead of one bar or less (like in your verse), the harmony in your intro will move at half the speed. This is so powerful, cos when your verse kicks in, the harmony starts moving at double the speed, which makes everything feel like it’s totally ramping up.

NEXT
Okay, so now that you’ve got an intro and a verse, how do you write a chorus and a bridge? And then, how do you transition between all the sections, especially if they’re in different keys? And then, how do you structure and arrange your song? Well, all songwriters and producers struggle with these issues in the beginning, and that’s exactly why we made our online apprenticeship course. So, if you wanna overcome these obstacles once and for all, then our course is definitely for you!

Kate & Ray Harmony (AKA Revolution Harmony)
Music Teachers & Producers in Vancouver BC, Canada

LEVELS
Level 1 - Read our free book (below) & watch our YouTube videos
Level 2 - Read our "Part 1" book & "Songwriting & Producing" PDF
Level 3 - Practice making music using our lessons (PDF+MIDI+WAV)
Level 4 - Learn our secret art of song-whispering & finish your music

ABOUT
Hack Music Theory is a pioneering DAW method for making great music that stands out, so you can move and grow your audience! Taught by award-winning music lecturer Ray Harmony, and his protégé wife Kate Harmony, from their studio in Vancouver BC, Canada. Ray is the author of critically-acclaimed book series "Hack Music Theory", and has made music with Serj Tankian (System of a Down), Tom Morello (Rage Against the Machine), Steven Wilson (Porcupine Tree), Devin Townsend (Strapping Young Lad), Ihsahn (Emperor), Kool Keith (Ultramagnetic MCs), Madchild (Swollen Members), and many more! Kate has the highest grade distinction in Popular Music Theory from the London College of Music, and is the only person on the planet who's been trained by Ray to teach his method. On that note, the "Hack Music Theory" YouTube channel teaches relevant and instantly-usable music theory for producers, DAW users, and all other music makers (songwriters, singers, guitarists, bassists, drummers, etc.) in all genres, from EDM to R&B, pop to hip-hop, reggae to rock, electronic to metal (and yes, we djefinitely djent!).

COPYRIGHT
© 2019 Revolution Harmony
Revolution Harmony is Ray Harmony & Kate Harmony
All content (script & music) in video by Revolution Harmony
Dave photo by Regina Lemaire-Costa

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“The most brilliant, fast, easy & fun music theory book I’ve ever seen!” DEREK SIVERS, CD Baby founder

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Mar 01 2019

6mins

Play

Rank #4: Get Your Music Discovered

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3 music theory hacks to make your music stand out, so you can get discovered!

Hello revolutionary music makers, we are Kate Harmony and Ray Harmony (AKA Revolution Harmony), and welcome to Hack Music Theory. We help you make great music that stands out, so you can move and grow your audience! If that sounds useful to you, then subscribe to our YouTube channel (or Podcast) and hit that bell to get notified every Friday, when we publish our new lesson.

FREE BOOK
If it's your first time here, be sure to download our free book “12 Music Theory Hacks to Learn Scales & Chords” below. It only takes 30 minutes to read, and then you'll have a super solid music theory foundation!

Wooohooo!!! You’re a mere 30 minutes away from being even smarter than you already are. Just head on over to your inbox now for your free download.

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“The most brilliant, fast, easy & fun music theory book I’ve ever seen!” DEREK SIVERS, CD Baby founder

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There’s about 40,000 songs being added to Spotify every day, so the only way you can get discovered, is if your music truly stands out. How do you do that? Well, in this lesson you’ll learn 3 hacks to make your music stand out from the crowd! But first… Tea!

INTRO
So, to counter all the boring year-end lists of smash hits, we started a new Hack Music Theory tradition last year: The Most Artistic Music of the Year. We selected the winner by asking ourselves this question: What release this year contained the most interesting theory, used in the most creative way, resulting in an accessible work of art. And the vital criteria here is accessibility, cos it’s actually surprisingly easy to write creative music, but it’s surprisingly difficult to write creative music that makes people dance and sing along! Now, without further ado, the winner of 2019’s Most Artistic Music of the Year, is… Dan D’Lion.

Dan D’Lion is a British producer and singer, who came outta nowhere this year with two jaw-dropping EPs ("Perspective" EP & "Betterman" EP). The first time we heard Dan D’Lion was in Spotify’s New Music Friday playlist a few months back, when his song “Simmer Down” totally jumped out at us, and almost nothing on that playlist ever stands out, let alone jumps out! So, in this lesson, we’ll hack the pre-chorus of “Simmer Down”, where three musical elements make this song truly stand out from the crowd. To be honest though, we could easily make four lessons on this one section alone, it’s that good! So as soon as this lesson ends, go listen to Dan D’Lion and hit repeat, cos it’ll take many listens to explore the musical depths of his 10 songs.

GIVEAWAY
Now, just before we jump into the lesson, we’ve got exciting news for you: We’re feeling festive, so one of you will win our bestselling online course: Apprenticeship #1 (worth $150). The course contains 17 hours of video that guides you through every step of the music making process, from blank screen to finish song. Details on how to enter coming up later, but now, it’s time to open your DAW to hack music theory.

SETUP
Alright, now you’re gonna learn the three theory hacks from Dan D’Lion that will make your music stand out! And for the example in this lesson, we’ll be using our version that we made earlier, using these three hacks. So, start by setting up four bars of 4/4, with your tempo set to 108 BPM, and your grid set to 1/16 notes. Dan D’Lion uses A natural minor for this section, so we’ll use it too.

HACK 1. MODAL AMBIGUITY
The first thing you’ll feel when listening to this section in “Simmer Down”, is that it’s not obvious what the key is. Dan D’Lion very cleverly does this by starting his bass line with a long note that makes us think it’s the root, but it’s not. Then after this long note, he drops down to the real root (A), which is when the ambiguity takes hold, as we thought the bass line started on the root, but now A feels like the root. Dan D’Lion does help us to hear A minor as the actual key though, by playing synth arpeggios in the background that reinforce A minor. Now, while this ambiguity around keys is a trendy hack these days, when most songwriters and producers use it, they just go back and forth between the relative major and minor keys. But that’s not interesting enough for Dan D’Lion, what he does is to go back and forth between A natural minor and its relative Dorian mode. In our example, we chose the relative Lydian mode, so we started our bass line on F. And whatever relative mode you choose, be sure to start your bass line on that mode’s root note. And if you need help understanding the modes, then simply use the mode hacks in our Songwriting & Producing PDF (click & scroll down).

HACK 2. USE THIS NOTE
Now that you’ve blurred the line between A natural minor and the relative mode that you chose, it’s time to blur that blurred line! You see, Dan D’Lion isn’t satisfied with merely creating ambiguity around the key, he then goes on to break free from those two keys by using the note C♯, which is not in either key, so it’s what we call “non-diatonic”. This blurring of the blurred line not only enhances the ambiguity from Hack 1, but it also creates the ultimate standout moment in your song. In fact, it was this exact note that made Dan D’Lion’s song jump out at us in the first place.

HACK 3. COUNTERPOINT
Dan D’Lion used the compositional technique known as counterpoint to write his backing vocals. And counterpoint is when the contour of your backing melody counters the contour of your lead melody. It’s extremely rare to hear counterpoint in popular music, as almost all backing melodies these days just harmonise the lead melody by following its contour, usually a 3rd above or below. But, by using counterpoint to write your backing melody, you inject one of the rarest elements into your song, which will make it truly stand out from the crowd. And by the way, if you need help with counterpoint, then simply use our counterpoint hack, which is also in our Songwriting & Producing PDF (click & scroll down). And, if you need help with writing melodies, then use our Melody Checklist, which is in that PDF as well. It’s the ultimate list of dos and don’ts for writing great melodies.

MORE
So, now that you’ve got one section coming together, how do you write the other sections? Then, how do you transition between them (especially when they’re in different keys)? And then, how do you structure and arrange your song? These are issues many songwriters and producers struggle with, and that’s exactly why we made our online apprenticeship course, which guides you through every step of the music making process, from blank screen to finished song. So, if you wanna learn our secret method for writing (and finishing) great songs, which we don’t teach in these free lessons, then check out our Apprenticeship #1 online course.

NEXT
Alright, now let’s have a listen to our standout section, but just before the playthrough, here’s how you can win our online course Apprenticeship #1: Write a comment below this video on YouTube, and tell us why you should win. It’s that simple! We’ll then pick our favourite answer, and announce the winner in our newsletter this Sunday (15 Dec 2019). So, be sure to post your comment by Saturday (14 Dec 2019), and also, make sure you’re on our mailing list (you can sign up on our home page).

Sadly, this is our last lesson of the year, but we’ve got EPIC news for you about 2020. When we come back in early January, we’re gonna be launching Apprenticeship #2. This course is the mother of all courses, it’s taken us over a year to make, and it contains over 30 hours of video! So, if your New Year’s resolution is to get serious and commit to your music, then make sure you’ve done Apprenticeship #1 before January, cos come 2020, it’s Apprenticeship #2 time! Thanks for watching (or listening, if you’re on the podcast), and we’ll see you in a few weeks. Until then, happy holidays, and thank you for another magical year, we really appreciate you being here.

Kate & Ray Harmony (AKA Revolution Harmony)
Music Teachers & Producers in Vancouver BC, Canada

Take Your Music to the Next Level

LEVEL 1 – FREE BOOK
"12 Music Theory Hacks to Learn Scales & Chords" will give you a super solid music theory foundation in 30 minutes!

LEVEL 2 – SONGWRITING & PRODUCING PDF (click & scroll down)
This is our best-selling PDF, which includes MIDI file examples. Learn the essential hacks for songwriting & producing, like our Melody Checklist (the ultimate list of do's and don'ts for writing great melodies). You'll also learn how to write chord progressions, bass lines, riffs, counterpoint harmonies, and more!

LEVEL 3 – LESSON PACKS
After learning our essential hacks, it's time to put them to practical use and start writing some new songs. Lesson packs include step-by-step PDF guides to making music for different instruments and in different genres (electronic, metal, soundtrack, etc.), as well as multitrack MIDI files of the examples.

LEVEL 4 – ONLINE APPRENTICESHIP
Go from a blank screen to a finished song, in this 17-hour video course. Learn how to write new sections for an existing section, how to transition between sections in different keys, how to structure and arrange, and much more! This course has been called "life-changing" many times, so join 800+ music makers now (from all genres), who are learning Ray's secret hack: Song Whispering.

ABOUT
Hack Music Theory is a pioneering DAW method for making great music that stands out, so you can move and grow your audience! Taught by multi-award-winning music lecturer Ray Harmony, and his protégé wife Kate Harmony, from their studio in Vancouver BC, Canada. Ray is the author of critically-acclaimed book series "Hack Music Theory", and has made music with Serj Tankian (System of a Down), Tom Morello (Rage Against the Machine), Steven Wilson (Porcupine Tree), Devin Townsend (Strapping Young Lad), Ihsahn (Emperor), Kool Keith (Ultramagnetic MCs), Madchild (Swollen Members), and many more! Kate has the highest grade distinction in Popular Music Theory from the London College of Music, and is the only person on the planet who's been trained by Ray to teach his method. On that note, Hack Music Theory teaches relevant and instantly-usable music theory for producers, songwriters, DAW users, and all other music makers (guitarists, bassists, singers, drummers, etc.) in all genres, from EDM to R&B, pop to hip-hop, reggae to rock, electronic to metal (and yes, we djefinitely djent!).

COPYRIGHT
© 2019 Revolution Harmony
Revolution Harmony is Ray Harmony & Kate Harmony
All content (script & music) in video by Revolution Harmony

Dec 12 2019

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Rank #5: 5 Hacks to Make Better Music in 2019

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Happy New Year, and may this be your best year yet! On that note, did you make a New Year’s resolution to start making music, or make more music, or make better music? Well unfortunately, studies suggest that only about one in 10 people achieve their New Year’s resolutions, so this video is designed to help you become that one person. But first… tea!

Hello revolutionaries, we are Kate Harmony and Ray Harmony (AKA Revolution Harmony), and welcome to Hack Music Theory. We help you make great music that stands out, so you can enchant and enlarge your audience! If that sounds useful to you, then subscribe to our YouTube channel and hit that bell to get notified every Thursday, when we publish our new video. Alright, let’s jump in...

Hack 1: Permission to Play
There’s an abundance of scientific research proving that a lack of play in our lives leads to depression, and for people like us, play is making music. If you’ve ever stopped music for a while and noticed how everything in your life suddenly gets a lot more serious and a lot less enjoyable, then you’ve already experienced this slippery slope. So, if you truly wanna show up 100% for your family and your work, then you need to play. But remember, play is all about intrinsic value, which means the process itself is enjoyable. If someone’s making music as a means to an end (for example, with the goal of one of their songs going viral), then they’re on an even worse slippery slope. We have no control over how the world reacts to our music, so they’d be far happier by refocusing their attention onto the joy of the music making process itself.

Hack 2: Schedule Sessions
I remember when I started teaching music in 1995 (back before the internet stole our time, and instead, we spent it obsessively listening to that three-legged dog tape), my students would often turn up without having done their homework, cos they were “too busy”. And nowadays, with the internet in the palm of our hand, we’re “busier” than we’ve ever been in the whole of human history. And that is why everyone is “happy” on Instagram, but when we actually put our phones down and look around, everyone seems pretty miserable. The only way to overcome this “too busy to play” fallacy, is to schedule a weekly session. So pause this video right now, open your calendar, find one hour somewhere, and create a recurring weekly event. Then, when your session time arrives, turn off your phone, close your web browser, and open your DAW to hack music theory.

