A Simple Way to Create Minor-Sounding Verses

It’s a common characteristic of many songs in the pop genres: a minor-sounding verse that moves to a major-sounding chorus. You might think that means you need to create two completely different progressions. But let’s say that you’ve worked out a good chorus hook, and now you’re trying to create a verse that partners well […]

Guitar and Piano

How Bridge Chords Work in Most Songs

A bridge (or middle-8) is the section that usually follows the second chorus of a song. Back in the earlier days of rock & roll, that bridge was likely to be strictly an 8-bar section, but these days the definition has allowed for a lot more creativity. In general, though, you can expect a bridge […]

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, […]

Neil Young

Songwriting: Pivoting Between Major and Minor

When writing a song, it seems logical to assume that it will be either in a major or minor key, and you simply have to choose which one. But there is another option, which is to allow the song to start minor, switch quickly to major, then back to minor, and so on. You’d be […]

Piano & Guitar

Using the iii-Chord (and All Its Alternate Spellings)

For any major or minor key, you can build a chord on top of each note of its scale. That gives you seven chords that naturally exist for every key. If you do that with C major, for example, you get the following chords: I: C ii: Dm iii: Em IV: F V: G vi: Am vii: […]

3 Easy Changes to Try With Your Latest Song

The closer you are to finishing a song, the less likely you are to experiment with radical changes. At the start of your process, you might change chords, try different lyrics, and even change the melody. But as your song nears completion, the changes you might try are usually small ones. The song feels “set”, […]