Piano and guitar - mixolydian mode

The Beauty of Chord Progressions in the Mixolydian Mode

A modal scale, for the purposes of what you’ll need to know for good songwriting, is one that starts and finishes on the non-tonic note of a major scale. That may seem like a mouthful, but here’s all it means: If you play a C major scale, you’re playing the notes C-D-E-F-G-A-B-C. But let’s say […]

Christmas guitar chords

Borrowing Chords From Christmas Carols to Create Your Own Song

Melodies and lyrics are protected by copyright, unless they’re old enough to have passed into public domain. But chords? You can usually use chord progressions from already-existing songs, even if that song is newly composed and under copyright protection. Looking for lists of progressions you can use in your own songs? “The Essential Secrets of […]

Guitar and Piano - Creating a Melody and Bass Line

Songwriting: Working Out the Melody and Bass Line

The composer Mozart almost always composed by finding a catchy melody as a first step, and then finding a bass line that supported it. Filling in all the missing instruments was, for him, something closer to a final step in composition. We can infer two things from this kind of compositional process: He considered melody […]

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 […]

Finding Good Chords Starts With Tapping Your Foot

Looking for an easy way to discover the chords that could potentially go with a melody? It’s not a random process; it really depends mainly on what notes are happening on strong beats. There is a bit of instinct involved, particularly with regard to how often you should change chords. You’ll notice that most songs, if you […]

Guitarist - Songwriter

Don’t Let Technology Fool You

Years ago, songwriting practically always meant sitting at a piano or with a guitar, with no assistance from a computer. For many, that’s still the case; songwriting, of course, need not happen at a computer at all. Assuming you were planning on performing the song yourself, you and your band would then make some decisions regarding […]