Hack 3: Use Music Theory
Nothing ruins fun like frustration! So, the process of making music will only be enjoyable if you’re competent at it. And that’s where we come in. With Hack Music Theory, you can overcome the dreaded blank screen once and for all, cos while Writer’s Block may exist in our minds, in reality, it’s a lie. I remember when I was a kid, my dad told me over and over again “Creativity is a tap that you can turn on whenever you want.” That understanding, along with learning music theory, has resulted in hundreds of songs over my 28 years of making music, with a grand total of zero accounts of writer’s block. So, to get started today, just watch our Step-By-Step Starter Guide at the end of this video, and also, download our free music theory book below.

Hack 4: Practice Makes Play
Now, in order for an activity to properly be play, it needs to pull you into the “flow” state, which is that zone you enter when you’re fully immersed in a task and totally lose track of time. This can only happen when the activity is challenging, but not too difficult. And yes, everything is difficult in the beginning, but, just like everything else, regular practice results in quick progress. Besides, music is only 12 notes. It’s easy! So, make your initial weekly sessions about practising the application of music theory. And to do this, simply follow along with the examples in our weekly videos. If you practice making music using the steps in those videos, you’ll be bustin’ out awesome tunes in no time! Remember, practice makes play. 

Hack 5: Get Support
Sitting in front of your DAW with headphones on can be an isolating experience, and as we’re a social species, it’s vital to join a like-minded music community. This will not only create new friendships, which is deeply valuable in itself, but sharing your works-in-progress and getting supportive feedback from your peers will totally turbocharge your progress, and your happiness. So, do some searching online and see if there’s a local meetup you can join. Or, if you wanna join our private network, which has hundreds of good people in it from over 50 countries, then sign up for our online apprenticeship, the link is below. Here’s how one of our top apprentices described it: “I really enjoy the interactions in the Network. Apprentices share their works-in-progress often, and have the right attitude: they’re open-minded, positive, helpful, and some are very funny too. It’s like a family, but without the drama!” –François Lalonde (Montréal, Canada)

So, write down these five hacks, stick ‘em somewhere you’ll see everyday, and you’ll become the one outta 10 people who achieve their New Year’s resolutions. We really hope you found this video helpful, and we’ll see you next week, when we get back to our regular lesson format.

Kate & Ray Harmony (AKA Revolution Harmony)
Music Teachers & Producers in Vancouver BC, Canada

LEARN
Level 1: Read our free book (below) & watch our YouTube videos
Level 2: Read our "Part 1" book & "Songwriting & Producing" PDF
Level 3: Learn our secret art of songwhispering & finish your music

ABOUT
Hack Music Theory is the pioneering notation-free method for making great music that stands out, so you can enchant and enlarge your audience! Taught by award-winning music lecturer Ray Harmony, and his protégé wife Kate Harmony, from their studio in Vancouver BC, Canada. Ray is the author of critically-acclaimed book series "Hack Music Theory", and has made music with Serj Tankian (System of a Down), Tom Morello (Rage Against the Machine), Steven Wilson (Porcupine Tree), Devin Townsend (Strapping Young Lad), Ihsahn (Emperor), Kool Keith (Ultramagnetic MCs), Madchild (Swollen Members), and many more! Kate has the highest grade distinction in Popular Music Theory from the London College of Music, and is the only person on the planet who's been trained by Ray to teach his method. On that note, the "Hack Music Theory" YouTube channel teaches relevant and instantly-usable music theory for producers, DAW users, and all other music makers (songwriters, singers, guitarists, bassists, drummers, etc.) in all genres, from EDM to R&B, pop to hip-hop, reggae to rock, electronic to metal (and yes, we djefinitely djent!).

COPYRIGHT
© 2019 Revolution Harmony
Revolution Harmony is Ray Harmony & Kate Harmony
All content (script & music) in video by Revolution Harmony

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“The most brilliant, fast, easy & fun music theory book I’ve ever seen!” DEREK SIVERS, CD Baby founder

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Jan 11 2019

5mins

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Rank #6: How to Transition between Sections of a Song

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Do you struggle to write B sections? Do you struggle to transition between sections and finish your song? Then learn about the Frankenstein method and the Song-whispering method.

Hello revolutionary music makers, we are Kate Harmony and Ray Harmony (AKA Revolution Harmony), and welcome to Hack Music Theory. We help you make great music that stands out, so you can move and grow your audience! If that sounds useful to you, then subscribe to our YouTube channel (or Podcast) and hit that bell to get notified every Friday, when we publish our new lesson. Also, if you’re new to our channel, be sure to download our free book “12 Music Theory Hacks to Learn Scales & Chords” below. Alright, it’s time to open your DAW to hack music theory.

Wooohooo!!! You’re a mere 30 minutes away from being even smarter than you already are. Just head on over to your inbox now for your free download.

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“The most brilliant, fast, easy & fun music theory book I’ve ever seen!” DEREK SIVERS, CD Baby founder

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DOWNLOAD FREE BOOK

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Okay, so you’ve written two sections, but now, how do you transition from one section to the other? Well, there’s a couple different methods you can use, and we’ll introduce you to both of them in this lesson. But first… tea!

INTRO
So, over the last few weeks, we’ve been asking you what part of the writing process you struggle with. Firstly, thank you sincerely to everyone who took the time to share, we read every single comment. Secondly, we have great news for all of you! We already have resources available to help with every problem that was shared, so let’s jump in! Now, almost all of these musical problems can be grouped into a handful of categories, which we’ll address over a couple of lessons. By far the most common issues you raised, were writing new sections for existing sections, and transitioning between sections. These issues are totally related, so we’ll cover both in this lesson.

LESSON
Right, so there’s two completely different approaches to writing transitions. We like to call them the Frankenstein method, and the Song-whispering method. The Frankenstein method is when you have different sections that were not written with the intention of being joined, but later you decide you wanna stitch ‘em together. Then on the other hand, the Song-whispering method is when you write one section and allow it to whisper to you where it wants to go next, then from those whispers you write the transition and the next section. Both methods work, but the Frankenstein method forces sections together, whereas the Song-whispering method allows new sections to grow out of existing sections.

I used to use the Frankenstein method a lot when I was a young songwriter, but the more I matured, the less I used it, and nowadays I don’t use it at all. I believe that for a song to reach its full potential, it has to be given the opportunity to grow organically in whatever direction it wants. And that belief is the reason why I created the Song-whispering method, because when you master this method, it feels like your music is literally writing itself!

Now, on a very practical level, you’re probably wondering what to do if you have two sections that were not written with the intention of being joined. Well, instead of forcing them together, we recommend turning each of those sections into separate songs, which will allow them both to grow into their full potential. Having said that though, if you’re determined to Frankenstein them together, then you can, and it’s at least a great way to practice modulating (i.e. changing key). And if you need help with modulating, then check out the ultimate Modulation hack in our Songwriting & Producing PDF (click & scroll down). It will empower you with the three most effective ways to change between any two keys.

And if your two sections are in the same key already, then they’ll transition into each other relatively smoothly as is. So, a drum fill and perhaps a variation in the melody should be enough for a decent transition. However, the most powerful transitions will almost always involve modulating, as that freshness you get from a new key is vital in the overall longevity of a song. So on that note, if your two sections are in the same key, maybe they shouldn’t be joined after all.

Now, when you use the Song-whispering method, your song will guide you to the new key that it wants to move into, which will make the modulation sound natural and effortless. Okay, so now the big question is: How do you do this Song-whispering thing? Well, not only does it take many hours to teach Song-whispering, but it’s also our secret sauce that we sell, so we can eat, pay the rent and keep making these free lessons for you. So if you wanna learn how to become a Song-whisperer, then do our online Apprenticeship, which is a 17-hour video course that guides you through every step of the music making process, from blank screen to finished song. If that sounds useful to you, then sign up now!

THANKS
Thank you once again for sharing your struggles with us. We really hope this lesson helped, and we’ll get to the rest of your music making problems next week. Thanks for reading, and we’ll see you next time!

Kate & Ray Harmony (AKA Revolution Harmony)
Music Teachers & Producers in Vancouver BC, Canada

Take Your Music to the Next Level

LEVEL 1 – FREE BOOK
"12 Music Theory Hacks to Learn Scales & Chords" will give you a super solid music theory foundation in 30 minutes!

LEVEL 2 – SONGWRITING & PRODUCING PDF (click & scroll down)
This is our best-selling PDF, which includes MIDI file examples. Learn the essential hacks for songwriting & producing, like our Melody Checklist (the ultimate list of do's and don'ts for writing great melodies). You'll also learn how to write chord progressions, bass lines, riffs, counterpoint harmonies, and more!

LEVEL 3 – LESSON PACKS
After learning our essential hacks, it's time to put them to practical use and start writing some new songs. Lesson packs include step-by-step PDF guides to making music for different instruments and in different genres (electronic, metal, soundtrack, etc.), as well as multitrack MIDI files of the examples.

LEVEL 4 – ONLINE APPRENTICESHIP
Go from a blank screen to a finished song, in this online video course. Learn how to write new sections for an existing section, how to transition between sections in different keys, how to structure and arrange, and much more! This course has been called "life-changing" many times, so join 700+ music makers now (from all genres), who are learning Ray's secret hack: Song Whispering.

ABOUT
Hack Music Theory is a pioneering DAW method for making great music that stands out, so you can move and grow your audience! Taught by multi-award-winning music lecturer Ray Harmony, and his protégé wife Kate Harmony, from their studio in Vancouver BC, Canada. Ray is the author of critically-acclaimed book series "Hack Music Theory", and has made music with Serj Tankian (System of a Down), Tom Morello (Rage Against the Machine), Steven Wilson (Porcupine Tree), Devin Townsend (Strapping Young Lad), Ihsahn (Emperor), Kool Keith (Ultramagnetic MCs), Madchild (Swollen Members), and many more! Kate has the highest grade distinction in Popular Music Theory from the London College of Music, and is the only person on the planet who's been trained by Ray to teach his method. On that note, the "Hack Music Theory" YouTube channel teaches relevant and instantly-usable music theory for producers, DAW users, and all other music makers (songwriters, singers, guitarists, bassists, drummers, etc.) in all genres, from EDM to R&B, pop to hip-hop, reggae to rock, electronic to metal (and yes, we djefinitely djent!).

COPYRIGHT
© 2019 Revolution Harmony
Revolution Harmony is Ray Harmony & Kate Harmony
All content (script & music) in video by Revolution Harmony

Oct 04 2019

4mins

Play

Rank #7: Change This Note to Make Your Melodies Stand Out

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There’s 20,000 tracks being uploaded to Spotify every day, so it’s essential that your melodies stand out in this never-ending stream of new tunes. So in this video, you’ll learn how changing one note can grab the listener’s attention. But first… tea!

Hello revolutionary music makers, we are Kate Harmony and Ray Harmony (AKA Revolution Harmony), and welcome to Hack Music Theory. We help you make great music that stands out, so you can move and grow your audience! If that sounds useful to you, then subscribe to our YouTube channel and hit that bell to get notified every Thursday, when we publish our new video. Alright, let’s jump in...

Oxford band FOALS just dropped their new single “Exits”, which instantly stood out on Spotify’s New Music Friday playlist. What made it stand out? One note! Wait, how can it be that easy? Well, almost all popular music these days is made using only two scales: the natural minor, and the major. And it goes without saying that there’s obviously nothing wrong with these scales, but, our brains have evolved to switch into autopilot when there’s nothing unexpected in our environment, and that includes music. If there’s nothing unexpected in a song, listeners’ minds will drift off and stop paying attention. So, the easiest way to create something unexpected, is to simply use a different scale, like Foals did in “Exits”.

Set-Up
Alright, now you’re gonna learn how to use this theory to make your own version, and what you see on the screen right now is our version that we made earlier. So, start by setting up four bars of 4/4, with your grid set to 1/8 notes, and your tempo set to 94 BPM. And by the way, the dark notes below our melody are the root notes of the chords in our progression (which are on another track). These root notes are all muted, they’re just there for reference.

Step 1 - Mode
Okay, so this is the natural minor scale: D E F G A B♭ C, which is by far the most overused scale in existence. But, with one tweak, you can turn it into the Dorian mode, which will make it instantly stand out. So, all you do, is move the 6th note, B♭, one semitone up to B♮. And with that, you now have the Dorian mode, which sounds like an upfliting version of the natural minor scale. Right, now we’re ready to write our chord progression. Just before we do that though, if you wanna learn about all the modes and how to use them, then everything you need to know is in our Songwriting & Producing PDF (click & scroll down).

Step 2 - Chords
The Foals song is in D Dorian, so we’ll use it too. That means your chord choices are: Dm, Em, Fmaj, Gmaj, Am, Bdim, and Cmaj. This video is not about writing a Dorian chord progression though, so if you need help with that, then watch our playlist coming up at the end of this video. Right, so the chords we chose are: Dm, Fmaj, Cmaj, Gmaj, and then back to a quick Cmaj. And when you’re writing your chord progression, be sure to play the Gmaj chord, and, be sure to play it towards the end of your progression!

Step 3 - Melody
Finally, it’s time to write your melody. So, for your rhythm, use a combination of 1/8 notes, 1/4 notes, and dotted 1/4 notes. And for your pitches, a good place to start writing your melody, is by using the third note of each chord. For a couple examples of this: the 3rd note in Dm is F, and the 3rd note in Gmaj is B. And that brings us to Foals’ magic trick! The 3rd note in a chord is what creates its emotion: a major chord is uplifting, and a minor chord is serious. And as you’ll remember, this B is the one unexpected note that makes this scale different. So, for the first three bars, the listeners will presume this is in the totally overused natural minor scale. And just as they’re switching into autopilot, we hit ‘em with that B, cos that B makes this chord a surprising Gmaj, instead of Gm (which is what they’ll be expecting). Boom! You now have their attention. Use it well. And by the way, if you want the ultimate list of dos and don’ts for writing great melodies, then use our Melody Checklist, which is also in the Songwriting & Producing PDF (click & scroll down).

