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 […]

Keyboard & Guitar

Avoiding the Constant Return to the I-Chord

If you’re looking for ways to make your progressions a bit more interesting without being too weird, there’s a simple modification you should consider: simply avoid overusing the I-chord. In a standard I-IV-V-I progression (C-F-G-C) the I-chord is the tonic chord. It’s the one that represents your song’s key. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with its use, […]

Elton John

Creating Long Chord Progressions That Work

It might surprise you to know that most chord progressions, regardless of the genre of the song you’re looking at, are relatively short. Comparing verse to chorus, you’ll find that verse progressions tend to be a bit longer on average, involving more chords, but even so, progressions that use more than 6 or 7 chords are […]

Piano - Songwriting

Giving Your Song a New Identity

Have you ever written one of those songs that just doesn’t work, no matter what you seem to do to it? Of course, the most common solution is to put it aside, maybe forget about it, and get on with your next one. Before you give up entirely on that song that isn’t measuring up, […]

Guitar mic

Working Flat-III, Flat-VI, and Flat-VII Into a Major Progression

First, a Bit of Basic Theory… For any given major key, there are 7 chords that occur naturally, one built on each note of the scale. In the key of C major, that gives you these chords: C Dm Em F G Am Bdim According to the very popular HookTheory website, the 3 most commonly […]

Guitar - songwriting talent

Borrowing Chords From the “Opposite Mode” To Give a Progression New Life

Even if you don’t have a strong background in music theory, you likely know that some chords just sound right together, while others don’t. For example, in the following chord progression, it’s hard to make any kind of sense out of the F#m chord; it just sounds odd… too odd for most common genres, you […]