Songschemes is for guitarists, songwriters and lovers of harmony.
"My philosophy on composition is that a good idea is only as good as what you do with it. It must have form which is where theory comes into it. Musical ideas are like mathematical problems. They need to be solved." (Dominic Miller)
Earlier this year I was intrigued and inspired by reading Setlist Schematics and seeing the visual representation of Phish's music in such a striking way got me thinking; was there a way of doing something similar to represent a song, its chords, its harmonic function and its form?
There are aspects of all of that in the Phish schematics but not presented so that you could play the songs.
Representing music in a non-standard graphical manner is not new but with the schematic idea as the nucleas, I set out to represent some songs on a single page to include all sections of the song form where a repeated progression was in a circle (and a repeated part within a repeated part in an 'inner' circle) and a non-repeated part in a line (straight or diagonal depending on its length). In addition, I added functional harmonic information in numerals to allow for easier transposition and for those interested in analysis. Finally, I added chord boxes to help guitar players expand their palette of chordal options and knowledge, something that is often overlooked by players sticking to the same box 'shapes'. Studying inversions and progression is such a valuable musical tool and what better way of doing that than with great songs?
The result is a songscheme - a method of expressing, in a visual form, song information; a memory map. These schemes are not intended to replace notation/ TAB and you still need to use your 'ear' since there is no rhythmic information included either but hopefully they do offer a useful alternative view of a given song, and one I hope that will prove useful for all those looking to expand their knowledge of chords, harmony, form and progression.