NEXT
Right, now that you’ve got one section down, how do you write more sections for it, and then, how do you transition between those sections, and turn 'em into a song? Great questions, and if this is something you need help with, then check out our cutting-edge online apprenticeship course, where you’ll literally learn every step of the music making process, and most importantly, you’ll learn how to finish your songs! You’ll also gain access to our private network, which is a safe online space (i.e. social media platform) exclusively for our 600+ apprentices from 50+ countries. Our Network is a super supportive place for you to ask theory questions, share your music, get feedback, meet like-minded music makers, and collaborate! If all this sounds useful to you, then head on over to our Online Apprenticeship page now.

Kate & Ray Harmony (AKA Revolution Harmony)
Music Teachers & Producers in Vancouver BC, Canada

RELATED
5 Hacks for Better Melodies
(7:23)
Step-by-Step Guide to Making Dorian Music (Playlist)

LEVELS
Level 1 - Read our free book (below) & watch our YouTube videos
Level 2 - Read our "Part 1" book & "Songwriting & Producing" PDF
Level 3 - Learn our secret art of songwhispering & finish your music

ABOUT
Hack Music Theory is a pioneering DAW method for making great music that stands out, so you can move and grow your audience! Taught by award-winning music lecturer Ray Harmony, and his protégé wife Kate Harmony, from their studio in Vancouver BC, Canada. Ray is the author of critically-acclaimed book series "Hack Music Theory", and has made music with Serj Tankian (System of a Down), Tom Morello (Rage Against the Machine), Steven Wilson (Porcupine Tree), Devin Townsend (Strapping Young Lad), Ihsahn (Emperor), Kool Keith (Ultramagnetic MCs), Madchild (Swollen Members), and many more! Kate has the highest grade distinction in Popular Music Theory from the London College of Music, and is the only person on the planet who's been trained by Ray to teach his method. On that note, the "Hack Music Theory" YouTube channel teaches relevant and instantly-usable music theory for producers, DAW users, and all other music makers (songwriters, singers, guitarists, bassists, drummers, etc.) in all genres, from EDM to R&B, pop to hip-hop, reggae to rock, electronic to metal (and yes, we djefinitely djent!).

COPYRIGHT
© 2019 Revolution Harmony
Revolution Harmony is Ray Harmony & Kate Harmony
All content (script & music) in video by Revolution Harmony
Yannis Philippakis (Foals) thumbnail photo by Nabil Elderkin

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“The most brilliant, fast, easy & fun music theory book I’ve ever seen!” DEREK SIVERS, CD Baby founder

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Feb 01 2019

5mins

Play

Rank #8: Use This Chord to Transform Your Progressions

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It’s easy to play a few chords that sound nice together. But those chord progressions are really bland, cos there’s no spice in them. So in this video, you’ll learn how to transform your progressions with one super spicy chord. But first… tea!

Hello revolutionary music makers, we are Kate Harmony and Ray Harmony (AKA Revolution Harmony), and welcome to Hack Music Theory. We help you make great music that stands out, so you can move and grow your audience! If that sounds useful to you, then subscribe to our YouTube channel and hit that bell to get notified every Thursday, when we publish our new video. Alright, let’s jump in...

Theory
French group DIRTYPHONICS just dropped their new single “Rise from the Dead”, which boasts two powerful hacks that make the chord progression seriously stand out. Firstly, they play each chord one note at a time (known as an “arpeggio”), which makes their progression sound like a melody. Secondly (and this is the hack you’ve been waiting for), they make the third chord in their progression super spicy, which builds a ton of tension that totally captivates you. And then when that tension is resolved with the fourth chord, you feel so amazingly satisfied! So, what chord can create this level of spicy sorcery? A diminished chord. But, this ain’t no ordinary run-of-the-mill diminished chord. No, this is a non-diatonic diminished chord! What the hell is that? Well you see, both the major and minor keys contain a diminished chord. And yes, that diminished chord is somewhat spicy and will create some tension, but, as it’s in the key (known as “diatonic”), its tension is somewhat limited. So in order to create that next-level tension that Dirtyphonics are bringing, you need to not only use a diminished chord, but a diminished chord that’s not in your key (known as “non-diatonic” or “chromatic”).

Set-Up
Alright, now you’re gonna learn how to use this theory to make your own version, and what you see on the screen right now is our version that we made earlier. So, start by setting up four bars of 4/4, with your grid set to 1/16 notes, and your tempo set to 75 BPM. The Dirtyphonics track is in the key of F minor, but we actually used A minor for our example, because A minor consists of only white notes, which means it’s easy to distinguish between the diatonic notes (i.e. in the key) which are white, and the non-diatonic notes (i.e. not in the key) which are black.

Step 1 - Chords
Dirtyphonics’ chords are based on a classic (and therefore, overused) minor key chord progression, which starts on the I (Am), and then drops down to the ♭VI (Fmaj), and then goes up to the ♭VII (Gmaj). And with such a friendly and familiar starting point, Dirtyphonics are able to throw in a mega dissonant chord, without the progression ending up too spicy. Here’s how they do it. They insert a non-diatonic diminished chord in between the two friendly major chords, which softens the spiciness of that non-diatonic diminished chord. And the chord we’re gonna insert there, is F♯dim*. And that F♯dim also creates these awesome ascending semitone steps, which add even more tension. And, notice how the Fmaj and F♯dim chords only have one different note, which makes that chord change super smooth, even though it’s such a spicy chord!

*If you’re interested in where F♯dim comes from: It’s a borrowed chord (i.e. a chord borrowed from a parallel mode) from A Dorian.

Step 2 - Arpeggios
Right, now that you’ve got your block chords, it’s time to break ‘em up into arpeggios, so let’s start with the first chord, Am. And Dirtyphonics break up the chords in their intro into 1/16 note arpeggios, in a very common grouping of 8+8. But, when they bring this chord progression back later in the song (at 2:08, if you wanna check it out), they do something very clever: they play their 1/16 note arpeggios in the unusual grouping of 6+6+4. And just for fun, we played ours in the unusual grouping of 7+4+4+1, but you can use whatever grouping you like for your arpeggios. And once you’ve worked out a grouping you like for your first chord, then apply that to the rest of your chords, like this. And lastly, for some extra melodic interest, and to add to the climbing feel of these arpeggios, we moved one of these high root notes of each chord up to the next note in the scale.

NEXT
Right, now that you’ve got one section down, how do you write more sections for it, and then, how do you transition between those sections, and turn 'em into a song? Great questions, and if this is something you need help with, then check out our cutting-edge online apprenticeship course, where you’ll literally learn every step of the music making process, and most importantly, you’ll learn how to finish your songs! You’ll also gain access to our private network, which is a safe online space (i.e. social media platform) exclusively for our 600+ apprentices from 50+ countries. Our Network is a super supportive place for you to ask theory questions, share your music, get feedback, meet like-minded music makers, and collaborate! If all this sounds useful to you, then head on over to our Online Apprenticeship page now.

Kate & Ray Harmony (AKA Revolution Harmony)
Music Teachers & Producers in Vancouver BC, Canada

RELATED
Lush String Sections
(5:18)
Uplifting Piano Chords (4:56)

LEVELS
Level 1 - Read our free book (below) & watch our YouTube videos
Level 2 - Read our "Part 1" book & "Songwriting & Producing" PDF
Level 3 - Learn our secret art of songwhispering & finish your music

ABOUT
Hack Music Theory is a pioneering DAW method for making great music that stands out, so you can move and grow your audience! Taught by award-winning music lecturer Ray Harmony, and his protégé wife Kate Harmony, from their studio in Vancouver BC, Canada. Ray is the author of critically-acclaimed book series "Hack Music Theory", and has made music with Serj Tankian (System of a Down), Tom Morello (Rage Against the Machine), Steven Wilson (Porcupine Tree), Devin Townsend (Strapping Young Lad), Ihsahn (Emperor), Kool Keith (Ultramagnetic MCs), Madchild (Swollen Members), and many more! Kate has the highest grade distinction in Popular Music Theory from the London College of Music, and is the only person on the planet who's been trained by Ray to teach his method. On that note, the "Hack Music Theory" YouTube channel teaches relevant and instantly-usable music theory for producers, DAW users, and all other music makers (songwriters, singers, guitarists, bassists, drummers, etc.) in all genres, from EDM to R&B, pop to hip-hop, reggae to rock, electronic to metal (and yes, we djefinitely djent!).

COPYRIGHT
© 2019 Revolution Harmony
Revolution Harmony is Ray Harmony & Kate Harmony
All content (script & music) in video by Revolution Harmony

Wooohooo!!! You’re a mere 30 minutes away from being even smarter than you already are. Just head on over to your inbox now for your free download.

There was an error submitting your subscription. Please try again.

 

“The most brilliant, fast, easy & fun music theory book I’ve ever seen!” DEREK SIVERS, CD Baby founder

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Feb 08 2019

6mins

Play

Rank #9: TOOL Polymeters • Fear Inoculum (Drums & Bass)

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Instead of watching reaction videos, why not learn a music theory hack from the new TOOL song, and how to use it to write odd time signature bass lines and drum beats! Subtitles/CC available.

WELCOME
Hello revolutionary music makers, we are Kate Harmony and Ray Harmony (AKA Revolution Harmony), and welcome to Hack Music Theory. We help you make great music that stands out, so you can move and grow your audience! If that sounds useful to you, then subscribe to our YouTube channel and hit that bell to get notified every Friday, when we publish our new video. Also, if you’re new to our channel, be sure to download our free book “12 Music Theory Hacks to Learn Scales & Chords” (link below). Alright, it’s time to open your DAW to hack music theory. But first… tea!

THEORY
In Tool’s epic ten-minute title track “Fear Inoculum”, there’s a standout section that starts at 5:49. We covered the guitar riff in last week’s lesson, so if you missed that please check it out, because the polymeter is actually created from that riff (which alternates between 12|8 and 5|4), playing over the bass and drums (which are in 11|8). While the riff sounds like it’s slowing down and speeding up (due to the pulse changing), the time signature of the rhythm section is constant. So, in this polymeter, those two layers line up with each other every second bar. This results in a super tasty syncopation when the bass and drums accent beat 1 of every other bar of 11|8, because the guitar doesn’t even play that beat. In fact, the 11|8 rhythm section perfectly lines up with the riff’s 12|8 bar right up until that twelfth 1/8 note, which then becomes beat 1 for the bass and drums, but not for the guitar.

PRACTICAL
Alright, now you’re gonna learn how to use this theory to make your own version. And for the example in this lesson, we’ll be using our version that we made earlier. So, start by setting up one bar of 12|8 and one bar of 5|4, with your grid set to 1|8 notes, and your tempo set to 150 BPM.

STEP 1. DRUMS
First things first, you’re probably wondering why you just set your time signature to 12|8 and 5|4, instead of 11|8. Well, the reason for that is so you can actually see the polymeter. In other words, setting your grid like this will reveal that super tasty syncopation, which results from this polymeter. Because, as you’ll notice in the second bar, beat 1 of the rhythm section is an 1/8 note earlier than beat 1 of the guitar. Right, so start by playing closed hats on all the 1/8 notes, except for one of them, which will be an open hat. Then, between any two hats, add a 1/16 closed hat for some spice. Next, add snare hits on the fourth 1/8 note and the tenth 1/8 note in each bar. This will ensure your listeners hear the 3+3+3+2 grouping that Tool use in their rhythm section. And finally, add kicks wherever you want, except for where there’s already a snare.

MORE
By the way, if you want help writing better drum grooves, then we’ve got two Drum PDFs (click & scroll down) for you, which both come with MIDI file examples as well!

STEP 2. BASS
As we mentioned in last week’s lesson, Tool are in the A Phrygian mode here, which is: A B♭ C D E F G. So you can choose any of those notes for your bass line, but start each bar on A, and be sure to also include B♭ and C, to get that dark Phrygian vibe. Now, regarding rhythm. The grouping here is the same as your drums: 3+3+3+2. And you wanna play 1/8 notes exclusively to match the energy of your drums, but include a few 1/8 note rests as well, to keep the rhythm fresh.

NEXT
Right, so now you’ve got a Tool-inspired rhythm section. Congratulations! But, if you wanna make a proper epic like “Fear Inoculum”, then you’ll need many more minutes of music! So, if you wanna learn how to write other sections (like a bridge) for an existing section, how to transition between sections (especially when they’re in different keys), and how to structure and arrange your song, then join our online apprenticeship course.

Kate & Ray Harmony (AKA Revolution Harmony)
Music Teachers & Producers in Vancouver BC, Canada

Take Your Music to the Next Level

LEVEL 1 – FREE BOOK
"12 Music Theory Hacks to Learn Scales & Chords" will give you a super solid music theory foundation in 30 minutes!

LEVEL 2 – SONGWRITING & PRODUCING PDF (click & scroll)
This is our best-selling PDF, which includes MIDI file examples. Learn the essential hacks for songwriting and producing, like our Melody Checklist (the ultimate list of do's and don'ts for writing great melodies). You'll also learn how to write chord progressions, bass lines, riffs, counterpoint harmonies, and more!

LEVEL 3 – LESSON PACKS
After learning our essential hacks, it's time to put them to practical use and start writing some new songs. Lesson packs include step-by-step PDF guides to making music for different instruments and in different genres (electronic, metal, soundtrack, etc.), as well as multitrack MIDI files of the examples.

LEVEL 4 – ONLINE APPRENTICESHIP
Go from a blank screen to a finished song, in this online video course. Learn how to write new sections for an existing section, how to transition between sections in different keys, how to structure and arrange, and much more! This course has been called "life-changing" many times, so join 700+ music makers now (from all genres), who are learning Ray's secret hack: Song Whispering.

