Piano and guitar - songwriter

Melody-First Songwriting Means You Need to Have a Good Grasp of Chords

If you take a look back — way back — into the history of music composition, you’ll discover that writing music meant writing melodies. If you listen to something written in, say, around 1550, you’ll hear several melodies being sung together, harmonizing with each other, but not purposely creating chord progressions. The chords were incidental; chords […]

Classical guitar - songwriting

Chord Progression Suggestions for Song Refrains

A refrain is not a short chorus. It’s better thought of as the end of a long verse. In that respect, since most song refrains will end on the tonic chord (the I-chord of your chosen key), the best chord progressions for a refrain will be ones that drive strongly toward that tonic chord by […]

Eagles - Take It Easy

Creating Contrast With Chord Progressions in a Long Melody

Some songs, instead of using a clearcut verse and chorus structure, will instead be constructed of one long melody that has different sections. I’m thinking of a song like Eagles’ first single “Take It Easy”. If you like starting songs by working out chord progressions, you need this eBook: “Writing a Song From a Chord […]

Phil Collins

Melodies That Are Easy to Sing Are Usually Easy to Remember

If you’ve written a melody that’s hard for people to remember, it’s difficult to imagine it as something that would make any sort of splash in the music world. If people need to hear it many times before they can start humming or singing it, it’s probably missing the opportunity to make a strong connection. […]

songwriter - guitarist

Transposing Simple Chord Progressions to Create Something More Interesting

Do you find yourself wishing that your chord progressions were just a little more interesting? Here’s a quick tip for taking something that’s basic and simple to come up with something that sounds more imaginative: transpose your progression. Here’s what I mean. Let’s say that you’ve been improvising on a simple progression like: C Dm […]

The Who - Won't Get Fooled Again

Creating Strong Chord Progressions That Aren’t the Standard I-IV-V Variety

There are probably lots of ways to categorize chord progressions, but for songwriters, the most helpful way would be to think of them as either being fragile or strong. Those terms, fragile and strong, pertain to how clearly identifiable the key is. For progressions that wander about, with lots of interesting twists and turns, you’re probably […]