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 […]

Guitar - chords - songwriter

Minor Verse to Major Chorus – the Easy Way

If you like the sound of a minor verse moving to a major chorus, you’re in good company. Many songs move from minor to major. That natural “brightening” of the sound just seems to work really well. To hear this in action, you might listen to Carole King’s “You’ve Got a Friend,” Justin Timberlake’s “Mirrors”, or […]

Piano - songwriter - theory

Tips and Tricks: When You Want to Change Key in the Middle

Choosing the key for your song usually involves, at least in the first instance, finding the key that suits your vocal range. Most of the time this isn’t specifically a songwriting issue as much as it is a performance issue. But there are other aspects of key choice that amounts to making a songwriting choice. […]

Piano and guitar - chords

What To Do With a Song Chorus That Isn’t Working

Let’s say you’ve come up with a hook that you think should be something that works well as the main flag-waving part of your chorus. So then you set about to write a verse that leads into that chorus. But once that’s done, and you play the verse and chorus in sequence, you find that the […]

Mumford and Sons

3 Verse-Chorus Chord Progression Partners: Changing Key

Most of the time, if there is a difference in key between a verse and chorus, it’s the kind of thing where a verse will be in minor, switching to the relative major for the chorus. Then you get songs like “Little Lion Man” by Mumford & Sons, which switches quite freely back and forth […]

Pet Shop Boys

Making Dramatic Changes to Song Mood With Tempo

Songwriting tends to happen in two stages. First, you spend a certain amount of time creating ideas, and second, you experiment with, pull together and reshape those ideas until you get the song into its final form. Some songwriters find the first stage relatively easy, but get frustrated trying to make a finished song. They get […]