Bass player

How a Bass Pedal Point Strengthens a Chord Progression

A bass pedal point refers to a situation where you keep the same note in the bass (or left hand of a keyboard instrument) regardless of the chords that are playing above it. Pedal point can make an otherwise boring progression sound much more interesting because when the bass stays the same it will clash […]

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. […]

David Bowie - The Next Day

How a Creative Chord Progression Can Make a Song More Meaningful

Of all the various elements that go together to make a song, a chord progression can get away with being less than imaginative. Your melody and lyric both need to be new and interesting, or else you haven’t written an original song. But the chords might be as mundane as a standard I-IV-V-I type of […]

Song Melody

The Power of a Great Song Melody

Robin Gibb once said that a great song is all about a great melody. It really depends on the genre, but most of the time I think he’s right. When you’ve hooked a listener with a good melody, you’ve given them something to hum — something to remember. A great melody is a powerful way […]

Rush - Freewill

Freewill: When Melody Lines are Bass Lines

Most of the time the bass in a band plays the root of the chord of the moment. In most genres, it is stylistically desirable for the bass to occasionally fill in the spots between strong beats with other notes, and we’re inclined to rate a bassist’s abilities based on how inventive/supportive these between-the-beats figurations […]

guitarist - songwriter

Getting a Weird Chord Progression Working: 2 Methods

Most songs in the pop genres use simple chord progressions. “Simple” means that they target the tonic chord — the chord that represents the song’s key — and make that tonic chord sound like “home.” These sorts of progressions: C-F-G7-C (I-IV-V7-I) C-Am-Dm-G-C (I-vi-ii-V-I) C-Dm-G-C (I-ii-V-I) These are all in the key of C major, and […]