Have you ever struggled to find that perfect chord progression when writing a song? Maybe you know a few chords that sound good together but are hoping to expand your knowledge of chords in different keys. If so, you’ve come to the right place! In this blog, we will talk about using a ukulele chord progressions generator to write songs.
While this article will look specifically at ukulele chord progressions, this tool can be applied and used with whatever instrument you play or whatever instrument you would like to learn!
Building Chord Progressions (On Any Instrument)
So just what the heck is a ukulele chord progressions generator, anyway? A chord progression is a series of chords played throughout a piece of music. These chords are usually (although not always) in the same key. What the chords have in common is that they all sound good together. Musically, they tell a “story.”
Most guitar and ukulele players are familiar with at least some chords from two major keys- G and C, and with a series of 4 chords that sound good together within those keys. In these keys, several of these chords overlap. Many popular songs use “G” “C” “Am” and “Em.” The reason for this is simple- they are easy to play and share chords from both the key of C and the key of G. As such, it is very common for a beginner guitarist or uke player to get stuck in a “rut” of only playing some variations of the same.
So how do we get out of that rut? Some basic music theory can help.
Chord Progressions Can Help You Out of a Musical “Rut”
Let’s look at the C major key. This is the easiest of keys to learn because it has only natural notes. That means no sharps or flats to memorize. Briefly, a key has seven chords in it. We notate the chords in the key signature using Roman Numerals; we number the chords in a major key like this: I ii iii IV V vi vii (diminished).
Every lower case Roman numeral tells us that we play a minor chord, and every uppercase Roman numeral tells us to play a major chord. So, if we remember that there are seven notes in the musical alphabet, and that the first chord of a key is how the key is named, we know that the chords in the key of C major are: C major, D minor, E minor, F major, G major, A minor, and B diminished. You then repeat this formula with every key, taking into account the sharps and flats that belong to the particular key you are trying to play in. And of course, within each key, there are “7” chords, “6” chords, chord inversions, and so on!
Sound complicated? Now you see why ukulele players can find themselves repeating the same few chords, in the same few keys, over and over again. Thankfully, in 2020, we have the benefit of ukulele chord progressions generators to help us expand our musical knowledge and quickly learn new and varied chord progressions. All without memorizing all the possible keys in the musical language.
What is a Chord Progression Generator?
A chord progressions generator is a computer program/tool that helps you to discover different chords and chord voicings that sound good together. You can use them to populate a progression for an entire song or to simply get an idea that can move you forward in the creative process. You can also utilize a chord progressions generator to help you learn some new chords and how to build them, which, over time, will increase your skill as a musician.
There are several websites that have chord progression generators and they vary in complexity and usefulness.
Take some time to explore a few depending on what you are intending to use it for. If your goal is to find all the main chords in a key and how to play them on the ukulele, then try using Ukulele Go. This website will randomly generate chord progressions for you, and also has an option to choose a chord and find out what chords work well with it.
If you are fairly familiar with how to play several different chords on the ukulele, and are more interested in different chord progression ideas for songwriting, Auto Chords is a great resource. It would show you how to play the ukulele version of the chords, but it will give you wonderful ideas, including ones that may stray outside the key but that all sound good together and can change the tone of the song. This is great for helping to write a bridge or breakdown in a song!
Of Course, There is No Replacement for Music Theory. However…
There is no replacement, in my opinion, for having a working knowledge of music theory, especially regarding how chords are built and how to find the chords in a particular key. However, a ukulele chord progressions generator can be a great tool to help you along your musical journey!