Joni Mitchell

Theme and Variations as a Songwriting Technique

A common musical form that classical composers have loved for centuries is theme and variations; a melody is repeated, changed in some way, but still similar enough to the original that it’s recognizable. It was a measure of a composer’s musical imagination, and fun for an audience to hear what might happen next with the […]

Sting - Every Breath You Take

After Verse and Chorus Chords, What To Do About the Bridge?

Most pop songs, and all the related genres such as folk, country, etc., use simple, strong chord progressions. In fact, when you go back and look at complex prog rock tunes from the early to mid-seventies, you might be surprised to see that chord choice is not nearly as adventurous as you might think. Complex […]

John Legend

Using Opposite Approaches For Your Verse and Chorus

As listeners of music, we like to hear contrasting ideas as a song progresses, even if we’re not consciously aware of it. In songwriting, a contrasting idea might mean something like this: one part of a melody that’s harmonized mainly with minor chords, followed by a section harmonized with mostly major ones. Contrast in a […]

Lady Gaga

When a Verse and Chorus Are In Different Keys

Having the verse and chorus in different keys is not rare if you consider the number of songs where the verse is mainly in minor, and then the chorus switches to the relative major. Sometimes the minor-major relationship is a different one, like Lady Gaga’s “Paparazzi” (Stefani Germanotta, Rob Fusari), which has a verse in […]

Songwriting - Piano and guitar

Tips and Tricks for Making Chord Progressions Better

“The Essential Secrets of Songwriting” 10-eBook Bundle contains 5 eBooks that pertain directly to chord progressions: how to create them, add them to melodies, and start the songwriting process with them. “Creative Chord Progressions” is free with your purchase of the bundle. For most chord progressions, it’s often the case that the chord you start […]

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 […]