Guitarist songwriter

Using a Minor i-Chord In Your Songs’ Progressions

Most of the time when you switch a major chord to a minor chord, you’re using what’s called a modal mixture, or “borrowed chord.” The most common switch is the change from a major IV-chord to a minor iv, like this: I  vi  IV  iv  I  (C  Am  F  Fm  C) It adds a nice moody […]

Piano and guitar - songwriting process

Why So Many Songwriters Start By Working Out Chords

The basic mood your songs convey is one of the most important aspects of songwriting. Before anyone figures out even what your song is about, they can pick up a mood pretty quickly. And the one element that often conveys mood quicker than any other is the chord progression. That, in a nutshell, is why so many songwriters […]

How to Use Chord Inversions (“Slash Chords”) – Plus 6 Examples

Every chord has contains at least 3 notes: C uses C-E-G; Dm uses D-F-A; Em uses E-G-B, and so on. Some chords contain more than 3. For example, G7 has the 3 notes that make up the “triad” part: G-B-D, and then a 7th on top, making it a 4-note chord: G-B-D-F. The root of a chord is the note represented by […]

Guitarist - Songwriter

6 Easy Steps For Melody-First Songwriting

When I write music, I like starting with melody first. But melody-first writing means also thinking about chords. That’s because the musical part of our brain is always assembling melody notes and coming up with chords. If you want to see how this works, click to listen to this melody: A simple enough melody. Play it […]

Starting a Song Bridge on a ii-Chord

A song’s bridge usually follows the second go-through of the chorus. And it’s a good opportunity for you temporarily to explore a new key area. That’s because by the time this part of the song happens, a listener’s musical brain is ready for something new. So a bridge will usually give you: a new melody; a new […]

Piano & Guitar

Using the iii-Chord (and All Its Alternate Spellings)

For any major or minor key, you can build a chord on top of each note of its scale. That gives you seven chords that naturally exist for every key. If you do that with C major, for example, you get the following chords: I: C ii: Dm iii: Em IV: F V: G vi: Am vii: […]