The Beatles

Finding New Songwriting Formulas

The thing that’s bad about a songwriting formula is the predictability of it. When you write to a formula, you’re working out a song based on the notion that “when I do this, I should then do that.” And if you write that way, every song you write is going to have an undesirable sameness. […]

Keyboard - Headphones

Creating Verse and Chorus Progressions That Work

If you like the chords-first songwriting process, you need to read “Writing a Song From a Chord Progression.” It will give you important step-by-step descriptions of how to make this method really work for you. Get it separately, or as part of “The Essential Secrets of Songwriting 10-eBook Bundle” If you’re having a day when […]

Songwriter-Guitarist

Helping an Audience Understand Your Weird Chord Progressions

Here’s a quick tip for you if you like complex chord progressions: keep the weirdness toward the middle of your progression, and make the beginning and ending of it tonally strong. Here’s what that means: Most songs in the pop genres are going to be in one key or another, and so if you want […]

Singer - Songwriter

Songwriting and Line Drawing

I’ve written a few articles on this blog about the notion of drawing a line that represents your melody (like this article I wrote a few years ago). It’s not just that it’s kind of neat to see your melody sketched out as a line; there is a real purpose and benefit from seeing your […]

Brian Wilson

Creating Musical Surprises In Your Chord Progressions

Chord progressions, even in music that sounds innovative or novel, are usually the most predictable part of a song’s design. A song might have lyrics that are hard to understand, and use odd instruments, time signatures or unpredictable melodic ideas, but chords are usually the most easily understood part. That’s why I often use landscape […]

Songwriter - Pianist

Chords That Eventually Find the Tonic

In music, the tonic chord is the one that represents the key. So for a song in C major, C is the tonic. To use a metaphor, it’s home. Progressions may meander around seemingly aimlessly, but once you play the tonic chord, you sense relaxation: you’re home. Are you a chords-first songwriter? Are you getting […]