Finding Alternatives to the Standard I-IV-V-I Progression

The typical 3-chord song has been the workhorse of early rock and roll. Go back to the 50s, and it’s the mainstay of most songs. By 3-chord songs, we’re talking usually about this progression: I  IV  V7  I  (C  F  G7  C) And then, of course, the writer might throw something else in, particularly in […]

Building Song Energy With the Dominant Note

The dominant note (the 5th note of a key) holds great potential energy, and can be used to propel the harmonic energy of a song forward. Here’s how. ____________ Download “The Essential Secrets of Songwriting” 6-eBook Bundle, and get back to the basics of why hit songs sell. _____________ The dominant note is the 5th note of the […]

How Pedal Tones Make Chord Progressions Sound Great

Written by Gary Ewer, Senior Instructor, Dalhousie University, from “The Essential Secrets of Songwriting” website. • Follow Gary on Twitter • “The Essential Secrets of Songwriting” 6 e-book bundle is available now at a 50% savings! ________________________________ I was a child of the 70s, and loved (and still do) the music of Chicago, Genesis, Yes, Alan Parsons […]

Getting More Power From the Dominant Note

Written by Gary Ewer, Senior Instructor, Dalhousie University, from “The Essential Secrets of Songwriting” website. • Follow Gary on Twitter • Check out “The Essential Secrets of Songwriting” 6 e-book bundle ______________________ As a songwriter, you’re usually looking for ways to control song energy, usually building it as the song progresses. We know that there are […]

A Pedal Point Adds Glue to a Wacky Chord Progression

Written by Gary Ewer, from “The Essential Secrets of Songwriting” website. Follow Gary on Twitter There are many ways to add a bit of variety to your chord choices. The problem is, the more you stray from the tried and true, the more confusing it can be to the listener. A pedal point is a great […]

A Pedal Tone Provides Stability

by Gary Ewer, from”The Essential Secrets of Songwriting” website: Pedal tones in chord progressions can be very useful, particularly if you’re looking to use more chromatically complicated chords. That constant pedal (i.e., a low note that stays the same while the chords above it are changing) acts as a kind of anchor, helping the listener […]