The Good and the Bad of Songwriting Formulas

Some thoughts (and posts) regarding songwriting formulas – when they’re good, and when they’re not.

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Guitar duoNot all formulas that pertain to songwriting are bad. But you need to know that following a formula means that to a certain degree you’re giving listeners what they’re expecting to hear. If you want to keep people interested in your music, always giving them what they expect is a bit dangerous. Songwriting formulas make it easy for audiences to label you, and that’s the danger.

But being predictable in some aspects, such as with chord progressions, is often a good thing. Throwing in chord progression surprises is a good thing, and can breathe life into your music. But on the whole, chord progressions should operate in at least somewhat predictable ways.

If you’d like to read more about the difference between songwriting formulas and chord progression formulas, check out these articles I’ve written in the past on this topic:

  1. Chord Progression Formulas: Good. Songwriting Formulas: Bad.
  2. Why Chord Progression Formulas Work So Well


Written by Gary Ewer, from “The Essential Secrets of Songwriting” website.
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  1. Pingback: FEATURED ARTICLE: The Good and the Bad of Songwriting Formulas | Creative Music | Inspiring Musical Creativity

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