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Should singers who front a band know chord progressions?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Pork_Chop, Apr 12, 2015.

  1. Pork_Chop


    May 11, 2012
    Boulder, CO USA
    Is it normal for a dedicated singer in a band not to know chord progressions? I’m filling in this Friday for a band whose bassist moved away unexpectedly. The guitarist is in Brazil, not getting home until Thursday night and can’t be reached. I got the set list and asked the other two members (drummer, and singer) what the chord progressions were on a few of their songs. The drummer understandably didn’t know, but I assumed the singer would. When I asked her, she became kind of angry and said she didn't know. I thought a voice was considered an instrument.
    This is my first time playing in a band with a dedicated singer. All the other bands I've been in were either instrumental, or one of us took care of the vocals.
    basslayer and Matthew_84 like this.
  2. RoadRanger

    RoadRanger Supporting Member

    Feb 18, 2004
    NE CT
    Yup, quite normal.
  3. Furious_Man77

    Furious_Man77 Low frequencies since 1997

    Jul 5, 2010
  4. lfmn16

    lfmn16 Supporting Member

    Sep 21, 2011
    charles town, wv
    I got roasted on TB for just suggesting that a singer should know what key they sing a song in. Even I would never expect them to know the chords to a song.
    Rocker949, elkkid2, StayLow and 7 others like this.
  5. Winfred


    Oct 21, 2011
    It is quite common, yes. Should it be? No.

    Count your blessings if you find a singer that comes in at the right time, nails the phrasing, and sings in key. And if they're also a good front-person, you've hit the jackpot.
  6. catcauphonic

    catcauphonic High Freak of the Low Frequencies Supporting Member

    Mar 30, 2012
    Seattle WA
    It's totally normal.

    Same thing happened to me before my first band audition, only it was the drummer and rhythm guitar player (who wrote the songs) not knowing the chords or even note names! Fortunately they didn't write too complicated music :laugh: and I got the spot
  7. s2bs2


    Apr 1, 2009
    Sonoma, CA.
    is my answer to the title.
    do they often? no.
  8. Clef_de_fa

    Clef_de_fa Guest

    Dec 25, 2011
    well ... this is disapointing ... no Wonder so many musicians and music is considered amateur and a joke in the eye of jazz and classical musicians
  9. Hahaha


    Sep 26, 2003
    Olympia, WA USA
    I guess most of the singers I've worked with didn't know the chord progressions. Many didn't know what keys the songs they sang were in. I work with a female drummer at times who sings hundreds of songs. Seems like she knows the lyrics and melody to nearly every song that's been on the radio since 1955. She knows the keys to all of them, and can sing the bass lines to songs that I don't know. That's handy. She's the female drummer in the nightclub scene in the movie The Creeping Terror. That makes her even cooler.
  10. bolophonic


    Dec 10, 2009
    Durham, NC
    As long as everyone sounds good, I no longer care who knows what about anything.
  11. RustyAxe


    Jul 8, 2008
    Sounds like a train wreck in progress. Keep us posted.
  12. sparkyfender2


    Nov 25, 2013

    Whoa. Wait.

    She was in "The Creeping Terror?" The low budget movie from 1964 that had the monster made from a roll of carpet?
    Too cool! I love that crazy film.
    morgansterne and bolophonic like this.
  13. ddnidd1

    ddnidd1 Supporting Member

    Realistically they should know what key they sing a song in.

    However, by OP's rationale in order to play bass in the band, you perhaps should know how to sing - just to play bass.
    Thisguy, elkkid2 and gypsyfelon like this.
  14. cnltb


    May 28, 2005
    Should singers who front a band know chord progressions?
    It certainly won't hurt if they do.
  15. Krystal Childs

    Krystal Childs Banned

    Feb 13, 2015
    Unless they play an instrument they usual don't know what a chord is. And sometimes even if a person plays a instrument they can't tell you the chord progression on the song. That used to really frustrate me. It's like man you don't even know the name of the notes on your instrument. Next..
    Liam Wald, nuhckes8 and /\/\3phist0 like this.
  16. Kmonk


    Oct 18, 2012
    South Shore, Massachusetts
    Endorsing Artist: Fender, Spector, Ampeg, Curt Mangan, Nordstrand Pickups, Korg , Conquest Sound
    Why would a singer who doesn't play an instrument know chord progressions? Most of the time, they don't even know what key the song is in. They just know whether or not they can sing the song.
    TinIndian, Buzz E and /\/\3phist0 like this.
  17. ZachariahLee


    Feb 3, 2013
  18. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    Unless he plays an instrument or involved in arrangements, who cares? Would be nice, but hardly necessary.
  19. mcarp555

    mcarp555 Guest

    Jul 14, 2013
    Do you really think Ella Fitzgerald or Kiri Te Kanawa could roll off the chord progressions to what they're singing?
    Thisguy and Rocker949 like this.
  20. FretNoMore

    FretNoMore * Cooking with GAS *

    Jan 25, 2002
    The frozen north
    Nah, I think they should know the key so they can tell the band, the chord progression is hardly necessary.

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