Chord Progressions, and the Strong-Fragile Concept

Last week I received an email from a blog reader, with a question regarding chord progressions. It’s similar to one that I receive a lot, and so I thought perhaps I would post it here, along with my answer [slightly edited in spots for clarity], and hope that it might be helpful for those of […]

Singer-Songwriter

Making Use of Musical Ambiguity in Your Songwriting

There is a pattern you’ll notice in most pop songs, which is that as they move along, they alternate between sections that are ambiguous in nature and sections that are much clearer and easy to understand. I like using the terms “fragile” and “strong”: In many songs, that “fragile-strong” labelling is synonymous with “verse-chorus” structure. […]

Making Best Use of a “Fragile” Songwriting Idea

To describe a musical idea as “fragile” means that there is a certain measure of ambiguity. I like to use the term especially when describing chord progressions. A fragile progression is one in which any of the following are true: The chords do not strongly indicate the key. For example, moving back and forth from Am […]

Guitarist - songwriter on stage

Avoid These 5 Chord Progression Mistakes In Your Songwriting

Knowing why some chord progressions your’e coming up with sound good while others just don’t work at all is an entire area of study in music schools. For many of you, though, a good chord progression is something you can come up with by improvising and by borrowing ideas from other existing progressions. In this blog […]

Drake - Controlla

Deciding Where in a Song a Chord Progression Belongs

It’s quite possible to use a single chord progression in every section of your song, such as you might hear in “Controlla” (Drake et al). But if you do choose to use the same progression throughout a song without changing it, it’s the kind of progression that needs to sound tonally strong. A strong progression simply […]

7 Things You May Not Know About Chord Progressions

Do you find that getting chords to sound right is the hardest part of getting a song working? Chord theory is a topic that takes considerable study to understand it thoroughly, so let’s look at it from a different angle. Here are 7 things about chord progressions that many songwriters don’t know. It may help you […]