3 Simple Things To Make a Chord Progression More Interesting

If you don’t like a progression you’ve just come up with, the obvious solution, of course, is to toss it and go looking for another one. But there’s actually another option: try one of the following three chord progression treatments. For each of these ideas, you keep the basic progression the same, but you make […]

5 Creative Ways To Use the Minor-iv Modal Mixture Chord

One of the best ways to come up with creative chord progressions is to: make a very simple one as a first step, and then… modify certain chords within that progression. That way, you start with something that works well, and then the slight modifications you make have the potential of creating entirely new moods. […]

Maroon 5 - Sugar

Assessing Your Latest Song Hook: a Checklist

Hooks feature prominently in pop songs because they grab immediate attention. If it’s a chorus hook, it’s not going to be heard until you get to the chorus, but that should happen before the 1-minute mark in most mid-tempo or uptempo songs. Because songs in the pop genres are relatively short, a lot is riding […]

Wet - Kelly Zutrau, Joe Valle

Chord Progressions for Pentatonic Melodies

Back in June I did a post on creating melodies from chord progressions. One method I described was creating melodies based on a pentatonic scale, and I want  to explore that idea a little more in this post. The word pentatonic means “five notes.” If you sit at a keyboard and improvise melodies using only […]

The Fixation on Genre

In the Classical music realm, we tend to look to history as a way of categorizing music. The Baroque era, for instance, is generally identified as that period of time from about 1600 to 1750. We can clearly hear similarities between compositions written during that time: the way the writer uses the instruments, the approach […]

How Momentum in Songwriting Works

Musical momentum, in practical terms, determines how likely a listener is to keep on listening to your song. Momentum propels music forward. When you hear a verse, and it sounds like it is begging for the chorus, that’s musical momentum at work. You might also use the word energy, but the result is the same. Every […]