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 […]

Guitar & piano - chord progressions

Options For 3-Chord and 4-Chord Songs

Get “The Essential Secrets of Songwriting” Deluxe eBook Bundle, and take your songwriting to a new level of excellence. Includes “Writing a Song From a Chord Progression.” When we say that you can write a song with nothing more than three chords, we’re usually talking about I-IV-V (like “La Bamba”), or perhaps I-ii-V. In C major, […]

Toggling Back and Forth Between Fragile and Strong

I use the word “fragile” when talking about certain kinds of chord progressions. “Fragile” usually means that the tonic chord less than obvious. In that context, here’s a list of chord progression characteristics that might result in a “fragile” progression: “Fragile” may mean that it uses a lot of chords that don’t exist naturally in the song’s key. For […]