Guitar - altered chords

Creating Quick Mood Swings Using Chord Surprises

One of the reasons many songwriters like the chords-first songwriting process is that chords do a great job of setting up a mood. Once you’ve got the mood, you’ll find that lyrics happen a bit easier, and then many things fall into place: melody, rhythmic feel, tempo, and so on. One way to get even […]

Shawn Mendes

The Same Melody From Different Angles

This is something that doesn’t necessarily occur to casual listeners to pop music: the number of times we hear a melody that’s really just the same short 4- or 5-note cell that gets repeated over and over with different chords underneath. Like starting the songwriting process by working out the chords first? There are benefits […]

Keyboard player - songwriter - chord inversions

Ideas for Experimenting With a Chord Progression

Do you find that your fingers keep moving to the same chord progressions every time you sit down to improvise ideas for your next song? One of the easiest ways of dealing with this is to use a collection of chord progressions and start playing through them. (Check out the collections in my eBook Bundle […]

Songwriter-Guitarist

7 Ways Chord Progressions Affect the Mood of Your Music

If you’re like many songwriters, coming up with a solid progression that supports the mood of your song is an important first step in the songwriting process. The process usually looks bit like this: Improvise (either on guitar or keyboard) some chords that work well together. Find a catchy rhythm that makes those chords sound […]

Songwriter at piano

Breaking Away From Using the Same Old Chords

There is a kind of musical “muscle memory,” where we keep relying on the same musical ideas as we write our songs. Practically every songwriter is familiar with it: similar sounding melodies, the same (or almost the same) chord progressions, the same kinds of lyrics, and so on. A bit of similarity between songs you […]

Piano and guitar - mixolydian mode

What is a Fragile Chord Progression?

If you’ve got a melody, but don’t know how to add chords to it, you need to read “How to Harmonize a Melody.” It will show you, with sound samples, a clear step-by-step for adding chords that will make your melody sound great. In most pop songs, the chord progressions you’ll find yourself using will […]