Which Should Come First – Chords or Melody?

It’s probably true that more songwriters come up with a chord progression, in whole or in part, before they come up with the melody that goes along with it. These “chords first” people would probably say that they find it hard or impossible to come up with a good melody unless they’re hearing the chords underneath. […]

Rihanna's "Disturbia" – Why It Works

One of the points that I make over and over again to songwriters is that you really need to listen to the music of successful songwriters if you want to be successful. It’s not enough to hide yourself musically from what’s going on the comercial music world if you want to be part of that […]

Breathe Life Into Your Chord Progressions – With Pedal Tones

A bad chord progression can kill a song, but don’t assume that a good chord progression must grab your attention. Many of the best songs in the world use very basic chords which, by themselves, are probably a bit boring. That’s because a chord progression must work with your melody and lyrics without pulling focus. […]

Chord Progressions that Change Key

It’s relatively commonplace to change key in the middle of a song. It happens for various reasons, but probably the reason that stands out over the others is the need to increase the song’s overall energy. In that regard, you’ll find that raising the key by a half-step (semitone) or a whole step (whole tone) […]

What You Need to Know About Harmonic Rhythm

All songs exhibit patterns that are easily picked up by the listener.Rhythmic patterns are probably the first ones to be noticed, and might arguably be the most important ones in certain genres. A more subtle pattern is one that we call harmonic rhythm. Harmonic rhythm is, simply put, the frequency of chord changes, and there […]

Finding the Right Chords, Part 2

From “The Essential Secrets of Songwriting” website:   Any melody you come up with will be able to be harmonized in a variety of different ways. And that’s a good thing. It would be a very boring exercise if there was only one possibility for matching chords with melody notes. In the previous article we came […]