Guitar - altered chords

Creating Quick Mood Swings Using Chord Surprises

One of the reasons many songwriters like the chords-first songwriting process is that chords do a great job of setting up a mood. Once you’ve got the mood, you’ll find that lyrics happen a bit easier, and then many things fall into place: melody, rhythmic feel, tempo, and so on. One way to get even […]

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 […]

Guitar and piano

Working Flat-III, Flat-VI, and Flat-VII Into a Major Progression

First, a Bit of Basic Theory… For any given major key, there are 7 chords that occur naturally, one built on each note of the scale. In the key of C major, that gives you these chords: C Dm Em F G Am Bdim According to the very popular HookTheory website, the 3 most commonly […]

Guitar - songwriting talent

Borrowing Chords From the “Opposite Mode” To Give a Progression New Life

Even if you don’t have a strong background in music theory, you likely know that some chords just sound right together, while others don’t. For example, in the following chord progression, it’s hard to make any kind of sense out of the F#m chord; it just sounds odd… too odd for most common genres, you […]

Replacing Major Chords With Minor: Modal Mixtures

Get “The Essential Secrets of Songwriting” 6-eBook Bundle, along with a FREE copy of “From Amateur to Ace: Writing Songs Like a Pro.” Seven ebooks in PDF format that will show you every aspect of music as it applies to the world of songwriting. Take your songwriting talents to a new level of excellence! Read more.. _____________ […]

Use Modal Mixture Chords for Added Colour

Written by Gary Ewer, from “The Essential Secrets of Songwriting” website. ________ Coming up with the list of chords that work in a particular key is relatively easy: simply build triads (3-note chords) above each note of a key’s scale. Of those seven chords, you’ll find that you use I and V the most, with […]