Sting - The Police

There’s a Benefit to Writing Song Melodies That Use Few Notes

When I listen to a song that’s spent a good deal of time at the top of the charts, I’m often amazed by how simple its structure is, how simple the chords are, and how few notes the melody actually uses. Sure, there are the exceptions. Elton John’s songs, for example, tend to use long […]

Piano and guitar - chords

Creating Chords For Your Song’s Bridge Section

Getting melodies and chords working well together is vital knowledge for any songwriter. “How to Harmonize a Melody” shows you, step by step, how that works, and gives you sound samples to follow. About seven years ago I wrote a blog post about the best way to create chord progressions for a song’s bridge. I […]

synthesizer keyboards on stage

5 Top Tips for Getting Chords and Melodies to Work Well Together

Whether you come up with the chords and then create a melody, or have a melody that you want to add chords to, you need to be sure that the chords are properly supporting the melody. When chords and melody work well together, you have the happy circumstance that they both sound better than they […]

guitarist - songwriter

Using Chord Progression Sleight-of-Hand In Song’s Bridge

This is a bit of an addition to yesterday’s post, in which I gave some thoughts on the melody and lyrics of Bruce Springsteen’s “Hungry Heart“. There’s one other aspect of this song that deserves a quick mention: the key change at the song’s instrumental bridge (at 1’38”). The song is in C# major. We […]

Minor chord progressions for songwriters

Making Standard Chord Progressions More Interesting: Try These Five Ideas

Chord progressions are responsible for much of the mood that we pick up in a song. Chords don’t do it on their own of course, but we get a clearer picture of the mood from the way the chords change more than from pretty much any other single element. Simple, standard progressions work just fine […]

Piano and guitar - songwriter

Melody-First Songwriting Means You Need to Have a Good Grasp of Chords

If you take a look back — way back — into the history of music composition, you’ll discover that writing music meant writing melodies. If you listen to something written in, say, around 1550, you’ll hear several melodies being sung together, harmonizing with each other, but not purposely creating chord progressions. The chords were incidental; chords […]