songwriter - guitarist

Transposing Simple Chord Progressions to Create Something More Interesting

Do you find yourself wishing that your chord progressions were just a little more interesting? Here’s a quick tip for taking something that’s basic and simple to come up with something that sounds more imaginative: transpose your progression. Here’s what I mean. Let’s say that you’ve been improvising on a simple progression like: C Dm […]

Alan Parsons Project

Using Musical Motifs as a Kind of “Signature”

You may have heard the word motif before and wondered what it is, and how it might apply to songwriting. It’s a term that’s somewhat similar to hook — and that’s a word you’re probably a lot more familiar with. A hook is a musical idea that repeats throughout a song, though we often associate it chiefly […]

Guitar - altered chords

For Making More Complex Chord Progressions, Start Simple

You may not think of many of the early Beatles songs as using complex or unusual chord progressions, but for their day, they were noticeably creative. Where so many other early- to mid-era rock and roll songs were barely straying beyond the basic I-IV-V-I kinds of progressions, The Beatles were throwing in modal mixtures, secondary […]

Songwriting frustration - crumpled paper

Starting Songs, Then Keeping the Fire Burning

If there is one problem that practically all songwriters deal with, it’s this one: the inability to finish a song. Most songs will start with something captivating: a great little hook, a catchy bit of chord progression, or perhaps a short idea for a melody. And they start with great promise. So for those songwriters […]

Songwriting analysis

Stuck in a Songwriting Rut? Here’s How to Break Some Bad Habits

Occasionally I write about the benefit that comes from analyzing your own songs. The biggest benefit that comes from self-analysis is that you get a clear picture of the kinds of things you like to write about; the words and phrases that seem to occur most in your lyric; the kinds of chords you typically […]

Singer - Songwriter

Showing Your Audience Exactly Who You Are

You’d be surprised how much of a strong role honesty plays in how your song comes across to an audience. Honesty, from a audience’s perspective, is simply this: Are you writing music that accurately reflects the person you are. You can spend an awful lot of time trying to figure out what your target audience wants […]