Three Trapped Tigers - English band

5 Ideas to Add Sparkle to a Chord Progression

A song that we love can seem to have a really enticing chord progression, but when you really dig into the song to find out what they’ve done regarding chords, you often find that they’re very ordinary, and that it’s other things — syncopated rhythms, chord inversions, and melodic shapes above the chords — that […]

Guitar - songwriting

Starting Songs With Chords: Musical Landscape

Many songwriters love starting the writing process by generating ideas from a chord progression. That’s a legitimate way to write, and it’s very popular. By starting with chords, you lay down what is in effect a landscape upon which you can place other items. I’ve been working on a new short manual for songwriters who […]

Piano

Experimenting With Key Boosts Your Musical Imagination

There are typically two times when a song’s key becomes something that a songwriter considers: During the initial songwriting process. You create your first melodic ideas based on an often-random choice of key and chords. During the performance or recording stage. You might possibly change the key to one that puts the melody in your optimum […]

Deerhunter Breaker

Creating (Mainly) Pentatonic Melodies: Deerhunter’s “Breaker”

It’s amazing how imaginative you can be using mainly pentatonic scales to create melodies. You might think that limiting yourself to 5 notes per octave means you’ve cut out a lot of possibilities, but that certainly doesn’t have to be the case. If you haven’t done so yet, you might want to give Deerhunter’s new album, […]

bass guitar

Three Kinds of Bass Pedal Point to Try

When you feel that your chord progression is lacking a bit of excitement, you’re temptation might be to toss it out and go looking for “the killer chord progression.” But that shouldn’t be your first choice, for a number of reasons. First of all, no chord progression is “killer” unless it’s partnering well with all […]

Guitar and piano

How to Invert a Chord, and When to Do That

A chord is 3 or more notes all sounding together. Those 3 notes form what we call a triad, and they are the bulk of the chords that get used in most songs written in any of the pop genres (rock, country, folk, etc.) As you know, there are lots of ways to modify triads. One of […]