ABOUT
Hack Music Theory is a pioneering DAW method for making great music that stands out, so you can move and grow your audience! Taught by multi-award-winning music lecturer Ray Harmony, and his protégé wife Kate Harmony, from their studio in Vancouver BC, Canada. Ray is the author of critically-acclaimed book series "Hack Music Theory", and has made music with Serj Tankian (System of a Down), Tom Morello (Rage Against the Machine), Steven Wilson (Porcupine Tree), Devin Townsend (Strapping Young Lad), Ihsahn (Emperor), Kool Keith (Ultramagnetic MCs), Madchild (Swollen Members), and many more! Kate has the highest grade distinction in Popular Music Theory from the London College of Music, and is the only person on the planet who's been trained by Ray to teach his method. On that note, the "Hack Music Theory" YouTube channel teaches relevant and instantly-usable music theory for producers, DAW users, and all other music makers (songwriters, singers, guitarists, bassists, drummers, etc.) in all genres, from EDM to R&B, pop to hip-hop, reggae to rock, electronic to metal (and yes, we djefinitely djent!).

COPYRIGHT
© 2019 Revolution Harmony
Revolution Harmony is Ray Harmony & Kate Harmony
All content (script & music) in video by Revolution Harmony
Thumbnail photo of Danny Carey by Lloyd Bishop / NBC

Wooohooo!!! You’re a mere 30 minutes away from being even smarter than you already are. Just head on over to your inbox now for your free download.

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“The most brilliant, fast, easy & fun music theory book I’ve ever seen!” DEREK SIVERS, CD Baby founder

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Aug 16 2019

4mins

Play

Rank #10: How to Turn an Idea into a Section

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Do you have an idea for a song, but you don’t know where to go next? Then learn how to write a song like a pro, with this new workflow series.

Hello revolutionary music makers, we are Kate Harmony and Ray Harmony (AKA Revolution Harmony), and welcome to Hack Music Theory. We help you make great music that stands out, so you can move and grow your audience! If that sounds useful to you, then subscribe to our YouTube channel (or Podcast) and hit that bell to get notified every Friday, when we publish our new video. Also, if you’re new to our channel, be sure to download our free book “12 Music Theory Hacks to Learn Scales & Chords” below. Alright, it’s time to open your DAW to hack music theory.

Wooohooo!!! You’re a mere 30 minutes away from being even smarter than you already are. Just head on over to your inbox now for your free download.

There was an error submitting your subscription. Please try again.

 

“The most brilliant, fast, easy & fun music theory book I’ve ever seen!” DEREK SIVERS, CD Baby founder

We use this field to detect spam bots. If you fill this in, you will be marked as a spammer. DOWNLOAD FREE BOOK /* Layout */ .ck_form { /* divider image */ background: #EAE9EA url(data:image/gif;base64,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) repeat-y center top; font-family: 'Montserrat'; line-height: 1.5em; overflow: hidden; color: #000000; font-size: 16px; border-top: none; border-top-color: #666666; border-bottom: none; border-bottom-color: #3d3d3d; -webkit-box-shadow: none; -moz-box-shadow: none; box-shadow: none; clear: both; margin: 0px 0px; } .ck_form, .ck_form * { -webkit-box-sizing: border-box; -moz-box-sizing: border-box; box-sizing: border-box; } #ck_subscribe_form { clear: both; } /* Element Queries — uses JS */ .ck_form_content, .ck_form_fields { width: 50%; float: left; padding: 5%; } .ck_form.ck_horizontal { } .ck_form_content { border-bottom: none; } .ck_form.ck_vertical { background: #fff; } .ck_vertical .ck_form_content, .ck_vertical .ck_form_fields { padding: 10%; width: 100%; float: none; } .ck_vertical .ck_form_content { border-bottom: 1px dotted #aaa; overflow: hidden; } /* Trigger the vertical layout with media queries as well */ @media all and (max-width: 499px) { .ck_form { background: #fff; } .ck_form_content, .ck_form_fields { padding: 10%; width: 100%; float: none; } .ck_form_content { border-bottom: 1px dotted #aaa; } } /* Content */ .ck_form_content h3 { margin: 0px 0px 0px; font-size: 0px; padding: 0px; } .ck_form_content p { font-size: 14px; } .ck_image { float: left; margin-right: 5px; } /* Form fields */ .ck_errorArea { display: none; } #ck_success_msg { padding: 10px 10px 0px; border: solid 1px #ddd; background: #eee; } .ck_label { font-size: 14px; font-weight: bold; } .ck_form input[type="text"] { font-size: 16px; text-align: center; margin-top: 20px; margin-bottom: 0px; padding: 8px 8px; width: 100%; border: 1px solid #d6d6d6; /* stroke */ -moz-border-radius: 4px; -webkit-border-radius: 4px; border-radius: 30px; /* border radius */ background-color: #fff; /* layer fill content */ height: auto; } .ck_form input[type="email"] { font-size: 16px; text-align: center; margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 15px; padding: 8px 8px; width: 100%; border: 1px solid #d6d6d6; /* stroke */ -moz-border-radius: 4px; -webkit-border-radius: 4px; border-radius: 30px; /* border radius */ background-color: #fff; /* layer fill content */ height: auto; } .ck_form input[type="text"]:focus, .ck_form input[type="email"]:focus { outline: none; border-color: #aaa; } .ck_checkbox { padding: 10px 0px 10px 20px; display: block; clear: both; } .ck_checkbox input.optIn { margin-left: -20px; margin-top: 0; } .ck_form .ck_opt_in_prompt { margin-left: 4px; } .ck_form .ck_opt_in_prompt p { display: inline; } .ck_form .ck_subscribe_button { width: 100%; color: #fff; margin: 0px 0px 0px; padding: 8px 8px; font-size: 18px; background: #d74128; -moz-border-radius: 4px; -webkit-border-radius: 4px; border-radius: 30px; /* border radius */ cursor: pointer; border: none; text-shadow: none; } .ck_form .ck_guarantee { color: #626262; font-size: 12px; text-align: center; padding: 5px 0px; display: block; } .ck_form .ck_powered_by { display: block; color: #aaa; } .ck_form .ck_powered_by:hover { display: block; color: #444; } .ck_converted_content { display: none; padding: 5%; background: #fff; } /* v6 */ .ck_form_v6 #ck_success_msg { padding: 0px 10px; } @media all and (max-width: 403px) { .ck_form_v6.ck_modal .ck_close_link { top: 30px; } } @media all and (min-width: 404px) and (max-width: 499px) { .ck_form_v6.ck_modal .ck_close_link { top: 57px; } }

Okay, so you’ve got an idea for a song, and you’ve got it programmed into your DAW, but what do you do next, and how do you turn that idea into a section? That’s what you’ll learn in this lesson. But first… tea!

INTRO
In last week’s lesson How to Start Writing a Song we showed you the workflow for starting a new song and getting it up and running in minutes, so if you missed that, check it out. So now we’re at the point where we have an idea, and it’s programmed into our DAW, but how do we grow that idea into a whole section? Easy, just follow these 3 steps:

STEP 1. RHYTHM
Right, so open your drum track that you wrote from last week’s lesson, then copy the rhythm of its most interesting bit. For ours, that’s definitely the irregular cymbal pattern, as our kick pattern is just a simple four-on-the-floor. However, if you went with a simpler cymbal pattern and a more interesting kick pattern, then copy the rhythm of your kicks instead. Next, paste that rhythm into your bass track, and move it to the note you want to make your root. And if you just hit play right now, you’ll notice it’s already sounding pretty damn cool.

STEP 2. CHORDS
Now that you’ve got the rhythm for your bass line, it’s time to choose a mode, and assign pitches to this rhythm that outline a chord progression. I know, you’re probably thinking: Chords?! Yep, in order to write a great bass line, you need to be thinking about its harmony, which will in turn start writing your chord progression for you (and that’s actually next week’s lesson, where you’ll learn how to finish this section). Right, so we went with the Aeolian mode, and the chords we chose are: I → ♭VII → IV → ♭III. Also, be sure to change chords on interesting beats, instead of the predictable beat 1 and beat 3.

STEP 3. MELODY
Alright, now that you have the harmony for your bass line, it’s time to turn that into a melody, cos a bass line that only plays the root note of each chord is a boring bass line. Now, there’s many ways to turn this into a melody, but they all involve adding some notes to create an interesting melodic contour. We actually chose the very conventional Aeolian mode in step 2, because we wanted to add chromaticism here, which is extra spicy, so there was no need for a spicy mode to start with. And by the way, chromaticism is just a fancy way of saying you’re playing one or more notes that are not in your mode. We added the ♭2, 7, ♭5, and 3. And this passing note at the end here looks like a chromatic note, but it’s not, it’s just the 2.

NEXT
If you wanna learn everything you need to know about modes in three simple hacks, then check out our Songwriting & Producing PDF (click & scroll down). It also contains hacks on how to write bass lines, chord progressions, riffs, melodies, counterpoint harmonies, and more, and it comes with MIDI examples too!

Kate & Ray Harmony (AKA Revolution Harmony)
Music Teachers & Producers in Vancouver BC, Canada

Take Your Music to the Next Level

LEVEL 1 – FREE BOOK
"12 Music Theory Hacks to Learn Scales & Chords" will give you a super solid music theory foundation in 30 minutes!

LEVEL 2 – SONGWRITING & PRODUCING PDF (click & scroll)
This is our best-selling PDF, which includes MIDI file examples. Learn the essential hacks for songwriting and producing, like our Melody Checklist (the ultimate list of do's and don'ts for writing great melodies). You'll also learn how to write chord progressions, bass lines, riffs, counterpoint harmonies, and more!

LEVEL 3 – LESSON PACKS
After learning our essential hacks, it's time to put them to practical use and start writing some new songs. Lesson packs include step-by-step PDF guides to making music for different instruments and in different genres (electronic, metal, soundtrack, etc.), as well as multitrack MIDI files of the examples.

LEVEL 4 – ONLINE APPRENTICESHIP
Go from a blank screen to a finished song, in this online video course. Learn how to write new sections for an existing section, how to transition between sections in different keys, how to structure and arrange, and much more! This course has been called "life-changing" many times, so join 700+ music makers now (from all genres), who are learning Ray's secret hack: Song Whispering.

ABOUT
Hack Music Theory is a pioneering DAW method for making great music that stands out, so you can move and grow your audience! Taught by multi-award-winning music lecturer Ray Harmony, and his protégé wife Kate Harmony, from their studio in Vancouver BC, Canada. Ray is the author of critically-acclaimed book series "Hack Music Theory", and has made music with Serj Tankian (System of a Down), Tom Morello (Rage Against the Machine), Steven Wilson (Porcupine Tree), Devin Townsend (Strapping Young Lad), Ihsahn (Emperor), Kool Keith (Ultramagnetic MCs), Madchild (Swollen Members), and many more! Kate has the highest grade distinction in Popular Music Theory from the London College of Music, and is the only person on the planet who's been trained by Ray to teach his method. On that note, the "Hack Music Theory" YouTube channel teaches relevant and instantly-usable music theory for producers, DAW users, and all other music makers (songwriters, singers, guitarists, bassists, drummers, etc.) in all genres, from EDM to R&B, pop to hip-hop, reggae to rock, electronic to metal (and yes, we djefinitely djent!).

COPYRIGHT
© 2019 Revolution Harmony
Revolution Harmony is Ray Harmony & Kate Harmony
All content (script & music) in video by Revolution Harmony

Sep 20 2019

4mins

Play

Rank #11: Leprous “Pitfalls” Melody (Music Theory)

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Learn how to write a melody for an epic chorus, by using a music theory hack from Leprous “Alleviate” (off their new album “Pitfalls”).

Hello revolutionary music makers, we are Kate Harmony and Ray Harmony (AKA Revolution Harmony), and welcome to Hack Music Theory. We help you make great music that stands out, so you can move and grow your audience! If that sounds useful to you, then subscribe to our YouTube channel (or Podcast) and hit that bell to get notified every Friday, when we publish our new lesson.

FREE BOOK
If it's your first time here, be sure to download our free book “12 Music Theory Hacks to Learn Scales & Chords” below. It only takes 30 minutes to read, and then you'll have a super solid music theory foundation!

Wooohooo!!! You’re a mere 30 minutes away from being even smarter than you already are. Just head on over to your inbox now for your free download.

There was an error submitting your subscription. Please try again.

 

“The most brilliant, fast, easy & fun music theory book I’ve ever seen!” DEREK SIVERS, CD Baby founder

We use this field to detect spam bots. If you fill this in, you will be marked as a spammer. 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SETUP
In last week’s lesson you learned how to write an epic chord progression, so now you’re gonna learn how to write an epic melody for it. And this theory hack is inspired by the chorus of recent single “Alleviate” by the awesome Norwegian band Leprous. But, the example in this lesson is actually our music, which we wrote using their theory. Right, so start by setting up eight bars of 4/4, with your grid set to 1/8 notes, and your tempo set to 116 BPM. Leprous use D natural minor for their chorus, and the natural minor scale is a common choice for epic music, so we’ll use it too.

STEP 1. ONCE UPON A TIME
Epic music sounds epic, because it tells an epic musical story. And when it comes to telling a story, you don’t just jump right into the best part, you first have to set the scene. So, start your melody with a short “Once upon a time...” phrase. We started our melody with a motif centered around one semitone intervals. And whatever you do for your “Once upon a time...” phrase, just be sure to use small intervals, as this phrase is intended to set things up without grabbing any attention.

STEP 2. THE MOUNTAIN
All great stories have a massive obstacle, which the main character needs to overcome in order to transform into the hero. Sometimes the obstacle is internal, sometimes external, but it always involves climbing a metaphorical mountain, or sometimes an actual mountain, quite literally. So, now that you’ve set the scene for your story, it’s time to introduce the mountain. And musically, there’s no better way to do this than a huge interval, as that instantly injects a ton of drama, while catapulting your listeners to the top of that musical mountain. Leprous use the very beautiful minor 6th interval here, but you can use a 6th or 7th. We actually used a major 6th here.

