Chord Progression Formulas

The Benefit of a Good Chord Progression Formula

Songwriting formulas are usually spoken of in a negative way. That’s because inherent in the term “formula” is the notion that if you do certain things, you’ll get a predictable result. And if you’re like most songwriters, “predictable” is not what you’re after. There are many kinds of formulas that are used in songwriting. Some […]

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In Songwriting, What’s Worse Than Predictability?

If there’s one thing songwriters usually strive for, it’s uniqueness. No one wants to simply write songs that sound like everything else that’s going on out there. That would make it hard to build a fan base of your own. Except… there is something worse than being overly predictable in your writing style (and predictability […]

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The Pros and Cons of Using Songwriting Formulas

In songwriting, you’re probably using a formula if you find yourself thinking, “After I write something like this, I should follow it up with something like that..” A songwriting formula is a way of simplifying the process, as well as giving your listeners something predictable. The predictable nature of songwriting formulas is what songwriters dislike about them. […]

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Songwriting Simplicity is Good; Mindlessness Not So Much

If you ask someone my age (a child of the 1960s, a teen of the 1970s) what they think of today’s pop music, you’ll probably get an earful. Most negative opinions of today’s music will come down to the fact that songs today seem uninspiring, noisy and mindless. “The melodies aren’t interesting”; “The chords are […]

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From Wandering to Predictable – Comparing Verse and Chorus Progressions

There are lots of ways to categorize chord progressions, but the one way that will be most useful for pop songwriters is to think of them as being either fragile or strong. A fragile progression is one where the key is not necessarily clear and obvious. These can be very beautiful progressions, and are the kind that […]

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Dealing With Excessive Predictability In Your Songwriting

Predictability is not the horrible monster of songwriting. Even songs that sound unique, complex or startling are often following a template established by someone else’s song, with just a touch of innovation thrown in; it doesn’t take much innovation to make a song sound unique. If you like starting songs by working with a chord […]