Peter Gabriel - Car

3 Big Tips For Making More Interesting Chord Progressions.

Every once in a while I take a look at the visitor stats for my blog, and especially take note of which pages — and in particular the topics — are the most popular. Typically it’s been articles about chords that get the most attention – usually 6 out of the 7 top posts. So […]

Songwriter's Block

When Your Creative Process Slams on the Brakes

There’s a analogy for writer’s block that I’ve seen, written by Patrica Huston, MD, in the January 1998 edition of Canadian Family Physician, that succinctly describes what happens when we can’t write anymore: Medical writer and editor Elizabeth Whalen suggests that writer’s block is an example of a “right brain-left brain” conflict. The right, or […]

Guitar and piano

8 Tips to Guide Your Search for Chord Substitutions

If you’re bored with the chord progression you’ve come up with for your latest song, you’ll naturally want to spend some time looking for chord substitutions that sound more interesting. But if you find that choosing new chords is a matter of random hunting, you can waste a lot of time. With a few tips, […]

Feist - How Come You Never Go There

The Tricky Nature of Pop Song Analysis

I’m a believer in song analysis as a way of improving songwriting technique. For any writer of music, basic curiosity should make us want to know why something sounds so good, so that we might be able to incorporate at least some of those ideas into our own music. (Or why something sounds so bad, so […]

Songwriter Listening

Listening: The Best Antidote When Writer’s Block Hits

If you ever spend time reading or listening to interviews with some of the world’s best songwriters, you’ll probably notice how much time they spend talking about other people’s music. McCartney often talks about how he was influenced by Dylan, The Byrds, The Beach Boys, and many others from many genres. To McCartney, listening to others […]

Peter Gabriel - Games Without Frontiers

Coming Up With Creatively Predictable Chord Progressions

A chord progression is the one element that doesn’t overly hurt a song if it’s predictable. Creative songs are still being written using the tried-and-true I-IV-V-I progression. It’s the uniqueness of the melody and lyrics (and all the related bits such as phrasing, rhythm. etc.) that really matter. Having said that, there’s something nice about […]