How do I Compose a song using
The Music Wheel?
keyboard: If you have an original tune you have been humming and you want to develop it on keyboard, try locating the first five to eight music notes. Are there any sharps or flats–(black notes on a piano)—in your tune? How many? If there are none, you may be in the Key of C major/ a minor slice. If there is one sharp or flat, you are either in the Key of G major/ e minor slice, or you may be in the Key of F major/ d minor slice. On the staff of G major you will see one sharp. On the staff of F major you will see one flat. Now, look at the scales of the slices just mentioned. Does your tune range within the approximate scale of G major (an eight note ascension from G to G);or F major (an eight note ascension from F to F). Or, you could be in the relative minor’s scale of eight note ascension from e to e; or you could be in the relative minor’s scale of eight note ascension from d to d(remember, the relative minors share the same key signature with their major cousins). Go ahead and check out the scales of other Keys in other slices if you are playing several black notes (sharps or flats). When you have found the likely range (scale) that your tune seems to reside within, try singing your tune (melody) and playing the I, IV, V chord progressions in that slice that indicate the Key you have identified as the one you’re humming in. You can vocalize the melody and just play the chord family progressions as your accompaniment. (You can do this with any tune--original or extant; if you have a tune running through your head from the radio, try the above method to solve what Key the song is being played in. Then try the chord progressions in that slice as your accompaniment. You’ll have fun doing this!
Guitar, mando, banjo: If you are using a stringed instrument such as a guitar, mando, or banjo, locating the range of the tune you are humming should be fairly easy because each string’s tone name gives you the clue of what Key you are likely in. From that, you can find the slice that reflects that string’s tone name. In other words, if you are finding most of your notes on the string of E, you are probably in the key of E major. If you are finding most of your notes on the string of A, you are probably in the key of A major. If you are finding most of your notes on the string of D, you are probably in the key of D major. If you are finding most of your notes on the string of G, you are probably in the key of G major. Now, locate the KEY slice on The Music Wheel that relates to the string name you have been playing on. Use the I, IV, V chord progressions in that slice to formulate your song. You can sing the melody and play the corresponding chords of that slice as your accompaniment. Have fun! It’s that easy!