Jimi Hendrix

Chord Ideas for Minor Key Songwriting

If you find that everything you write is in a major key, you’re missing out on an opportunity to create songs that tap into a darker or perhaps edgier side of music, a side that minor key writing offers. It might be that you aren’t sure how to create minor key progressions, and so I’ve […]

Guitar in a nature setting

When You’re Stuck in Ballad Mode

If you listen to early Bee Gees tunes, you’ll notice how much they favoured slow tempos. Everything (well, almost everything) seemed to be a ballad. That’s not a criticism of their compositional prowess. But they were definitely, at least mostly, in ballad mode in their pre-disco days. Check out their 1971 album “Trafalgar” and you’ll […]

Pensive songwriter

What Are You Doing to Improve?

What are you doing to improve as a songwriter? You’d probably answer that question by saying, “Well, I’m trying to write more“, or “I’m trying to become more consistent…” That’s one way of saying that you don’t really have a plan. No one improves without change. You want to get better at baseball? You change the […]

guitar - keyboard - headphones

Creating Chord Progression Motifs

In music, a motif is a short fragment of music that gets developed and repeated throughout the length of a song. The repetition aspect of a motif makes it similar to a hook. But a hook generally repeats verbatim; it generally sounds the same each time we hear it, like “She loves you, yeah, yeah, […]

songwriter improvising melodies and chords

Improving Your Ability to Imagine Melodies

If the songs you write come about as a result of improvising — either by yourself or with other songwriters/players — you probably find that the various components of a song come together in layers. A bit of this, a bit of that, and it all eventually glues together. If you’re writing songs by yourself, […]

The Bee Gees

Chord Progression Transitions Between Song Sections

With most good chord progressions, there is a sense that the progression is making one chord (the tonic) sound like a kind of musical target. As each chord happens, you hear that tonic chord approaching, and when it finally happens it sounds musically satisfying. Example: C  Dm  G  Em  Am  Dm  Gsus4  G7  C (I […]