Classical guitar - songwriting

Chord Progression Suggestions for Song Refrains

A refrain is not a short chorus. It’s better thought of as the end of a long verse. In that respect, since most song refrains will end on the tonic chord (the I-chord of your chosen key), the best chord progressions for a refrain will be ones that drive strongly toward that tonic chord by […]

Guitar chords - switching minor to major

Changing Key Without Actually Changing Key

If you’re looking for a way to make your chord progressions a bit more interesting, you’ll find that changing key is a good way to do it. You might, for example, have your verse in one key and your chorus in a different one. The most common way to do that is to use a […]

Eagles - Take It Easy

Creating Contrast With Chord Progressions in a Long Melody

Some songs, instead of using a clearcut verse and chorus structure, will instead be constructed of one long melody that has different sections. I’m thinking of a song like Eagles’ first single “Take It Easy”. If you like starting songs by working out chord progressions, you need this eBook: “Writing a Song From a Chord […]

Keyboard player - songwriter - chord inversions

Back and Forth Between Major and Minor Within the Same Chord Progression

Contrast is a big part of what makes great songs great. Even if that contrast is something as simple as loud versus soft (instrumentation) or low versus high (melodies), contrast is crucial to keeping audiences interested. Within chord progressions, contrast usually happens when differentiating between major and minor. Songs might feature a minor verse, and […]

Guitar and Piano

Changing the Starting Point Within a Chord Progression

The tonic chord, which represents the key of your song (or song section), acts as a kind of tonal anchor: it sounds like “home”, and when you move away from it, your ears automatically listen for its return. You hear that easily in this basic progression: C  Am  Dm  G7  C If you look deeper […]

Derek and the Dominos

Using a Key Change as a Musical Surprise

In most songs, key changes happen for any one or more of the following reasons: It raises musical energy. The most typical example of this is the song that has a minor key verse, then switches to a major key chorus. That brightening of the key from minor to major increases musical momentum as it […]