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 […]

Piano-playing songwriter

Using a Diminished-ii Chord in Major Key Songs

If your song is in a major key, you know that the ii-chord is going to be minor. So if your song is in the key of C major, the chord based on the note D will be Dm (D-F-A). And you’ll be using progressions that might be like the following: C  F  Dm  G […]

How to "Borrow" Chords From a Minor Key

Written by Gary Ewer, Senior Instructor, Dalhousie University, from “The Essential Secrets of Songwriting” website. • Follow Gary on Twitter • Fix your songwriting technique! Check out “The Essential Secrets of Songwriting” 6 e-book bundle – available now at a 50% savings! ________________________________ A borrowed chord is a simple concept: you know that for any major key, there are […]

Use Modal Mixture Chords for Added Colour

Written by Gary Ewer, from “The Essential Secrets of Songwriting” website. ________ Coming up with the list of chords that work in a particular key is relatively easy: simply build triads (3-note chords) above each note of a key’s scale. Of those seven chords, you’ll find that you use I and V the most, with […]

Sia's "Soon We'll Be Found"- Two-Part Verses and Other Goodies

Written by Gary Ewer, from “The Essential Secrets of Songwriting” website. Follow Gary on Twitter for songwriting tips, news and more. ___________________ If you don’t know the music of Sia, you’re missing a real treat. Her music is a perfect example of how songwriters need only venture minimally outside the box to create fantastic music. […]

How to Make a Chord Progression More Interesting

Written by Gary Ewer Follow Gary on Twitter First, let me start by saying that most songwriters worry too much about their chord progressions. It’s actually not as important to get an interesting chord progression as it is to get one that actually works. But if you are looking for ways to get a bit […]