Guitar - Songwriting

Determining the Key of Weird Chord Progressions

Take a look at the following two progressions. The first one comes from the verse of John Legend’s “All of Me” (John Stephens, Toby Gad), and the second one comes from the verse of “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” (Elton John, Bernie Taupin): 1. All of Me: Fm  Db  Ab  Eb 2. Goodbye Yellow Brick Road: […]

Band rehearsal session

5 Tiny Adjustments That Can Save a Bad Song

A few posts back, I mentioned that in the creative arts (songwriting and other forms of composition, for example), good editing is more often about what you remove than what you add or change. In other words, the best fixes to bad music frequently happens when you remove stuff, not add stuff. If I’ve written something that’s 5 […]

Synth - chord progressions

Songwriting: Moving From Aeolian Mode to Major Key

Some songwriters have a natural aversion to music theory. That dislike usually goes hand-in-hand with the mistaken belief that the purpose of music theory is to tell you what you should or shouldn’t be writing. That’s never been the purpose or power of music theory. Rather, theory gives you an understanding of the structure and […]

How to Power Up and Control the Mood of Your Music

Whatever you write about comes with a mood. Not to simplify this, but songs are usually either generally happy or sad, with often a blend of many different shadings of emotions. “Happy” can mean “triumphant”, “at peace”, “jubilant”, “satisfied”… you get my meaning. Of all the various elements that go together to make a song, chord progressions are […]

Songwriter - Guitarist

How to Know What Key Your New Chord Progression Is In

Let’s say that you’ve been working out a new chord progression, and you’ve found something — a combination of 3 or 4 chords — that really seems to work. The trouble is: you can’t figure out what key that progression is in. How do you identify it? The first question you might ask is this […]

Band rehearsal

5 Powerful Minor Key Progressions

Most of us succumb to a kind of “muscle memory” when it comes to writing music. We tend to favour certain styles, certain tempos, even certain keys. To a degree, this isn’t a bad thing, and it’s to be expected. The fact that we favour this or that way of writing is what having a […]