I’ve been writing this blog since 2008, and every once in a while I check my most popular posts, just to see what kind of help songwriters are looking for. Back in the early days, there was a clear indicator that it was articles about chord progressions that got the most visits.
Then, starting around 2016 or so, that changed. Chord progression posts were still popular, but the articles that rose to the top of the list were mainly ones that had to do with lyrics.
If you like starting songs by working out chord progressions, you need this eBook: “Writing a Song From a Chord Progression.” It shows you how to avoid the typical problems that can arise from this common songwriting process. Get it separately, or as part of “The Essential Secrets of Songwriting 10-eBook Bundle.”
And it stayed that way for quite a while. This morning, however, I did another check, and things have moved back toward chord progressions, or at least articles that pertain to issues around the issue of chords and key.
And if you’re interested, here are the top seven posts on “The Essential Secrets of Songwriting” blog this week:
- 7 Chord Progressions That Work All the Time
- A 10-Step Process For Adding Melody To Your Lyrics
- 7 Tips for Changing Key Within a Song
- Identifying Chords that Work Well Together
- Switching From Major to Minor; Keep the Same Melody
- 8 Tips For Writing a Song Bridge
- Adding Chords to a Melody: the 3 Easy Steps
There are ways, of course, that this sort of list can get skewed. If there is a summer songwriting course going on that requires students to do a little research into a particular topic, it can make the results all move in a certain direction, and maybe writers of other songwriting blogs are seeing the same thing.
But it’s definitely true that chord progressions have always been high on the list of most requested information, no matter whatever else was being sought.
I’m often saying that chord progressions aren’t really all that important, and that a so-called boring progression can make for a great song. Buddy Holly’s “Peggy Sue” (Jerry Allison, Norman Petty) is a great example: a simple three-chord song that sits at 194 on Rolling Stone’s list of the “500 Greatest Songs of All Time.”
But if you’re not sure what makes a good chord progression, learning about progressions becomes very important, since a bad progression — one that just doesn’t work properly — can kill an otherwise good song.
So if you’re like many songwriters, and you’re looking for information on how to write a good chord progression, check out those articles listed above.
And if you really want to dig down deeper into how a good progression pairs up with melody, and enhances musical meaning, you might also want to check out my songwriting eBooks. Those eBooks will give you lists of progressions to try, but they’ll also show you how to create your own (along with teaching you about every other important songwriting principle.)
Excellence happens when you practice your technique. Gary’s 9-Lesson Course takes you through the fundamentals of writing good lyrics, melodies and chords, and helps you understand the concepts of great songwriting structure. It’s part of “The Essential Secrets of Songwriting 10-eBook Bundle.”