MELODY CHECKLIST
If you want the ultimate list of dos and don’ts for writing great melodies, then use the Melody Checklist in our Songwriting & Producing PDF (click and scroll down). And that PDF also contains hacks on how to write great chord progressions, bass lines, counterpoint harmony, and all the other essential songwriting and producing hacks, as well as MIDI file examples.

STEP 3. TAKE IT HOME
Alright, now that your listeners have summited that mountain and become heroes, it’s time to take them home, safely. This involves a slow and steady descent back home, but with a couple 1/8 notes, to avoid a possible anticlimax after that peak.

STEP 4. THE SEQUEL
Right, now that you’ve written your epic melody over four bars, it’s time for the sequel. So, when you take your listeners through bars 5 to 8, you need a variation in order to create that magic balance of familiarity and freshness. And the best place to make your variation is when you’re taking it home the second time. So, on your slow and steady descent, simply change up a few pitches and their note values.

NEXT 
So, now that you’ve got one section coming together, how do you write the other sections? Then, how do you transition between them (especially when they’re in different keys)? And then, how do you structure and arrange your song? These are issues many songwriters and producers struggle with, and that’s exactly why we made our online apprenticeship course, which guides you through every step of the music making process, from blank screen to finished song. So, if you wanna learn our secret method for writing (and finishing) great songs, which we don’t teach in these free lessons, then sign up now for our one-of-a-kind online apprenticeship course.

Thanks for reading/watching/listening, and we’ll see you next week!

Kate & Ray Harmony (AKA Revolution Harmony)
Music Teachers & Producers in Vancouver BC, Canada

Take Your Music to the Next Level

LEVEL 1 – FREE BOOK
"12 Music Theory Hacks to Learn Scales & Chords" will give you a super solid music theory foundation in 30 minutes!

LEVEL 2 – SONGWRITING & PRODUCING PDF (click & scroll down)
This is our best-selling PDF, which includes MIDI file examples. Learn the essential hacks for songwriting & producing, like our Melody Checklist (the ultimate list of do's and don'ts for writing great melodies). You'll also learn how to write chord progressions, bass lines, riffs, counterpoint harmonies, and more!

LEVEL 3 – LESSON PACKS
After learning our essential hacks, it's time to put them to practical use and start writing some new songs. Lesson packs include step-by-step PDF guides to making music for different instruments and in different genres (electronic, metal, soundtrack, etc.), as well as multitrack MIDI files of the examples.

LEVEL 4 – ONLINE APPRENTICESHIP
Go from a blank screen to a finished song, in this online video course. Learn how to write new sections for an existing section, how to transition between sections in different keys, how to structure and arrange, and much more! This course has been called "life-changing" many times, so join 800+ music makers now (from all genres), who are learning Ray's secret hack: Song Whispering.

ABOUT
Hack Music Theory is a pioneering DAW method for making great music that stands out, so you can move and grow your audience! Taught by multi-award-winning music lecturer Ray Harmony, and his protégé wife Kate Harmony, from their studio in Vancouver BC, Canada. Ray is the author of critically-acclaimed book series "Hack Music Theory", and has made music with Serj Tankian (System of a Down), Tom Morello (Rage Against the Machine), Steven Wilson (Porcupine Tree), Devin Townsend (Strapping Young Lad), Ihsahn (Emperor), Kool Keith (Ultramagnetic MCs), Madchild (Swollen Members), and many more! Kate has the highest grade distinction in Popular Music Theory from the London College of Music, and is the only person on the planet who's been trained by Ray to teach his method. On that note, Hack Music Theory teaches relevant and instantly-usable music theory for producers, songwriters, DAW users, and all other music makers (guitarists, bassists, singers, drummers, etc.) in all genres, from EDM to R&B, pop to hip-hop, reggae to rock, electronic to metal (and yes, we djefinitely djent!).

COPYRIGHT
© 2019 Revolution Harmony
Revolution Harmony is Ray Harmony & Kate Harmony
All content (script & music) in video by Revolution Harmony
Thumbnail photo of Einar Solberg from “Alleviate” music video

Nov 15 2019

5mins

Play

Rank #12: How to Write an Unpredictable Melody

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Learn how to write a non-diatonic melody, using a music theory hack from TheFatRat “Chosen” (ft. Anna Yvette & Laura Brehm).

DOWNLOAD PDF + WAV + MIDI FROM THIS VIDEO

THEORY
German producer TheFatRat dropped his new single “Chosen” this month, which definitely avoids Spotify’s infamous five-second skip rate, as a mere four seconds into the track there’s an extremely unexpected note in the melody that’s totally thrilling! At first it sounds like he’s changing the quality of the root chord from major to minor, cos after establishing E as the root, the melody moves from G♯ (3) to G♮ (♭3), making it sound like Emaj has become Em. But after that G♮ and another E, instead of going to B again, his melody hits C♮ (not C♯), revealing the chord has actually become Cmaj/E (♭VImaj), not Em. This is an ingenious illusion, as he emphasizes the melodic movement from G♯ to G♮ in order to trick our ears into thinking the root chord quality has changed!

SETUP
Alright, now you’re gonna learn how to use this theory to make your own version, and what you see below is our version that we made earlier. So, start by setting up four bars of 4/4, with your grid set to 1/32 notes, and your tempo set to 95 BPM. As you already know, “Chosen” is in the key of E major (with a couple of non-diatonic notes), so we’ll use E major as well. And by the way, a non-diatonic note is just a note that is not in the scale. Also, those dark notes below our melody are the root notes of the chords in our progression (which are on another track). These root notes are all muted, they’re just there for reference. And no, this is not our bass line, that’s a different melody (see MIDI file).

STEP 1.  THE CHORDS
First things first, you need to write your chord progression. Choosing your chords before you write your melody will allow you to outline that harmony in your melody, which will make it more structured and therefore more memorable. So there’s only a few guidelines here: play Emaj in your first bar (to establish it as the root chord), and play Cmaj in your third bar. Also, after you’ve played the Cmaj, keep using those non-diatonic notes C♮ and G♮ until the end of your progression. For example, use Am (as it contains C♮) instead of Amaj (as it contains C♯). This will make your listeners get used to those non-diatonic notes, then when you loop around and hit that Emaj, they’ll be surprised to hear G♯ again, which will keep ‘em interested!

STEP 2.  THE MELODY
TheFatRat uses 1/32 notes (with a rest after each note), which makes his melody super perky, so we’ll do the same. So, start by outlining the Emaj triad, then to keep it fresh, throw in a note (or two) that is not in the triad but is in the scale (like D♯). Then use the same approach over your other chords. And be sure to emphasize the G♯ moving to G♮ when the Cmaj chord hits. Also, don’t play C♮ in your melody until you get to the Cmaj, otherwise that’ll ruin the surprise of that totally unexpected chord.

NEXT
Okay, so now that you’ve got one section down, how do you write the other sections? How do you transition between them (especially when they’re in different keys)? And, how do you structure and arrange your song? These are issues that many songwriters and producers struggle with, and that’s exactly why we made our online course Apprenticeship #1. So, if you wanna overcome these obstacles once and for all, then sign up now!

Kate & Ray Harmony (AKA Revolution Harmony)
Music Teachers & Producers in Vancouver BC, Canada

LEVELS
Level 1 - Read our free book (below) & watch our YouTube videos
Level 2 - Read our "Part 1" book & "Songwriting & Producing" PDF
Level 3 - Practice making music using our lessons (PDF+MIDI+WAV)
Level 4 - Learn our secret art of song-whispering & finish your music

ABOUT
Hack Music Theory is a pioneering DAW method for making great music that stands out, so you can move and grow your audience! Taught by award-winning music lecturer Ray Harmony, and his protégé wife Kate Harmony, from their studio in Vancouver BC, Canada. Ray is the author of critically-acclaimed book series "Hack Music Theory", and has made music with Serj Tankian (System of a Down), Tom Morello (Rage Against the Machine), Steven Wilson (Porcupine Tree), Devin Townsend (Strapping Young Lad), Ihsahn (Emperor), Kool Keith (Ultramagnetic MCs), Madchild (Swollen Members), and many more! Kate has the highest grade distinction in Popular Music Theory from the London College of Music, and is the only person on the planet who's been trained by Ray to teach his method. On that note, the "Hack Music Theory" YouTube channel teaches relevant and instantly-usable music theory for producers, DAW users, and all other music makers (songwriters, singers, guitarists, bassists, drummers, etc.) in all genres, from EDM to R&B, pop to hip-hop, reggae to rock, electronic to metal (and yes, we djefinitely djent!).

COPYRIGHT
© 2019 Revolution Harmony
Revolution Harmony is Ray Harmony & Kate Harmony
All content (script & music) in video by Revolution Harmony
Thumbnail photograph by Steve Galli

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“The most brilliant, fast, easy & fun music theory book I’ve ever seen!” DEREK SIVERS, CD Baby founder

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Mar 28 2019

4mins

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Rank #13: Uplifting Piano Chord Progression: Music Theory from Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross (Mid90s Soundtrack)

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When you try to write a "happy" chord progression, does it end up sounding cheesy, like the theme song for a kid’s TV show? Then we’ve got a hack for you that’ll turn your kid’s chords into mature and sincere progressions. But first… tea!

Hello revolutionaries, I’m Kate Harmony, this is Ray Harmony, and welcome to Hack Music Theory. This channel helps you make great music that stands out, so you can get discovered! Alright, it’s time to open your DAW to hack music theory.

THEORY
In their new song “The Start of Things” (from the “mid90s” soundtrack, which just dropped this weekend), Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross lift you up into the clouds with their ethereal piano part. How do they make their chord progression sound so uplifting, yet so sincere? Well, they play back and forth between the root chords of the two most uplifting major modes: Lydian and Ionian. They use D Lydian and A Ionian (which are relatives), and that creates the illusion of their progression being in both modes (which is double happy!). However, Lydian’s dissonant ♯4 counters that with its incredible tension, adding maturity and sincerity.

And by the way, if you need help understanding the modes, then check out the modes hack in our Songwriting & Producing PDF (click and then scroll down), which also contains all our top music making hacks! And if you need help with the basics first, then read our free book on scales and chords, which you can download below.

STEP 1:  LEFT-HAND (BASS)
Set up eight bars of 4/4, with your grid set to 1/8 notes, and your tempo set to 87 BPM. “The Start of Things” only uses two chords, Dmaj and Amaj, so we’ll use them as the basis for our version as well. Start by ping-ponging between a low D and the D an octave higher. Do this for two bars, and then do the same on A for two bars. Next, copy and paste those four bars into the second half. You’ll notice at the end of every second bar, we’ve moved a few notes. This is just to make the chord changes a little more interesting, so feel free to do that too. Now, Trent Reznor has a favourite technique (which we like to call “four-on-the-chords”), where he plays the 1/4 note pulse on the chords. This creates a pumping momentum over which he then plays (or sings) a beautiful melody. Trent’s four-on-the-chords technique aptly stretches back to his mid-90’s masterpiece “Hurt”. And you can definitely see that technique in action here, with those low 1/4 notes in the left hand.

STEP 2:  RIGHT-HAND (MELODY)
First things first, it is absolutely essential that over the Dmaj chord you play the ♯4 (which is G♯), as this is the magical Lydian note, and it’s super dissonant, so it will single-handedly prevent your melody from sounding like the theme tune for a kid’s TV show*. Other than that, be sure to play the 3 (which is F♯) for that happy vibe, and the 2 (which is E) for that dreamy vibe, then the rest is up to you. Next, over the Amaj chord, keep it simple and just play a couple notes, like we did with the 3 (which is C♯), and the 2 (which is B). Then finally, in the second half, build up your melody to a climax, perhaps a high 3 (which is C♯) over that last Amaj chord. And if you wanna kick up your build even more, throw in a few 1/16 notes, and maybe even some 1/32 notes (but don’t tell Trent about the 1/32 notes, that’ll be our little secret haha!).

*Yes kids, it’s true... The Simpsons theme tune uses the ♯4, but that’s a show for mummy and daddy!

NEXT
Right, now that you’ve got one section down, how do you write a new section for it, and then, how do you transition between those two sections? Great questions, and if this is something you need help with, then check out our cutting-edge online apprenticeship course, where you’ll literally learn every step of the music making process, and most importantly, you’ll learn how to finish your songs! You’ll also gain access to our Private Network, which is a safe social media platform exclusively for our apprentices (and we already have over 400 apprentices, from over 40 countries). Our Network is a super supportive place for you to ask theory questions, share your music, get feedback, meet like-minded music makers, and more! So if all that sounds useful to you, then head on over to our Online Apprenticeship page now.

Kate & Ray Harmony (AKA Revolution Harmony)
Music Teachers & Producers in Vancouver BC, Canada

LEARN
Level 1: Read our free book (below) & watch our YouTube videos
Level 2: Read our "Part 1" book & "Songwriting & Producing" PDF
Level 3: Learn our secret art of songwhispering & finish your music!

ABOUT
Learn how to make great music that stands out, so you can get discovered! Taught by award-winning music lecturer Ray Harmony, and his protégé (and wife) Kate Harmony. Ray is the author of critically-acclaimed book series "Hack Music Theory" and has been teaching music theory for 24 years, and along the way he's made music with Serj Tankian (System Of A Down), Tom Morello (Rage Against The Machine), Steven Wilson (Porcupine Tree), Devin Townsend (Strapping Young Lad), Ihsahn (Emperor), Kool Keith (Ultramagnetic MCs), Madchild (Swollen Members) and many more! Kate has the highest grade distinction in Popular Music Theory from the London College of Music, and is the only person on the planet who's been trained by Ray to teach his Hack Music Theory method! While our YouTube lessons teach music theory for producers and DAW users, they are designed to accommodate all music makers (songwriters, guitarists, etc.) and all genres, from Electronic Music to R&B, Pop to Hip-Hop, Reggae to Rock, EDM/Dance to Metal (and yes, we djefinitely Djent!).

