Sam Smith - I'm Not the Only One

Creating a Verse and Chorus Over the Same Chord Progression

It sometimes amazes me how different a verse and chorus can be from each other. The classic example of this is probably Paul Simon’s “My Little Town“, which features a long meandering verse with a complex chord progression, syncopations and changing time signatures. The chorus changes character almost completely, offering a very short, catchy hook […]

Piano-playing songwriter

Using a Diminished-ii Chord in Major Key Songs

If your song is in a major key, you know that the ii-chord is going to be minor. So if your song is in the key of C major, the chord based on the note D will be Dm (D-F-A). And you’ll be using progressions that might be like the following: C  F  Dm  G […]

Keyboard - Chord Progressions

Working Backwards to Create Better Chord Progressions

Chord progressions offer an important sense of direction. It’s why they’re called progressions and not successions. And of course, most elements within a song come with a similarly important sense of direction. Melodies and lyrics typically work in a forward direction, but when performed backwards, they don’t usually work at all. “Chord Progression Formulas” shows you how […]

Matching a Chord Progression to the Mood and Message of Your Song

In yesterday’s post I wrote about two-chord progressions, and how a song practically never suffers from a chord progression that’s short or boring. While that’s true, it doesn’t mean that a chord progression can’t help strengthen your song’s structure. If you’re hoping to give stronger meaning to your lyrics by using more creative chords, you […]

Keyboard player - songwriter - chord inversions

The Secret to a Good Two-Chord Song

Because most songwriters want to stand out from the crowd, at least just a bit, it’s common to go looking for chord progressions that are unique, or at least somewhat inventive. I love a creative chord progression, and so I think looking for chords that sound fresh and not overly-used by others is a worthwhile […]

Changing Key (While Not Really Changing Key)

Most songs will keep the same key from beginning to end. For songs that do change key, the most common circumstance is when you have a minor verse that moves to a major chorus. You hear this in lots of songs. I did a video a while back regarding how songs change key, and referred […]