Piano and guitar - chords

3 Great Ways to Use a Flat-VI Chord In Your Major Key Progressions

A flat-VI chord is a major chord built on the lowered 6th degree of a major scale. In C major, the 6th degree is A. Lowering it gives you Ab, and a major chord built on that note gives you the 3-note chord Ab-C-Eb: the so-called flat-VI. In pop music genres, the flat-VI chord quite […]

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, […]

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 […]

Evaluating Your Song At Every Step of Writing It

If you were going to go on a long journey, you’d consult a map. If you’re using your smartphone, you’d consult the numbered steps on a Google or Apple Maps list (“Turn left onto West Street…”), and you’d mentally check off each listed location along the way. And you’d be confident that as long as […]

Leonard Cohen

Using Similar Rhythms Throughout a Melody Strengthens a Song

I’m often asked about motifs – how they work in typical songwriting, and if songwriters even need to be aware of them. Unlike a hook, which does its work in the foreground, a motif is a small building-block of music that works mainly in the background. That’s not to say we don’t typically hear motifs — […]

Guitar and music paper - Songwriting

An Idea for Increasing Your Songwriting Output

For some songwriters the process that takes you from that initial idea to a completed song can be long, meaning that the number of good (finished) songs you write per month might be relatively low – maybe 1 or 2. Your instincts might tell you that the easiest way to become a more prolific songwriter […]