Photo of Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross by Michael Buckner/Deadline/REX/Shutterstock

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“The most brilliant, fast, easy & fun music theory book I’ve ever seen!” DEREK SIVERS, CD Baby founder

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Oct 20 2018

4mins

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Rank #14: TOOL “Fear Inoculum” Music Theory (Guitar Riffs)

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Can you believe it? After 13 years, there’s finally new music from Tool. So in this lesson you’ll learn a music theory hack from TOOL “Fear Inoculum”, and how to use it to write your own odd time signature riffs and polymeters! Subtitles/CC available.

WELCOME
Hello revolutionary music makers, we are Kate Harmony and Ray Harmony (AKA Revolution Harmony), and welcome to Hack Music Theory. We help you make great music that stands out, so you can move and grow your audience! If that sounds useful to you, then subscribe to our YouTube channel and hit that bell to get notified every Friday, when we publish our new video. Also, if you’re new to our channel, be sure to download our free book “12 Music Theory Hacks to Learn Scales & Chords” below. Alright, it’s time to open your DAW to hack music theory. But first… tea!

THEORY
In Tool’s epic ten-minute title track “Fear Inoculum”, there’s a standout section that starts at 5:49. Its foundation is a super tasty 11|8 drum groove (which we’ll hack next time, so stay tuned). The bass line in this section is also in 11|8 and locks in with the drums, creating a tight and energetic rhythm section. Above that, Adam Jones plays some classic Tool-style guitar, centred around the open A string. But the coolest thing about his riff, is that it’s not in 11|8, it alternates between 12|8 and 5|4. This makes the riff feel like it’s speeding up and slowing down, because 12|8 has a pulse of dotted 1/4 notes, while 5|4 has a faster pulse of 1/4 notes. And all this is happening in that polymeter of the guitar playing 12|8 and 5|4 against the rhythm section playing 11/8, which creates crazy syncopation!

PRACTICAL
Alright, now you’re gonna learn how to use this theory to make your own version. And for the example in this lesson, we’ll be using our version that we made earlier. So, start by setting up four bars that alternate between 12|8 and 5|4, with your grid set to 1|8 notes, and your tempo set to 150 BPM. Tool uses A Phrygian for this section, so we’ll use it too.

STEP 1. THE 12|8
The magic of this riff is as much in the rhythm as it is in the pitches, so you’ll write the rhythm first, then add the pitches afterwards. We’ll start with the bar of 12|8, which consists of four dotted 1/4 notes. And if you’re new to dotted notes, a dotted 1/4 note equals three 1/8 notes. Now that you’ve got the rhythm for your 12|8, it’s time to assign pitches. Adam used the Phrygian mode here, cos it has a dark vibe. And if you’re new to modes, A Phrygian is: A B♭ C D E F G. So choose any of those notes, but be sure to start on the open A string, and include the ♭2.

MORE
By the way, if you wanna learn everything you need to know about modes in three simple hacks, then check out our Songwriting & Producing PDF (click & scroll down). It also contains hacks on how to write guitar riffs, bass lines, chord progressions, melodies, counterpoint and more, and it comes with MIDI examples too!

STEP 2. THE 5|4
Now, here’s the bit where your riff is gonna sound like it’s speeding up, cos the pulse changes to 1/4 notes in this bar. So, for your rhythm, you can play a combination of 1/4 notes and 1/8 notes. And the more 1/8 notes you play, the more energy you’ll inject. Then after you’ve written your rhythm, it’s time to assign pitches, and once again, you can play any notes from A Phrygian, but be sure to include A and B♭. And here’s a couple bonus hacks. To get that classic Tool sound, you can create some harmonic dissonance by lengthening the low A in your 12|8 bars, so the other notes are played over the top of it. When you hit that high B♭ over that low A, it’s so Tool! But if you want even more Tool, then bend into that high B♭ from the high A.

NEXT
Right, so now you’ve got a Tool-inspired riff. Congratulations! But, if you wanna make a proper epic like “Fear Inoculum”, then you’ll need many more minutes of music! So, if you wanna learn how to write other sections (like a bridge) for an existing section, how to transition between sections (especially when they’re in different keys), and how to structure and arrange your song, then join our online apprenticeship course.

Kate & Ray Harmony (AKA Revolution Harmony)
Music Teachers & Producers in Vancouver BC, Canada

Take Your Music to the Next Level

LEVEL 1 – FREE BOOK
"12 Music Theory Hacks to Learn Scales & Chords" will give you a super solid music theory foundation in 30 minutes!

LEVEL 2 – SONGWRITING & PRODUCING PDF (click & scroll)
This is our best-selling PDF, which includes MIDI file examples. Learn the essential hacks for songwriting and producing, like our Melody Checklist (the ultimate list of do's and don'ts for writing great melodies). You'll also learn how to write chord progressions, bass lines, riffs, counterpoint harmonies, and more!

LEVEL 3 – LESSON PACKS
After learning our essential hacks, it's time to put them to practical use and start writing some new songs. Lesson packs include step-by-step PDF guides to making music for different instruments and in different genres (electronic, metal, soundtrack, etc.), as well as multitrack MIDI files of the examples.

LEVEL 4 – ONLINE APPRENTICESHIP
Go from a blank screen to a finished song, in this online video course. Learn how to write new sections for an existing section, how to transition between sections in different keys, how to structure and arrange, and much more! This course has been called "life-changing" many times, so join 700+ music makers now (from all genres), who are learning Ray's secret hack: Song Whispering.

ABOUT
Hack Music Theory is a pioneering DAW method for making great music that stands out, so you can move and grow your audience! Taught by multi-award-winning music lecturer Ray Harmony, and his protégé wife Kate Harmony, from their studio in Vancouver BC, Canada. Ray is the author of critically-acclaimed book series "Hack Music Theory", and has made music with Serj Tankian (System of a Down), Tom Morello (Rage Against the Machine), Steven Wilson (Porcupine Tree), Devin Townsend (Strapping Young Lad), Ihsahn (Emperor), Kool Keith (Ultramagnetic MCs), Madchild (Swollen Members), and many more! Kate has the highest grade distinction in Popular Music Theory from the London College of Music, and is the only person on the planet who's been trained by Ray to teach his method. On that note, the "Hack Music Theory" YouTube channel teaches relevant and instantly-usable music theory for producers, DAW users, and all other music makers (songwriters, singers, guitarists, bassists, drummers, etc.) in all genres, from EDM to R&B, pop to hip-hop, reggae to rock, electronic to metal (and yes, we djefinitely djent!).

COPYRIGHT
© 2019 Revolution Harmony
Revolution Harmony is Ray Harmony & Kate Harmony
All content (script & music) in video by Revolution Harmony
Thumbnail photo by Mick Hutson

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“The most brilliant, fast, easy & fun music theory book I’ve ever seen!” DEREK SIVERS, CD Baby founder

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Aug 09 2019

5mins

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Rank #15: Magic Hack for Better Bass Lines

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A great bass line is not only the music’s foundation, it’s also what gets the party started! But, it takes a very repetitive rhythm to get people moving. So in this video, you’ll learn a magic hack for writing bass lines that move people, without boring them. But first…

A quick announcement. Our Black Friday sale is pumping all weekend long (23-26 November 2018), so head on over to our Online Course page and our Books + PDFs page to grab 40% off everything - yes, all our PDFs, our book “Hack Music Theory, Part 1”, and our bestseller, the online Apprenticeship course, which has been called “life-changing” numerous times! So, are you ready to take your music to new heights? Then get involved now. But first… tea!

Hello revolutionaries, we are Kate Harmony and Ray Harmony (AKA Revolution Harmony), and welcome to Hack Music Theory. We help you make great music that stands out, so you can get discovered! If that sounds useful to you, then subscribe to our YouTube channel and hit that bell to get notified every Saturday, when we publish our new video. Alright, it’s time to open your DAW to hack music theory.

THEORY
In Karma Fields’ new track “An Underground System of Forgotten Machines” that just dropped yesterday, the bass line gets your head bobbing before the end of bar one, literally. How? Well, he uses a very clever hack that allows him to deliver the maximum dose of repetition, because the variation is disguised as repetition. Wait, what? Let me explain. He uses the shortest possible rhythmic segment (two notes), which he then repeats over two bars. Next, he assigns three pitches to this rhythm. Now, here’s where the magic happens. Most other producers would simply loop this two-bar bass line and call it a day, but not Karma Fields! He loops only the rhythm, then re-assigns the same pitches, but in a different order. Boom!

Step 1 - Repetition
Set up four bars of 4/4, with your grid set to 1/16 notes, and your tempo set to 97 BPM. Karma Fields uses the notes D♯, E and F for his main bass line. So we’re gonna do something similar, but a little different: we’ll use F as our root note, and Phrygian as our mode. And on that note (or mode), if you need help understanding the modes, then check out the modes hack in our Songwriting & Producing PDF (click & scroll down), which contains all our top music making hacks as well! But if you need help with the basics first, then read our free book on scales and chords (free download below). Alright, so start by creating a short rhythmic segment, using one 1/8 note and one 1/16 note, in whichever order you want. Next, loop those two notes over bar one. You’ll be left with a 1/16 note open at the end, and that’s where you throw in a couple 1/8 notes to change things up a bit as you head into bar two. This also creates an awesome syncopation, as you don’t play the 1st beat of bar two. Then, continue looping your original two-note rhythmic segment over bar two. And once again you’ll be left with a 1/16 note open at the end, but this time, draw in a 1/16 note there. And that concludes your two-bar rhythm, so you can now loop it over bars three and four. 

Step 2 - Magic
Right, now you’re gonna assign three pitches to your rhythm. Let’s use the root note (F), the ♭2 (G♭), and the ♭7 (E♭). And here’s how you’re gonna create your contour: start on the root, then go up, then go back to the root, and then go down. And to make it even more interesting, play the highest and lowest notes twice every time you get to them. So in other words, you’re gonna start with one F, then go up to two G♭s, then back down to one F, and then down to two E♭s. Keep this pattern going for the whole two-bar rhythm. And that is your first bass line. Now, here’s where the magic drops. In bars three and four, you’re gonna turn that contour upside down. So, you’re gonna start with one F, then go down to two E♭s, then back up to one F, and then up to two G♭s. Keep this pattern going for the whole two-bar rhythm. And that is your second bass line. Now, let’s keep this between the three of us, but here’s how this magic trick works. Your listeners will perceive these two bass lines as being the same, because of their shared rhythm and pitches. However, their different contours will prevent them from getting boring. Boom!

NEXT
Right, now that you’ve got one section down, how do you write more sections for it, and then, how do you transition between those sections, and turn 'em into a song? Great questions, and if this is something you need help with, then check out our cutting-edge online apprenticeship course, where you’ll literally learn every step of the music making process, and most importantly, you’ll learn how to finish your songs! You’ll also gain access to our Private Network, which is a safe online space (i.e. social media platform) exclusively for our 400+ apprentices from 40+ countries. Our Network is a super supportive place for you to ask theory questions, share your music, get feedback, meet like-minded music makers, and collaborate! If all this sounds useful to you, then head on over to our Online Apprenticeship page now.

Kate & Ray Harmony (AKA Revolution Harmony)
Music Teachers & Producers in Vancouver BC, Canada

LEARN
Level 1: Read our free book (below) & watch our YouTube videos
Level 2: Read our "Part 1" book & "Songwriting & Producing" PDF
Level 3: Learn our secret art of songwhispering & finish your music

ABOUT
Hack Music Theory is the pioneering notation-free method for making great music that stands out, so you can get discovered! Taught by award-winning music lecturer Ray Harmony, and his protégé (and wife) Kate Harmony, from their studio in Vancouver BC, Canada. Ray is the author of critically-acclaimed book series "Hack Music Theory", and has made music with Serj Tankian (System of a Down), Tom Morello (Rage Against the Machine), Steven Wilson (Porcupine Tree), Devin Townsend (Strapping Young Lad), Ihsahn (Emperor), Kool Keith (Ultramagnetic MCs), Madchild (Swollen Members), and many more! Kate has the highest grade distinction in Popular Music Theory from the London College of Music, and is the only person on the planet who's been trained by Ray to teach his method. On that note, the "Hack Music Theory" YouTube channel teaches relevant and instantly-usable music theory for producers, DAW users, and all other music makers (songwriters, singers, guitarists, bassists, drummers, etc.) in all genres, from EDM to R&B, pop to hip-hop, reggae to rock, electronic to metal (and yes, we djefinitely djent!).

COPYRIGHT
© 2018 Revolution Harmony
Revolution Harmony is Ray Harmony & Kate Harmony
All content (script & music) in video by Revolution Harmony

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Nov 24 2018

6mins

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Rank #16: Black Eyed Peas “Be Nice” (feat. Snoop Dogg) Music Theory

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Learn how to write an uplifting bass line, using a music theory hack from Black Eyed Peas “Be Nice” ft. Snoop Dogg (written by Adam Friedman for Songland TV show). Subtitles/CC available.

Hello revolutionary music makers, we are Kate Harmony and Ray Harmony (AKA Revolution Harmony), and welcome to Hack Music Theory. We help you make great music that stands out, so you can move and grow your audience! If that sounds useful to you, then subscribe to our YouTube channel and hit that bell to get notified every Thursday, when we publish our new video. Also, if you’re new to our channel, be sure to download our free book “12 Music Theory Hacks to Learn Scales & Chords” below. Alright, it’s time to open your DAW to hack music theory. But first… tea!

