Band rehearsal

Choosing the Chords That Work With Your Melody

You’ll notice that when you’ve got a melody, the notes of that melody imply the chords you’re likely to use. That’s not to say that you’ve got no choice in the matter, of course. For every chord you might use, there is a list of chords that could serve as substitutes. Just as an example, […]

Piano-playing songwriter

Changing Your Songwriting Approach

In order for an athlete to improve, something needs to change. A golfer who wants to improve needs to develop a different stance, or perhaps hold the club differently, or do some other thing in a different way. Athletes work all the time on that simple idea of change. If they aren’t changing something, their […]

Joni Mitchell

Theme and Variations as a Songwriting Technique

A common musical form that classical composers have loved for centuries is theme and variations; a melody is repeated, changed in some way, but still similar enough to the original that it’s recognizable. It was a measure of a composer’s musical imagination, and fun for an audience to hear what might happen next with the […]

Bruno Mars - Mark Ronson

Key Suggestions for Song Sections

You know that there are many songs where verses and choruses are in different keys. When it comes to questions about chord progressions that I receive, the most common kinds of questions relate to that issue: how to get from one key to another in a typical song. It’s not unusual for a song to […]

Songwriter - editing music

Making Improvements On Your New Song Hook

When you get an idea for a song, you’re actually getting several ideas all at once. That’s how creativity works. You might think that you’ve just conjured up a single entity called a hook, but in fact you’ve brought together at least 3 different things very quickly: A catchy little melodic bit; A chord progression […]

Finding Good Chords Starts With Tapping Your Foot

Looking for an easy way to discover the chords that could potentially go with a melody? It’s not a random process; it really depends mainly on what notes are happening on strong beats. There is a bit of instinct involved, particularly with regard to how often you should change chords. You’ll notice that most songs, if you […]