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Rhythm Chunking 2: Chord progressions

In the last post, I talked about possibilities for creating different rhythms by taking smaller, 3 to 5 beat chunks of rhythm from a longer stream of notes. I superimposed chords and pitches on these rhythms to create a rhythmic chord progression, a riff, and part of a solo.


Let’s focus on chords in this post. The first example uses a single rhythm chunk repeated three times.

rhythm chunk with brackets - chords1


Now string different rhythmic chunks together using those same chords.

rhythm chunk with brackets chords


Creating variety

By the way, I’m not trying to make this sound awesome. I’m just randomly plugging in chords to make a point.


The point is that you can create a crazy amount of different progressions by using the following procedure:


  1. Take a few rhythmic chunks out of a stream of notes.
  2. Repeat one of those chunks with a single chord or with different chords.
  3. Mix the chunks and superimpose a progression of chords on the result.


Use the progression from number 3 on a different combination of rhythm chunks.


Limit yourself

Try using just three chunks. Combine those chunks in different ways to create a variety of different combinations.



Chunk 1, Chunk 1, Chunk 1

Chunk 1, Chunk, 2, Chunk 3

Chunk, 2, Chunk 3, Chunk 1


Don’t let these get too long (Chunk 1, Chunk 2, Chunk 3, Chunk 1, Chunk 1, Chunk 3, Chunk, 2).  This sacrifices focus and doesn’t communicate directly. Experiment with length and see what you like.

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