INTRO
The new single “Be Nice” from The Black Eyed Peas (which was written by Adam Friedman for the Songland TV show), has a super fun bass line that’s not only the central focus of the song, but it’s also perfect for conveying the super positive message behind the lyrics. So what makes this bass line feel so good? Well, there’s a few things, like the fact that it’s built around an ascending line, which is literally uplifting. But far more interesting than that, is the fact that the bass line is in a minor key. And as you probably know, major keys are usually used in feel good songs like this. So how do they make a minor key feel so uplifting? Easy, they made the song for dancing, and when we move to music, we feel good. So to get people dancing, they used lots of syncopation in their bass line, and that makes it really funky. And by the way, syncopation is when you accent an off-beat. Also, most funk bass lines are actually in minor keys, cos funk’s favourite notes are the 1, the ♭3 and the ♭7. And lastly, to emphasise all those off-beats in the bass line, the drums accent all the 1/4 note beats by playing the classic four-on-the-floor groove.

SETUP
Alright, now you’re gonna learn how to use this theory to make your own version. And for the example in this lesson, we’ll be using our version that we made earlier. So, start by setting up two bars of 4/4, with your grid set to 1/16 notes, and your tempo set to 105 BPM. “Be Nice” is in the key of F minor, so we’ll use it too.

STEP 1. SYNCOPATION
Funkiness is all about syncopation. So to get people moving to your bass line, you have to accent lots of off-beats. If you don’t, it’ll sound rigid and stiff, and that ain’t gonna get anybody dancing! And for that reason, the best place to start writing a funky bass line, is with the rhythm, and more importantly, syncopation. And remember, great bass lines have a balance of notes on the beat and notes off the beat. So don’t just play everything off the beat thinking it’ll make your bass line extra funky, you gotta spank some of those 1/4 note beats as well! In our example, we’re playing beat 1 and beat 3 in each bar, and then everything else is syncopated.

MORE
And by the way, if you want our ultimate hack for funky bass lines, along with a MIDI file example, then check out our Songwriting & Producing PDF (click & scroll down). It also contains hacks on how to write great chord progressions, melodies, and more MIDI examples as well!

STEP 2. TWO LINES
Right, now it’s time to turn your rhythm into a bass line. And what’s cool about the bass line in “Be Nice”, is that it’s a 2-in-1. What I mean by that, is there’s actually two clearly defined lines playing together (obviously playing one-at-a-time though). The upper line carries the melody, while the lower line holds things down with one note (in the original, that note is C, the 5). And writing two lines like this will make your bass even more funky, as it mirrors the slap bass technique often used in funk.

VALUE
Now, as with many of the songs we hack, the vibe and the production are super cool, but when it comes to the actual music, the songwriters and producers often choose to sacrifice longevity for popularity. And for the record, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, because the value of music is different for everyone. If music has extrinsic value to you, then you’re making music as a way of achieving something, like a hit. On the other hand, if music has intrinsic value to you, then you’re making music purely for the joy of creating art. And this song is the perfect example of music that was made for extrinsic value, as it was written to be a hit.

BE NICE
So, in their bass’ upper line, they simply ascend note-by-note through the scale. This makes it instantly appealing, cos the first time someone hears it they already know where it’s going, and the average person likes music that sounds familiar. The downside to writing predictable music though, is that people get tired of it quickly. But, if you’re aiming for a hit that doesn’t matter, because you only need it to be trending for a few weeks.

BE DIFFERENT
If you’re like us though, and you’re happy to sacrifice popularity for longevity, then write an upper line that people won’t be able to guess where it’s going on their first listen, as that will keep them coming back again and again!

NEXT
Okay, so now that you’ve got one section down, how do you write the other sections? How do you transition between them (especially when they’re in different keys)? And, how do you structure and arrange your song? These are issues that many songwriters and producers struggle with, and that’s exactly why we made our online course Apprenticeship #1. So, if you wanna overcome these obstacles once and for all, then sign up now!

Kate & Ray Harmony (AKA Revolution Harmony)
Music Teachers & Producers in Vancouver BC, Canada

LEVELS
Level 1 - Read our free book (below) & watch our YouTube videos
Level 2 - Read our "Part 1" book & "Songwriting & Producing" PDF
Level 3 - Practice making music using our lessons (PDF+MIDI+WAV)
Level 4 - Learn our secret art of song-whispering & finish your music

ABOUT
Hack Music Theory is a pioneering DAW method for making great music that stands out, so you can move and grow your audience! Taught by award-winning music lecturer Ray Harmony, and his protégé wife Kate Harmony, from their studio in Vancouver BC, Canada. Ray is the author of critically-acclaimed book series "Hack Music Theory", and has made music with Serj Tankian (System of a Down), Tom Morello (Rage Against the Machine), Steven Wilson (Porcupine Tree), Devin Townsend (Strapping Young Lad), Ihsahn (Emperor), Kool Keith (Ultramagnetic MCs), Madchild (Swollen Members), and many more! Kate has the highest grade distinction in Popular Music Theory from the London College of Music, and is the only person on the planet who's been trained by Ray to teach his method. On that note, the "Hack Music Theory" YouTube channel teaches relevant and instantly-usable music theory for producers, DAW users, and all other music makers (songwriters, singers, guitarists, bassists, drummers, etc.) in all genres, from EDM to R&B, pop to hip-hop, reggae to rock, electronic to metal (and yes, we djefinitely djent!).

COPYRIGHT
© 2019 Revolution Harmony
Revolution Harmony is Ray Harmony & Kate Harmony
All content (script & music) in video by Revolution Harmony
Thumbnail photo by James Hickey

Wooohooo!!! You’re a mere 30 minutes away from being even smarter than you already are. Just head on over to your inbox now for your free download.

There was an error submitting your subscription. Please try again.

 

“The most brilliant, fast, easy & fun music theory book I’ve ever seen!” DEREK SIVERS, CD Baby founder

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Jun 13 2019

5mins

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Rank #17: Radiohead's Thom Yorke “ANIMA” Music Theory

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Learn how to write a bass line, using a music theory hack from Thom Yorke (Radiohead) “Traffic” off his new album “ANIMA”. Subtitles/CC available.

Hello revolutionary music makers, we are Kate Harmony and Ray Harmony (AKA Revolution Harmony), and welcome to Hack Music Theory. We help you make great music that stands out, so you can move and grow your audience! If that sounds useful to you, then subscribe to our YouTube channel and hit that bell to get notified every Monday, when we publish our new video. Also, if you’re new to our channel, be sure to download our free book “12 Music Theory Hacks to Learn Scales & Chords” below. Alright, it’s time to open your DAW to hack music theory. But first… tea!

INTRO
Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke has been rather prolific lately, and he’s back with another new album. “Anima” continues his journey into electronic exploration, and contains some mesmerising moments, like the hypnotic bass line in album opener “Traffic”, which we’ll be hacking in this video. What makes this bass line so hypnotic? Two things: depth, and syncopation (which is accenting an off-beat). Thom creates depth in his bass line by using a layering technique. And while most people think of layering as adding instruments, you can actually achieve the same effect in a bass line alone, without adding any tracks. You simply write two melodies that work together harmonically, then switch back and forth between them. And Thom assigns his top melody to beats 2+, 3+, and 4+, which results in a hypnotic pumping against his bottom melody that plays on the beats in between. 

SETUP
Alright, now you’re gonna learn how to use this theory to make your own version. And for the example in this lesson, we’ll be using our version that we made earlier. So, start by setting up two bars of 4/4, with your grid set to 1/16 notes, and your tempo set to 129 BPM. And Thom’s bass line is in G minor, so we’ll use it too. 

STEP 1. CHORDS
Musical depth is created from harmony, so when you wanna write a bass line with depth, write your chord progression first. And the chords in G minor that you can choose from, are: Gm, Adim, B♭maj, Cm, Dm, E♭maj, and Fmaj. In our progression, we play Gm for one bar, then Fmaj for half a bar, then Cm for one beat, and then we finish with B♭maj for one beat. 

STEP 2. LAYERS
Now it’s time to split your harmony into two layers: a top melody, and a bottom melody. Thom’s two layers are actually just the same melody played at different octaves, but we decided to kick it up a notch by writing two completely different melodies. We used the root note of each chord for our bottom melody, then we filled in the harmony with our top melody. For example, over the Fmaj chord, our bottom melody plays the root, then our top melody completes the harmony by playing 3, 5, and another 3 an octave higher. 

STEP 3. RHYTHM
Right, the last step is to assign rhythms to your two layers. Thom only plays his top melody on beats 2+, 3+, and 4+, which creates that hypnotic syncopation. So we used a similar rhythm for our top melody, but we added beat 2 as well. And in our second bar, to spice things up even more, we used a few 1/16 notes. The shortest note value Thom uses though, is an 1/8 note, so stick with that if you want something simpler.

MORE
Lastly, we get loads of people asking how to transition between sections, and also, how to structure and arrange songs. And while these are essential skills to learn, please understand that we can’t teach them for free, because that is our secret sauce, which we teach in our online apprenticeship course. So, if you wanna learn how to go from a blank screen to a finished song, then join over 700 other music makers also on the course. And, it helps us pay the rent too, so it’s a win-win!

Kate & Ray Harmony (AKA Revolution Harmony)
Music Teachers & Producers in Vancouver BC, Canada

LEVELS
Level 1 - Read our free book (below) & watch our YouTube videos
Level 2 - Read our "Part 1" book & "Songwriting & Producing" PDF
Level 3 - Practice making music using our lessons (PDF+MIDI+WAV)
Level 4 - Learn our secret art of song-whispering & finish your music

ABOUT
Hack Music Theory is a pioneering DAW method for making great music that stands out, so you can move and grow your audience! Taught by award-winning music lecturer Ray Harmony, and his protégé wife Kate Harmony, from their studio in Vancouver BC, Canada. Ray is the author of critically-acclaimed book series "Hack Music Theory", and has made music with Serj Tankian (System of a Down), Tom Morello (Rage Against the Machine), Steven Wilson (Porcupine Tree), Devin Townsend (Strapping Young Lad), Ihsahn (Emperor), Kool Keith (Ultramagnetic MCs), Madchild (Swollen Members), and many more! Kate has the highest grade distinction in Popular Music Theory from the London College of Music, and is the only person on the planet who's been trained by Ray to teach his method. On that note, the "Hack Music Theory" YouTube channel teaches relevant and instantly-usable music theory for producers, DAW users, and all other music makers (songwriters, singers, guitarists, bassists, drummers, etc.) in all genres, from EDM to R&B, pop to hip-hop, reggae to rock, electronic to metal (and yes, we djefinitely djent!).

COPYRIGHT
© 2019 Revolution Harmony
Revolution Harmony is Ray Harmony & Kate Harmony
All content (script & music) in video by Revolution Harmony
Thumbnail photo of Thom Yorke by Vittorio Zunino Celotto

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“The most brilliant, fast, easy & fun music theory book I’ve ever seen!” DEREK SIVERS, CD Baby founder

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Jul 08 2019

4mins

Play

Rank #18: American Horror Story "1984" Bass Line (Music Theory)

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With Halloween around the corner, horror movies and TV shows are flooding Netflix. So, it’s the perfect time to learn how to write spooky and scary soundtrack music like the creepy new American Horror Story 1984 theme song. 

Hello revolutionary music makers, we are Kate Harmony and Ray Harmony (AKA Revolution Harmony), and welcome to Hack Music Theory. We help you make great music that stands out, so you can move and grow your audience! If that sounds useful to you, then subscribe to our YouTube channel (or Podcast) and hit that bell to get notified every Friday, when we publish our new lesson. Also, if you’re new to our channel, be sure to download our free book “12 Music Theory Hacks to Learn Scales & Chords” below. Alright, it’s time to open your DAW to hack music theory.

Wooohooo!!! You’re a mere 30 minutes away from being even smarter than you already are. Just head on over to your inbox now for your free download.

There was an error submitting your subscription. Please try again.

 

“The most brilliant, fast, easy & fun music theory book I’ve ever seen!” DEREK SIVERS, CD Baby founder

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Halloween is coming! So in this lesson, you’ll learn the music theory secrets behind American Horror Story’s theme song, and how you can use them to write your own dark sounding bass lines. But first… tea!

INTRO
So, in this Halloween series we are revealing the music theory secrets that were used to make the new American Horror Story theme song sound so spooky! And by the way, if you missed last week’s lesson How to Write a Spooky Melody, check it out, cos we uncovered the mystery behind their creepy sounding lead melody. Right, now here are the two theory secrets that make the American Horror Story bass line so dark:

SECRET 1.  IT’S NOT THE BASS
The most shocking thing about their bass line is that it’s not shocking! I know this sounds totally counterintuitive, but it’s the truth. Seriously, if you mute everything else and listen to the bass on its own, it’s just a pretty normal bass line. So, what’s making it sound dark and creepy then? Well, it’s the harmony created by the bass line and the lead melody playing together. On that note, this melody above our bass line is the lead melody, which we covered last week. It’s on another track, so it’s muted here, we’re just using it for reference. Right, so as you learned in last week’s lesson, the ♭6 injects mystery into a melody, and the ♭5 brings the horror. So when the lead melody plays those notes, it’s essential the bass plays the root note below. Because remember, the emotion is in the harmony!

SECRET 2.  ARPEGGIOS
Okay, you’re probably still thinking: “Yeah but their bass line does sound a little creepy, there must be something in there?”. Well, there is one small element in the actual bass line that does make it sound a bit unsettled. What is it? Arpeggios. And by the way, an arpeggio is when you play a chord one note at a time. By moving through the notes of a chord like this, it creates movement in the melody, but not the harmony, as you’re still on the same chord. And when this is done descending (like they do in the American Horror Story bass line, by playing 5 ♭3 1 of the root chord), it gives us a sinking feeling that is unsettling in the context of all those creepy sound effects. And also, their opening arpeggio sounds kinda dark simply because it’s a minor chord. 

NEXT
So, now that you’ve got one section coming together, how do you write the other sections? Then, how do you transition between them (especially when they’re in different keys)? And then, how do you structure and arrange your song? These are issues many songwriters and producers struggle with, and that’s exactly why we made our online apprenticeship course, which guides you through every step of the music making process, from blank screen to finished song. So, if you wanna learn our secret method for writing (and finishing) great songs, which we don’t teach in these free lessons, then sign up now for this one-of-a-kind video course.

