I’ve just finished a new eBook for those of you who are looking for a creative solution to the chord progressions you’re experimenting with in your songs. “Creative Chord Progressions” is a free add-on to “The Essential Secrets of Songwriting” 10-eBook Bundle, and is available now to new purchasers. It is in high-quality PDF format.
[NOTE: If you’re a previous buyer of one of the full bundles I’ve offered in the past 3 years, I am very happy to make this new eBook available to you. I’ll start offering it to previous purchasers (those who purchased a full bundle deal starting in 2013) on Monday, July 18. Starting on that date, please write me to request your free copy. I’m very grateful, as always, for your interest in the materials.]
“Creative Chord Progressions” is a 25-page eBook manual that gives you suggestions for interesting solutions to chord progressions – ones that go beyond the typical I-IV-V-I kind of progressions. If you want something to tweak your interest, this will be a good starting point for you. Over the past decade, I’ve written many articles on this topic, and so this eBook pulls a lot of those ideas together into one convenient manual, and then adds new ones to the list of suggested progressions.
The various chord treatments are categorized, so you’ll find examples of pedal point, inverted pedals, inversions, modal mixtures, chord planing, and more. Being a relatively short manual, it’s main purpose is to show you possibilities, and to give you some samples to inspire your imagination so that you can create your own.
A short excerpt from the Introduction:
Songwriting formulas are something that producers instinctively love and many songwriters instinctively dislike. Producers love formulas because they offer a chance to repeat, at least on some level and to some degree, prior successes, and success means sales. If a song has proven to be a winner, some of the non-specific attributes of that song — its form, sound, feel, etc. — can be repeated through the use of formulas, assuming you come up with a new melody with new lyrics. Songwriters hate formulas for the reason that producers love them: the purposeful repeating of some aspect of a prior success. Good songwriters have no interest in simply repeating what a previous song has done. It kills creativity and stifles the imagination. The best songs, it is probably safe to say, offer a balance. They balance the application of formulas with innovation. In other words, they give the listener something new, but not so new that the audience gets distracted, bored or confused.
Chord progressions on the other hand are one of the few components of music for which formulas can play an important and powerful role. That’s because while there are practically infinite ways to put notes together to form unique melodies, or words together to form unique lyrics, there really is only a finite number of chords and ways to organize chords for any given key. Consequently we tend to see the same chord progressions over and over again. The way they work in the pop music genres is generally the way they work in every other genre, and they have been working this way for at least 400 years. We’re using chord progressions that might have been used by Johann Pachelbel, the one who composed the famous “Canon in D”. Pachelbel was composing music in the latter half of the 17th century. That’s how old good chord progressions are.
I’ve written close to 1700 articles for “The Essential Secrets of Songwriting” blog, and a considerable number of those posts have dealt with some aspect of chord progressions. Many of them are rudimentary in nature, describing the fundamentals of how chords work and how progressions work. Some of them go beyond the basics, offering ideas for how you can make your progressions a bit more creative.
The purpose of this eBook is to describe ways in which you can take ordinary progressions and make them more interesting. So I’ve gone back over those blog posts and taken a new look at what I’ve done on this topic over the past decade or so, and collected many of the ideas together in this manual. It’s not going to discuss much concerning how to get chord progressions to work in the first place, because the other eBooks in the bundle package you’ve purchased will do that for you. But so that you don’t have to piece together from those 1700 articles what I’ve said on this topic, I’ve put them all in this eBook, in one place.
Some of what I say in these pages has been said elsewhere in other books I’ve written. If you are struggling with the basics, your first job should be to go now to “The Essential Secrets of Songwriting”, 3rd edition, and read Chapter 4: Chord Progressions. That will show you how and why progressions work as they do, and will help you understand the rudiments of harmony that will allow you to get a start on creating your own working progressions.
If you want to read more about “Creative Chord Progressions”, or to take advantage of this 10-eBook time-limited offer, please visit the purchase page.