Drake - Controlla

Deciding Where in a Song a Chord Progression Belongs

It’s quite possible to use a single chord progression in every section of your song, such as you might hear in “Controlla” (Drake et al). But if you do choose to use the same progression throughout a song without changing it, it’s the kind of progression that needs to sound tonally strong. A strong progression simply […]

Major Key Brightness in a Minor Key Verse

It’s a common technique for songwriters to write a verse that sits mainly in a minor key, and then switch to a major key for the chorus. The main reason for this kind of minor-to-major relationship working so well is that it considerably brightens the sound of a song. If you think of the verse […]

The Three Tenors

Intensifying the Emotional Power of Your Songs With Vocal Range

Yes, there is a trio called “The Three Basses“, created on the coattails of the much more famous “Three Tenors.” The bass voice appears less able to generate the kind of wow-factor that the tenor voice is able to create. The three tenors were able to have audiences on their feet even before the music was finished. […]

Songwriter - piano player

How Melody Notes and Chords Cooperate

I often get emails asking me some variation on the following: How can chords, which contain only 3 or 4 notes, be used to accompany melodies that contain so many notes? The question relates to the fact that you might strum a chord for two full bars (8 beats) or even more, and in those […]

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 […]

Piano & Guitar

Song Sections, and the Chord Progressions That Make Them Work

It’s possible to do entire songs with the same progression from beginning to end. That used to be rare — I can think of America’s “A Horse With No Name” from 1972 – Em and D6add9 for verse, chorus and solo. And doubtless there must have been a disco hit or two that got built on one […]