Songwriter-Guitarist

Helping an Audience Understand Your Weird Chord Progressions

Here’s a quick tip for you if you like complex chord progressions: keep the weirdness toward the middle of your progression, and make the beginning and ending of it tonally strong. Here’s what that means: Most songs in the pop genres are going to be in one key or another, and so if you want […]

songwriter improvising melodies and chords

Improving Your Ability to Imagine Melodies

If the songs you write come about as a result of improvising — either by yourself or with other songwriters/players — you probably find that the various components of a song come together in layers. A bit of this, a bit of that, and it all eventually glues together. If you’re writing songs by yourself, […]

Sam Smith - I'm Not the Only One

Creating a Verse and Chorus Over the Same Chord Progression

It sometimes amazes me how different a verse and chorus can be from each other. The classic example of this is probably Paul Simon’s “My Little Town“, which features a long meandering verse with a complex chord progression, syncopations and changing time signatures. The chorus changes character almost completely, offering a very short, catchy hook […]

Piano-playing songwriter

Using a Diminished-ii Chord in Major Key Songs

If your song is in a major key, you know that the ii-chord is going to be minor. So if your song is in the key of C major, the chord based on the note D will be Dm (D-F-A). And you’ll be using progressions that might be like the following: C  F  Dm  G […]

Working Backwards to Create Better Chord Progressions

Chord progressions offer an important sense of direction. It’s why they’re called progressions and not successions. And of course, most elements within a song come with a similarly important sense of direction. Melodies and lyrics typically work in a forward direction, but when performed backwards, they don’t usually work at all. “Chord Progression Formulas” shows you how […]

Matching a Chord Progression to the Mood and Message of Your Song

In yesterday’s post I wrote about two-chord progressions, and how a song practically never suffers from a chord progression that’s short or boring. While that’s true, it doesn’t mean that a chord progression can’t help strengthen your song’s structure. If you’re hoping to give stronger meaning to your lyrics by using more creative chords, you […]