Songwriter-Guitarist

The Power of Creative Chord Changes

By creative chords, I mean any progressions that stray from the typical 3- or 4-chord changes that strongly reinforce the key your song is in. Standard progressions are the most common ones you’ll find in most of the pop genres, like: I-IV-V-I (C-F-G-C) I-ii-V-I (C-Dm-G-C) I-vi-IV-I (C-Am-F-C) I-vi-V-I (C-Am-G-C) There are more to add to […]

Adele

Organizing Chords to Fit Your Song’s Verse-Chorus Structure

Changing key within a song is one way of keeping things interesting. One of the most popular ways to do this is to create a song verse that’s in a minor key, and then switching key (called modulating) to the relative major for the chorus. Lots of songs do this, and you can take Eagles’ […]

Sting - The Police

There’s a Benefit to Writing Song Melodies That Use Few Notes

When I listen to a song that’s spent a good deal of time at the top of the charts, I’m often amazed by how simple its structure is, how simple the chords are, and how few notes the melody actually uses. Sure, there are the exceptions. Elton John’s songs, for example, tend to use long […]

guitarist - songwriter

Using Chord Progression Sleight-of-Hand In a Song’s Bridge

This is a bit of an addition to yesterday’s post, in which I gave some thoughts on the melody and lyrics of Bruce Springsteen’s “Hungry Heart“. There’s one other aspect of this song that deserves a quick mention: the key change at the song’s instrumental bridge (at 1’38”). The song is in C# major. We […]

piano keyboard

Preventing Your Songs From All Sounding the Same

It’s not unusual to notice similarities when you take a close look at the songs you’ve written over the years. You want your songs to be unique, of course, but you should be expecting those similarities. It’s all part of developing a writing style. And it’s always been that way in the writing of music, even […]