Catfish and the Bottlemen

Pacing Your Chord Changes to Create Musical Energy

We use the term harmonic rhythm to describe the rate that chords change when compared to the number of melody notes. So let’s say you’ve written a song where the melody is primarily a stream of 8th notes. If you’re not sure what that means, think of the verse (and that prominent intro bass line) of […]

Andy Grammer

A Chords-and-Melody Troubleshooting Guide for Songwriters

Is putting chords and melodies together one of your biggest challenges as a songwriter? Every song is unique, and uniqueness can sometimes make it hard to understand how chords can and should be supporting the form of your songs, and the melody notes above them. If you like starting songs by working out chord progressions, […]

Guitar and Piano

Starting Chord Progressions Away From the Tonic Chord

In music, the tonic chord is the chord that represents the key of the song: C  Dm  Am  G  C In that progression, the key is C major, and C is the tonic chord. The psychology of music makes the tonic chord sound like “home” to us. Our brains relax when, after a long sequence […]

Synthesizer player - Songwriter

Creating Chord Progressions That Work in Practically Any Song

A good chord progression has a sense of direction. It doesn’t just wander about, one nice chord following another nice one. Once a progression starts, it’s usually the case that it targets a particular chord, making that one chord more “important”, so to speak, than the others. You see this targeting of that one important […]

Guitar and paper for songwriting

Writing a Song From a Chord Progression – An Excerpt

If you like starting songs by working out the chord progressions first, you may be aware of one notable difficulty: melodies can sometimes get neglected. And that’s a problem, since the melody is the part that you hope your listeners will be humming. But there are ways to make sure that the chords-first songwriting process […]

guitarist - songwriter

Getting a Weird Chord Progression Working: 2 Methods

Most songs in the pop genres use simple chord progressions. “Simple” means that they target the tonic chord — the chord that represents the song’s key — and make that tonic chord sound like “home.” These sorts of progressions: C-F-G7-C (I-IV-V7-I) C-Am-Dm-G-C (I-vi-ii-V-I) C-Dm-G-C (I-ii-V-I) These are all in the key of C major, and […]