Keyboard

Starting Your Progressions on Something Other Than the I-Chord

If you want to know what key a song is in, it’s typically the chorus you should be looking at. That’s because verse progressions might wander about, making identification of the actual key a bit difficult. But by the time you get to the chorus, things usually become clearer. It’s not unusual, for example, for […]

Genesis - 1978

Changing Key from Introduction to First Verse

Changing the key of a song is not all that common. Most of the time a song will end in the same key that it started in. When a song does change key it’s often the case where the verse is in a minor key, and then switches to the relative major key for the […]

Guitar and keyboard

Making Strange Chord Progressions Work a Little Better

The first piece of advice I always give to songwriters who are contemplating using a complex, strange chord progression in their songs is this: Make sure the progression actually works, and isn’t just needlessly convoluted. The best chord progressions — even complex ones — are the ones that stay out of the way and support […]

Creating Song Melodies That Never Resolve

At first blush, creating musical tension in a song doesn’t sound like something you want to do. We’ve learned in our everyday lives that tension is usually something negative — something that needs to be resolved. But in music, tension is a crucial characteristic of some of the best song melodies written. That’s because musical tension […]

Bruce Springsteen

Giving Your Songs a Good Sense of Progression

When we talk about progressions, the automatic assumption is that we’re talking about chords. But the reality is that in good songs, practically everything progresses. The reason for the assumption that we’re talking about chords is that they will quickly sound disorganized and confusing if we don’t pick up that all-important aspect of progression. Simply having […]

Piano and guitar - songwriter

Chord Advice For Starting a Song’s Bridge

One of the reasons that you might add a bridge to your song is that it can make it just a bit longer, if all you’ve got is a couple of verses. So if, by the time you’ve reached the end of your second go-through of the chorus, you feel that your song would sound […]