Chord Progressions: Uniqueness is Not All That Necessary (Or Possible)

There are certain progressions — certain combinations of chords — you’re more likely to see in songs written by a 21st century pop songwriter than you might with a Classical musician. But check out these two progressions and try to figure out which one was used by Romantic era composer almost 150 years ago, and […]

Concert audience

Bach and Today’s Songwriters – Not So Far Apart

Tonight I have the thrill of conducting a performance of J.S. Bach’s “St. John Passion,” so I’ve had my head a little out of songwriting world while concentrating on preparing for that performance. I’ve mentioned Bach often on this blog in the past. And mostly because the way Bach composed is not that far off from […]

Jimi Hendrix

Chord Ideas for Minor Key Songwriting

If you find that everything you write is in a major key, you’re missing out on an opportunity to create songs that tap into a darker or perhaps edgier side of music, a side that minor key writing offers. It might be that you aren’t sure how to create minor key progressions, and so I’ve […]

Lennon & McCartney

The Job of the Bridge: To Be Different

Get the eBook bundle that thousands of songwriters are using to improve their songwriting technique. “The Essential Secrets of Songwriting 10-eBook Bundle” comes with a free copy of “Use Your Words! Developing a Lyrics-First Songwriting Process.” A song bridge, which typically happens after the second run-through of a chorus, is optional; not every song uses […]

Guitar - altered chords

Creating Quick Mood Swings Using Chord Surprises

One of the reasons many songwriters like the chords-first songwriting process is that chords do a great job of setting up a mood. Once you’ve got the mood, you’ll find that lyrics happen a bit easier, and then many things fall into place: melody, rhythmic feel, tempo, and so on. One way to get even […]

Keyboard player - songwriter - chord inversions

Ideas for Experimenting With a Chord Progression

Do you find that your fingers keep moving to the same chord progressions every time you sit down to improvise ideas for your next song? One of the easiest ways of dealing with this is to use a collection of chord progressions and start playing through them. (Check out the collections in my eBook Bundle […]