Writing Good Song Lyrics

Making Standard Chord Progressions More Interesting: Try These Five Ideas

Chord progressions are responsible for much of the mood that we pick up in a song. Chords don’t do it on their own of course, but we get a clearer picture of the mood from the way the chords change more than from pretty much any other single element. Simple, standard progressions work just fine […]

Bass player

How a Bass Pedal Point Strengthens a Chord Progression

A bass pedal point refers to a situation where you keep the same note in the bass (or left hand of a keyboard instrument) regardless of the chords that are playing above it. Pedal point can make an otherwise boring progression sound much more interesting because when the bass stays the same it will clash […]

music, photography rule of thirds

Applying the Rule of Thirds to Songwriting

When you talk about thirds to a musician, you’re usually talking about the space between two notes, like C to E, or D to F, and so on. In photography, the so-called “rule of thirds” is completely different: it refers to dividing an image into thirds using two vertical lines and two horizontal lines. If […]

Bass player

The Best Way to Use Pedal Point in Your Chord Progressions

Songwriters can be forgiven for looking for new and exciting chord progressions. There’s a fear that if you use a progression that’s been used before, it will sound either boring or overused, and lacking in originality. The truth is that as long as the chords are properly supporting the notes of the melody, even mundane […]

Songwriting tools for lyricists

Songwriting and Finding the Story

One of the biggest differences between writing a song and writing a book is the number of words you’ll use. A novel might use 80,000 or more words to describe a story, but with a song lyric you really only get a tiny fraction of that; maybe 100 words or so. So with novels, the […]

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 […]