Thanks for reading/watching/listening, and we’ll see you next week!

Kate & Ray Harmony (AKA Revolution Harmony)
Music Teachers & Producers in Vancouver BC, Canada

Take Your Music to the Next Level

LEVEL 1 – FREE BOOK
"12 Music Theory Hacks to Learn Scales & Chords" will give you a super solid music theory foundation in 30 minutes!

LEVEL 2 – SONGWRITING & PRODUCING PDF (click & scroll down)
This is our best-selling PDF, which includes MIDI file examples. Learn the essential hacks for songwriting & producing, like our Melody Checklist (the ultimate list of do's and don'ts for writing great melodies). You'll also learn how to write chord progressions, bass lines, riffs, counterpoint harmonies, and more!

LEVEL 3 – LESSON PACKS
After learning our essential hacks, it's time to put them to practical use and start writing some new songs. Lesson packs include step-by-step PDF guides to making music for different instruments and in different genres (electronic, metal, soundtrack, etc.), as well as multitrack MIDI files of the examples.

LEVEL 4 – ONLINE APPRENTICESHIP
Go from a blank screen to a finished song, in this online video course. Learn how to write new sections for an existing section, how to transition between sections in different keys, how to structure and arrange, and much more! This course has been called "life-changing" many times, so join 700+ music makers now (from all genres), who are learning Ray's secret hack: Song Whispering.

ABOUT
Hack Music Theory is a pioneering DAW method for making great music that stands out, so you can move and grow your audience! Taught by multi-award-winning music lecturer Ray Harmony, and his protégé wife Kate Harmony, from their studio in Vancouver BC, Canada. Ray is the author of critically-acclaimed book series "Hack Music Theory", and has made music with Serj Tankian (System of a Down), Tom Morello (Rage Against the Machine), Steven Wilson (Porcupine Tree), Devin Townsend (Strapping Young Lad), Ihsahn (Emperor), Kool Keith (Ultramagnetic MCs), Madchild (Swollen Members), and many more! Kate has the highest grade distinction in Popular Music Theory from the London College of Music, and is the only person on the planet who's been trained by Ray to teach his method. On that note, the "Hack Music Theory" YouTube channel teaches relevant and instantly-usable music theory for producers, DAW users, and all other music makers (songwriters, singers, guitarists, bassists, drummers, etc.) in all genres, from EDM to R&B, pop to hip-hop, reggae to rock, electronic to metal (and yes, we djefinitely djent!).

COPYRIGHT
© 2019 Revolution Harmony
Revolution Harmony is Ray Harmony & Kate Harmony
All content (script & music) in video by Revolution Harmony

Oct 18 2019

4mins

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Rank #19: Ed Sheeran Goes Djent

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What does Ed Sheeran & Justin Bieber’s song “I Don’t Care” have in common with the metal subgenre Djent? The answer is shocking and eye-opening, so click play to find out now! Subtitles/CC available.

Just before we jump in though, we wanna say a heartfelt Thank You for your lovely comments on our genre lesson last week, we’re so grateful, and we’re so touched that you feel the same way about genres. You know, we truly are honoured to be a part of this positive and open-minded Hack Music Theory community with you all. And by the way, if you missed last week’s genre lesson, please check it out, because this one is based on that one.

WELCOME
Hello revolutionary music makers, we are Kate Harmony and Ray Harmony (AKA Revolution Harmony), and welcome to Hack Music Theory. We help you make great music that stands out, so you can move and grow your audience! If that sounds useful to you, then subscribe to our YouTube channel and hit that bell to get notified every Friday, when we publish our new video. Also, if you’re new to our channel, be sure to download our free book “12 Music Theory Hacks to Learn Scales & Chords” below. Alright, it’s time to open your DAW to hack music theory. But first… tea!

THEORY
So, apparently we mispronounced Ed’s last name in our lesson last week. Oops! I guess we let the cat out the bag with that: so yeah, we’re not really fans of Ed’s music. He seems like a really nice guy, but his songwriting is just a little too predictable for us. If you dig his music though, that’s awesome. And if you don’t, that’s great too, cos that’s actually the whole point of this lesson. So, what can a Djent fan find to appreciate in Ed Sheeran’s music? Well, in the song “I Don’t Care” that he did with Justin Bieber, the whole track is built on a super syncopated rhythm, which doesn’t even play beat 1 (and by the way, syncopation is when you accent an off-beat). And not only do Ed’s bass and drums lock in to play this rhythm together, but the bass line starts by playing the root note for two bars. Now, here’s the shocker: super syncopated grooves chugged out on the root note are literally what Djent was named after.

So the main feature in Ed’s song also happens to be the main feature in a metal subgenre that’s the antithesis of Ed’s music. How crazy is that?! But, because the instrumentation is different, people sadly don’t hear this connection. And that was one of the genre truths we revealed in last week’s lesson: genre is sonic packaging. Change the instruments, and you change the genre. So if you take the syncopated rhythm from Ed’s song and play it on an 8-string guitar with distortion (or a 9-string, if you’re feeling very Djenty!), then you’re no longer playing pop, you’re now playing metal. And this is only one of countless examples of how you can use the music theory from a song in one genre to write a song in literally the opposite genre, but only when you peel back that sonic packaging first, so you can see the actual notes inside. And that process is exactly what we’ll be exploring in this new genre series. 

PRACTICAL
Alright, now you’re gonna learn how to use the music theory from Ed’s song to make your own Djent version, but remember, you can use the theory hack in this lesson to make music in any genre you want. And that is true for every video and podcast we have ever made, and there’s about 160 of them already, so tuck in! Right, for the example in this lesson, we’ll be using our version that we made earlier. So, start by setting up four bars of 4/4, with your grid set to 1/16 notes, and your tempo set to 102 BPM. And that’s actually the original tempo of Ed’s song, so we didn’t even need to change the BPM to turn it into Djent. Also, Ed uses F♯ as his root, but we’re taking that way down to a low A.

STEP 1. CHUG & RUN
Ed’s syncopated rhythm is centred around beats 1a, 2+, 3a, and 4+. So we used the exact same rhythm to start with, and we also chugged it out on the root note (just like Ed), to prove exactly how Djenty his song is in its original form. So, over your first bar and a half, come up with a simple but super syncopated rhythm, something like that. Then, as if that wasn’t Djenty enough, Ed uses another classic Djent trick: he throws in a 1/16 note run after the one-note chugs, to add interest. So over beats 3 and 4 in your second bar, add a 1/16 note run. Ed simply uses an octave of the root note for his run, but we’ve taken this opportunity to do something less predictable, and we encourage you to do the same.

STEP 2. VARIATION
Now, you could just repeat these two bars and call it a day, but that would be too repetitive for our tastes, so we changed things up in our third and fourth bars to inject more variation and keep things fresh. They’re still based on the first couple bars, but we just added some extra chugs on the root note, and then we also added a 1/16 note triplet into our run at the end. And that’s it, we’ve now got Edjent!

MORE
Lastly, we get loads of people asking how to transition between sections, and also, how to structure and arrange songs. And while these are essential skills to learn, please understand that we can’t teach them for free, because that is our secret sauce which we teach in our online apprenticeship course. So, if you wanna learn how to go from a blank screen to a finished song, then join over 700 other music makers also on the course. And, it helps us pay the rent too, so it’s a win-win!

Kate & Ray Harmony (AKA Revolution Harmony)
Music Teachers & Producers in Vancouver BC, Canada

LEVELS
Level 1 - Read our free book (below) & watch our YouTube videos
Level 2 - Read our "Part 1" book & "Songwriting & Producing" PDF
Level 3 - Practice making music using our lessons (PDF+MIDI+WAV)
Level 4 - Learn our secret art of song-whispering & finish your music

ABOUT
Hack Music Theory is a pioneering DAW method for making great music that stands out, so you can move and grow your audience! Taught by multi-award-winning music lecturer Ray Harmony, and his protégé wife Kate Harmony, from their studio in Vancouver BC, Canada. Ray is the author of critically-acclaimed book series "Hack Music Theory", and has made music with Serj Tankian (System of a Down), Tom Morello (Rage Against the Machine), Steven Wilson (Porcupine Tree), Devin Townsend (Strapping Young Lad), Ihsahn (Emperor), Kool Keith (Ultramagnetic MCs), Madchild (Swollen Members), and many more! Kate has the highest grade distinction in Popular Music Theory from the London College of Music, and is the only person on the planet who's been trained by Ray to teach his method. On that note, the "Hack Music Theory" YouTube channel teaches relevant and instantly-usable music theory for producers, DAW users, and all other music makers (songwriters, singers, guitarists, bassists, drummers, etc.) in all genres, from EDM to R&B, pop to hip-hop, reggae to rock, electronic to metal (and yes, we djefinitely djent!).

COPYRIGHT
© 2019 Revolution Harmony
Revolution Harmony is Ray Harmony & Kate Harmony
All content (script & music) in video by Revolution Harmony
Thumbnail photo of Ed Sheeran courtesy of Heinz

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“The most brilliant, fast, easy & fun music theory book I’ve ever seen!” DEREK SIVERS, CD Baby founder

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Aug 02 2019

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Rank #20: Leprous “Pitfalls” Chords (Music Theory)

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Learn how to write a chord progression for an epic chorus, by using a music theory hack from Leprous “Alleviate” (off new album “Pitfalls”).

Hello revolutionary music makers, we are Kate Harmony and Ray Harmony (AKA Revolution Harmony), and welcome to Hack Music Theory. We help you make great music that stands out, so you can move and grow your audience! If that sounds useful to you, then subscribe to our YouTube channel (or Podcast) and hit that bell to get notified every Friday, when we publish our new lesson. 

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INTRO
Norwegian band Leprous just released their new album “Pitfalls”, and it’s truly epic! One of the most epic moments is the chorus in their song “Alleviate”, which we’ll hack over the next two lessons: chords this week, then melody next week.

SETUP
Alright, now you’re gonna learn how to make your own epic chord progression, like Leprous. And for the example in this lesson, we’ll be using our version that we made earlier. So, start by setting up eight bars of 4/4, with your grid set to 1/4 notes, and your tempo set to 116 BPM. Leprous use D natural minor for their chorus, and the natural minor scale is a common choice for epic music, so we’ll use it too.

STEP 1. COMMON NOTES
A common note is a note that’s the same between two chords. For example, Dm and Fmaj both contain the notes F and A, so F and A are common notes between those two chords. And common notes are an essential part of epic music, cos having a note or two stay the same when your chord changes, creates a super strong link between those chords that adds power to your progression. So, when you’re choosing what chords to use from the key of D minor, be sure to choose chords with common notes. For our progression, we chose: Dm → Fmaj → B♭maj → Csus4. And the reason for Csus4, is because Cmaj doesn’t have a common note with the B♭maj before it or the Dm after it, so we changed the Cmaj to Csus4, which gives us the common note F.

STEP 2. INVERSIONS
Now that you’ve chosen your chords, it’s time to use inversions to get the common notes in the same place within your chords as they change. And by the way, an inversion is simply when you change the order of the notes in a chord. For example, we inverted Fmaj to be CFA, instead of FAC. And we did that to get those common notes (F and A) in the same place as they are in Dm. So now F is in the middle of both chords, and A is on top of both chords, which makes this chord change super strong, and therefore epic!

STEP 3. RHYTHM
When it comes to how long you spend on each chord (known as harmonic rhythm), keep it simple, as your chord progression is just the foundation upon which you’ll write an epic melody. So if get too fancy with your harmonic rhythm, your chords will actually draw attention away from your melody. And epic music is all about the melody, which we’ll cover next week. Now, Leprous plays each chord for one bar, so we’ve done the same.

STEP 4. VARIATION
This is optional, but if you create a little variation in your progression, it’ll inject some freshness. We did this by resolving Csus4 to Cmaj every second time, but then we go straight back to Csus4, as that 4 (F) is the common note that links to the next chord, Dm.

NEXT
So, now that you’ve got one section coming together, how do you write the other sections? Then, how do you transition between them (especially when they’re in different keys)? And then, how do you structure and arrange your song? These are issues many songwriters and producers struggle with, and that’s exactly why we made our online apprenticeship course, which guides you through every step of the music making process, from blank screen to finished song. So, if you wanna learn our secret method for writing (and finishing) great songs, which we don’t teach in these free lessons, then sign up now for this one-of-a-kind video course.

Thanks for reading/watching/listening, and we’ll see you next week!

Kate & Ray Harmony (AKA Revolution Harmony)
Music Teachers & Producers in Vancouver BC, Canada

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ABOUT
Hack Music Theory is a pioneering DAW method for making great music that stands out, so you can move and grow your audience! Taught by multi-award-winning music lecturer Ray Harmony, and his protégé wife Kate Harmony, from their studio in Vancouver BC, Canada. Ray is the author of critically-acclaimed book series "Hack Music Theory", and has made music with Serj Tankian (System of a Down), Tom Morello (Rage Against the Machine), Steven Wilson (Porcupine Tree), Devin Townsend (Strapping Young Lad), Ihsahn (Emperor), Kool Keith (Ultramagnetic MCs), Madchild (Swollen Members), and many more! Kate has the highest grade distinction in Popular Music Theory from the London College of Music, and is the only person on the planet who's been trained by Ray to teach his method. On that note, the "Hack Music Theory" YouTube channel teaches relevant and instantly-usable music theory for producers, DAW users, and all other music makers (songwriters, singers, guitarists, bassists, drummers, etc.) in all genres, from EDM to R&B, pop to hip-hop, reggae to rock, electronic to metal (and yes, we djefinitely djent!).

COPYRIGHT
© 2019 Revolution Harmony
Revolution Harmony is Ray Harmony & Kate Harmony
All content (script & music) in video by Revolution Harmony
Thumbnail photo of Einar Solberg by Will Ireland

Nov 08 2019

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