Van Halen - Jump

What a Strong Chord Progression Does For Your Chorus

There are many ways to categorize chord progressions, but the best way system for songwriters is to classify them as being either fragile or strong. These two words, fragile and strong, pertain to the key of your song, and specifically refer to whether a progression makes the key very obvious or somewhat ambiguous. Getting melodies […]

Microphone in music studio

Tips For Writing Great Song Melodies

Many songwriters feel uncomfortable writing songs by starting with a melody. To them, a melody-first songwriting process means sitting with a digital recorder and mindlessly humming some notes until a usable melody miraculously appears. Then you’ve got the task of adding chords to that new melody, and it all seems daunting. Trying to get a […]

singer - songwriter

Getting Creative with Chord Inversions

Inverted chords, often called “slash chords” because of the way they’re notated (C/G: “C slash G”) can add a very useful sense of creativity to an otherwise ordinary chord progression. In fact, if you’re looking to make your progressions sound a bit more inventive, exploring ways to use inversions should be your first step. Here’s […]

Genesis - 1978

Changing Key from Introduction to First Verse

Changing the key of a song is not all that common. Most of the time a song will end in the same key that it started in. When a song does change key it’s often the case where the verse is in a minor key, and then switches to the relative major key for the […]

guitar - keyboard - headphones

Chord Basics for Songwriters: The Most Important 5 Things to Know

Getting melodies and chords working well together is vital knowledge for any songwriter. “How to Harmonize a Melody” shows you, step by step, how that works, and gives you sound samples to follow. There’s nothing keeping you from using someone else’s chords in your own song, since chord progressions aren’t protected by copyright. Having said […]

Guitar and keyboard

Making Strange Chord Progressions Work a Little Better

The first piece of advice I always give to songwriters who are contemplating using a complex, strange chord progression in their songs is this: Make sure the progression actually works, and isn’t just needlessly convoluted. The best chord progressions — even complex ones — are the ones that stay out of the way and support […]