Copyright

When a Chord Progression Might Be Protected by Copyright

If you like starting your songwriting process with chords, you’re usually OK to take pretty much any chord progression you hear in anyone else’s song. That’s because chord progressions, on their own, are not protected by copyright. But having said that, there’s a caution here that you should consider when you do, in fact, use someone else’s […]

Guitar and Piano

Changing the Starting Point Within a Chord Progression

The tonic chord, which represents the key of your song (or song section), acts as a kind of tonal anchor: it sounds like “home”, and when you move away from it, your ears automatically listen for its return. You hear that easily in this basic progression: C  Am  Dm  G7  C If you look deeper […]

Guitar - altered chords

Tips for Adding Chords to Melodies

If you like any of the melody-first songwriting processes, you know that eventually you need to add chords to that melody. If chord progressions are the part of writing that’s a little out of your comfort zone, here are some tips and ideas that can help : Get a sense of the strong beat-weak beat […]

guitarist - songwriter

The Use of Chord Inversions in Pop Songwriting

An inverted chord is one in which the lowest-sounding note of the chord at any given moment is not the root of the chord. Inversions have a subtle way of manipulating the mood that a particular chord conveys, and can be a really great tool for songwriters looking to make their chord choices sound more sophisticated. […]

Guitarist - songwriter

Using Chords to Create More Interesting Melodies

On this blog, I find that I often describe chord progressions as being that one element of songs that doesn’t need to be complicated or unique. My main reason for downplaying the need for unique chord progressions is simply this: the more complicated a progression is, the more likely you’ll wind up with one that just […]