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Chord progression

Conjunto

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I play a diatonic 3 row Hohner accordion. I play fairly well but need help with following the changes in a song. Example, I play the melody then singer starts singing. My problem is knowing when the singer goes from the root 1 to the V or 1V. My Job would Be playing embellishments during the song. Is there a method or something I can study to prepare for the changes. Thanks!
 

Pipemajor

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I would think that it you take a tune you know well on the accordion . Start to play but hum the melody and just play the left hand chords.
For me, it's an instinctive thing and, if I know the tune, I don't have to think about it
 

Tom

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Welcome Conjunto. I take it you are playing conjunto music? Pipemajor pretty much nailed it. It's someting you just have to "feel." That said, practicing listening wil go a long way. I suggest you find a few songs that you know, like and want to play. Find out where the chords change in those songs, either with a lead sheet if you read music, or with chord notated lyrics if you don't. Then listen repeatedly, noting how the "feel" of the music changes with the chords. Do this for an hour or more every day. Unfortunately, there is no magic bullet, it's just practice, practice, practice.

Do you read and follow music theory? If so, your embellishments can be derived from arpeggios (1, 3, 5 notes of the chords), descending runs to the root note, echoes of the melody, or whatever else sounds good. Other people will have more advice. Basically, the more you play and especially listen, the better you get!
 

losthobos

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Listen to the bass player and take your direction cue from the lines they play... Easier than listening to melody which may be silent approaching the changes...
 

Conjunto

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Welcome Conjunto. I take it you are playing conjunto music? Pipemajor pretty much nailed it. It's someting you just have to "feel." That said, practicing listening wil go a long way. I suggest you find a few songs that you know, like and want to play. Find out where the chords change in those songs, either with a lead sheet if you read music, or with chord notated lyrics if you don't. Then listen repeatedly, noting how the "feel" of the music changes with the chords. Do this for an hour or more every day. Unfortunately, there is no magic bullet, it's just practice, practice, practice.

Do you read and follow music theory? If so, your embellishments can be derived from arpeggios (1, 3, 5 notes of the chords), descending runs to the root note, echoes of the melody, or whatever else sounds good. Other people will have more advice. Basically, the more you play and especially listen, the better you get!
Listen to the bass player and take your direction cue from the lines they play... Easier than listening to melody which may be silent approaching the changes...
Listen to the bass player and take your direction cue from the lines they play... Easier than listening to melody which may be silent approaching the changes...
 

Conjunto

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I appreciate the warm welcome and support. You all have given me very good direction on solving my issue. What I have been doing is listening to the Changes when singer is singing. That helps but it’s not always clear enough to pick up. In addition I print out lyrics and add chord changes in order for me to implement embellishment in right chord. This works well but I want to get to being able to play without having to look at my cheat sheet. Again thank you all for your responses and suppor.
 

JeffJetton

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Listen to the bass player and take your direction cue from the lines they play... Easier than listening to melody which may be silent approaching the changes...

This is what I usually do. Heck, in country music, since I often can get away with just playing on the upbeats, I can sometimes play on a song I've never even heard before just by listening to what the bass player does on beat one before coming in with a chord on beat two. :)

You can also imagine whether it would be appropriate for the bass player to "walk up" or "walk down" from the 1 chord to the next chord, whether they actually do that or not. That is, if you sort of hear in your head that the bass could play an ascending, scale-based series of notes to go from the 1 to some other chord, then that chord is probably going to be the 4 chord (C-E-D-F). If a descending series of notes "fits" better (C-B-A-G), then it's probably going to be the 5.

Similarly, if you pay attention to the root/alternate bass movement of the bass, you can clue yourself in that way. You know that the alternate bass notes on the 1 chord are also the root of the 5 chord. So if the next chord sounds like you could just stay on that note, it's the 5 chord. If it sounds like the appropriate bass note is slightly lower, then it's the 4 chord.

(This is all assuming that you're playing a three-chord song in the first place. If there are other chords on the table, like 2- and 6-, things aren't quite so cut-and-dried.)

Another esoteric trick: If you feel like you could get away with having the 1 chord change to a dominant 7th chord (again, whether you actually play it that way or not... if you just "hear" that the slightly dissonant flat 7 would sort of fit), then that a signal that the 4 chord is coming up next.
 
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