Piano - songwriting

Writing Song Melodies, and What You Can Learn From “Heart and Soul”

“Heart and Soul“, that popular song that so many people like to plunk out mindlessly on piano, is a lot older than many realize. It was written in 1938 — 80 years ago! — by American songwriters Hoagy Carmichael and Frank Loesser. If you look up “infectious” in a music dictionary, don’t be too surprised […]

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, […]

Chord Ideas for Connecting a Verse to a Chorus

There are a few important spots during a song, moments that serve as connectors between one section and the next. What happens during those connecting moments will either enticingly pull the listener along and make them want to keep listening, or that moment will fail to do its job, and we feel a temporary “lull” in […]

Mike Rutherford, Genesis

Building Musical Energy With a Dominant Pedal

In a movement from a classical symphony, the music isn’t divided up into verses and choruses as is typical for pop songs. You’re more likely to see reference to sections called “1st theme”, “2nd theme”, “transition”, “development”, “coda”, and so on. With pop songs, you get a definite feeling that the basic energy of the music changes […]

Guitarist - Songwriter

Simple Changes to Simple Chords Can Yield Amazing Results

If you have a chord progression that works but doesn’t do much to inspire you, you can of course toss it and look for another. But with the simplest of changes, you can take a progression from being mundane to something much closer to awe-inspiring. So let’s say you’ve got the following simple progression: C […]