Bruno Mars - Mark Ronson

Key Suggestions for Song Sections

You know that there are many songs where verses and choruses are in different keys. When it comes to questions about chord progressions that I receive, the most common kinds of questions relate to that issue: how to get from one key to another in a typical song. It’s not unusual for a song to […]

Using Deceptive Cadences to Make Chord Progressions More Interesting

I mentioned cadences in my last post. A cadence is the end of a musical phrase — the end of a line of music or lyric. Sometimes that cadence sounds temporary, when the lyric sounds like the a pause in the middle of a sentence (at a comma), and sometimes much more final, like the […]

Piano - songwriting

How to Create Interesting Moments Within Strong Chord Progressions

There are songwriters that like to use complex progressions that really take us on an intricate musical journey. But the fact is that most of the time, particularly in popular music genres (pop, country, folk, etc.), chord progressions are largely predictable. No songwriter I know likes to use the word “predictable” in describing any aspect […]

Peter Gabriel - Car

3 Big Tips For Making More Interesting Chord Progressions.

Every once in a while I take a look at the visitor stats for my blog, and especially take note of which pages — and in particular the topics — are the most popular. Typically it’s been articles about chords that get the most attention – usually 6 out of the 7 top posts. So […]

Singer-Songwriter

Manipulating the Tonic Chord For a More Effective Verse

It’s usually not hard to know that a song we’re listening to has reached the chorus. We’ll notice that the chord progression will get shorter and simpler, and target the tonic chord more. The melody of a chorus is often made up of short, catchy, hooky bits that get repeated over and over, and the […]

8 Tips to Guide Your Search for Chord Substitutions

If you’re bored with the chord progression you’ve come up with for your latest song, you’ll naturally want to spend some time looking for chord substitutions that sound more interesting. But if you find that choosing new chords is a matter of random hunting, you can waste a lot of time. With a few tips, […]