Fleetwood Mac - Don't Stop

Song Melodies: Thinking About Your Starting Note

Because good songwriting usually starts with improvising ideas based on your instincts, you may not have given much thought to what note your tunes start on. The chord you choose, in most circumstances anyway, limits your choices to 3 notes: the root, the 3rd or the 5th. Understandably, there’s no rule that governs what the […]

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 […]

Guitar - Songwriting

Determining the Key of Weird Chord Progressions

Take a look at the following two progressions. The first one comes from the verse of John Legend’s “All of Me” (John Stephens, Toby Gad), and the second one comes from the verse of “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” (Elton John, Bernie Taupin): 1. All of Me: Fm  Db  Ab  Eb 2. Goodbye Yellow Brick Road: […]

Band rehearsal session

5 Tiny Adjustments That Can Save a Bad Song

A few posts back, I mentioned that in the creative arts (songwriting and other forms of composition, for example), good editing is more often about what you remove than what you add or change. In other words, the best fixes to bad music frequently happens when you remove stuff, not add stuff. If I’ve written something that’s 5 […]

Synth - chord progressions

Songwriting: Moving From Aeolian Mode to Major Key

Some songwriters have a natural aversion to music theory. That dislike usually goes hand-in-hand with the mistaken belief that the purpose of music theory is to tell you what you should or shouldn’t be writing. That’s never been the purpose or power of music theory. Rather, theory gives you an understanding of the structure and […]

How to Power Up and Control the Mood of Your Music

Whatever you write about comes with a mood. Not to simplify this, but songs are usually either generally happy or sad, with often a blend of many different shadings of emotions. “Happy” can mean “triumphant”, “at peace”, “jubilant”, “satisfied”… you get my meaning. Of all the various elements that go together to make a song, chord progressions are […]