Gerry Rafferty

“Planing” Chords to Create an Interesting Moment In Your Songs

Maybe I’m just not paying enough attention to today’s new music, but it seems to me that in the 70s and 80s, mainstream pop groups did a better job of using interesting chord progressions that added a lot to the overall effect of their music. As you likely know, I encourage especially newer songwriters to […]

Bob Dylan

The Colour Attributes of a Flat-VII Chord

Most of the time when you create chord progressions for your songs, you’re using chords that all come from a particular key. Often we combine chords even without knowing what key they come from. Trying to get the chords-first songwriting process working? Your main concern with chords-first songwriting will usually be the creation of good, memorable […]

Stevie Wonder

Five Easy Ways Your Chords Can Be More Interesting

As you know, I spend a lot of time telling songwriters that their chords don’t need to be complex or even innovative in order for a song to succeed. They just need to support the melody, and as long as that melody is catchy, and assuming the lyrics you come up with are engaging, you’ve […]

Songwriter - Synth

Why Chord Progression Formulas Usually Make Songs Better

In songwriting, a formula amounts to a set of steps that are predictable “responses” to whatever has just happened. And in general, they’re not necessarily desirable. What’s so undesirable about formulas? It comes down to this: most of your listeners like to hear musical ideas that are generated in a spontaneous sort of way, and […]

Beach Boys - Vocals

Creating Connections Between Verse and Chorus Chord Progressions in Your Song

There’s no particular songwriting principle that says that there needs to be a noticeable connection between the various chord progressions within a song. If you’ve got a song that uses a verse-chorus design, you can use a completely different progression in each section, progressions that have absolutely no obvious similarity. Having said that, there is a benefit […]

Keyboard

Starting Your Progressions on Something Other Than the I-Chord

If you want to know what key a song is in, it’s typically the chorus you should be looking at. That’s because verse progressions might wander about, making identification of the actual key a bit difficult. But by the time you get to the chorus, things usually become clearer. It’s not unusual, for example, for […]