Guitarist songwriter

Using a Minor i-Chord In Your Songs’ Progressions

Most of the time when you switch a major chord to a minor chord, you’re using what’s called a modal mixture, or “borrowed chord.” The most common switch is the change from a major IV-chord to a minor iv, like this: I  vi  IV  iv  I  (C  Am  F  Fm  C) It adds a nice moody […]

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 […]

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: […]

Chord Ideas for Connecting a Verse to a Chorus

There are a few important spots during a song, moments that serve as connectors between one section and the next. What happens during those connecting moments will either enticingly pull the listener along and make them want to keep listening, or that moment will fail to do its job, and we feel a temporary “lull” in […]

Keyboard & Guitar

Avoiding the Constant Return to the I-Chord

If you’re looking for ways to make your progressions a bit more interesting without being too weird, there’s a simple modification you should consider: simply avoid overusing the I-chord. In a standard I-IV-V-I progression (C-F-G-C) the I-chord is the tonic chord. It’s the one that represents your song’s key. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with its use, […]

Elton John

Creating Long Chord Progressions That Work

It might surprise you to know that most chord progressions, regardless of the genre of the song you’re looking at, are relatively short. Comparing verse to chorus, you’ll find that verse progressions tend to be a bit longer on average, involving more chords, but even so, progressions that use more than 6 or 7 chords are […]