George Harrison

From a Minor Key Verse to Its Parallel Major

You may be familiar with the term relative major — that’s the major key that uses the same key signature as a particular minor key. It’s a very common key relationship in pop songs, because if you’ve written a song that uses a minor key verse, and you decide to switch to major for the chorus, […]

Songwriter - calculating a new key

Moving Your Song’s Key Upward For the Chorus

I remember a while ago listening to someone’s song, trying to analyze what the problem with the chorus was. The songwriter had sent it to me, telling me that she felt the song started with great promise, but halfway through the chorus, everything sounded underwhelming. In that particular song, we diagnosed the problem as being […]

Sugarland

Finding a Good Chord Progression For Your Song’s Pre-Chorus

A pre-chorus is not a mandatory section of a song. In fact, most songs don’t use them. But in some circumstances, a pre-chorus can be a vital addition to the structure of a song. It sits between the verse and chorus, and its main purpose is to better prepare the listener for the arrival of […]

Piano keyboard

A Bit of Chord Inversion (Slash Chord) Theory

Whenever you play a chord, you’re usually playing it in what’s called root position. This means that the root of the chord (the note represented by its letter name) is going to be the lowest-sounding note — the one that the bass is playing. If you want hundreds of chords to experiment with, “The Essential […]

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, […]