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 […]

Piano keyboard and guitar

Tips for Songwriters: Avoiding Accidental Plagiarism

Given the few notes within an octave and the millions of songs that have been written using them, accidental plagiarism is a constant companion for most songwriters. Every time you come up with a great songwriting idea — especially something that you really like — you’re immediately wondering if you’ve stolen the idea from an […]

Adele

Creating Moods In a Song is More Than Major Versus Minor

It’s a stereotypical notion that major keys sound happy and minor keys sound sad. In reality, it takes a lot more than simply choosing major or minor. You can have sad songs in major keys (“Someone Like You” – Adele, Dan Wilson), and you can have happy songs in minor keys (“Happy ‘Cause I’m Going […]

George Harrison

From a Minor Key Verse to Its Parallel Major

You may be familiar with the term relative major — that’s the major key that uses the same key signature as a particular minor key. It’s a very common key relationship in pop songs, because if you’ve written a song that uses a minor key verse, and you decide to switch to major for the chorus, […]