Guitar - chords - songwriter

Fitting Melodies to Chords, and Vice Versa

Melody notes only sound right if the chords underneath them fit properly. If you’re a chords-first songwriter, you need to say it the other way — chords only sound right if the melody you eventually write fits them. But in any case, good songs are a partnership between melodies and chords, and then they need to […]

Songwriter-Guitarist

7 Ways Chord Progressions Affect the Mood of Your Music

If you’re like many songwriters, coming up with a solid progression that supports the mood of your song is an important first step in the songwriting process. The process usually looks bit like this: Improvise (either on guitar or keyboard) some chords that work well together. Find a catchy rhythm that makes those chords sound […]

Keyboardist songwriter

Instrumental Music: What Do You Want Your Listeners to Hum?

A number of years ago when I was looking to buy a house, the real estate agent I was using was explaining some of the terminology to me. I found it humorous, for some reason, to find out that the term “improvement” was used to describe the house I was considering. As I understand it, […]

Guitarist - Songwriter

When a Song Fails, It’s Usually For One of These Reasons

In the long run, it’s probably more important to know why a song fails than why a song succeeds. When a song is great, your most important job is to move on and get the next tune happening. But when a song fails, you could be doomed to repeat that failure — if it’s failing […]

Calvin Harris

The Power of Patterns In the Writing of Song Melodies

You’ll sometimes see discussions amongst songwriters on the topic of how many notes a good melody should have. In other words, how much of a  range, when you compare the lowest notes to the highest ones, should there be when considering good melodies? History tells us that there’s no good answer to that question, because […]

Songwriter at piano

Breaking Away From Using the Same Old Chords

There is a kind of musical “muscle memory,” where we keep relying on the same musical ideas as we write our songs. Practically every songwriter is familiar with it: similar sounding melodies, the same (or almost the same) chord progressions, the same kinds of lyrics, and so on. A bit of similarity between songs you […]