keyboard player and songwriter

Making Sure Your Melody and Chords are Cooperating

Evaluating your songs objectively is crucial to songwriting success. “Fix Your Songwriting Problems – NOW!” puts the magnifying glass on 7 of the most common problems that songwriters typically face, and offers great solutions to try. Creating a song melody that is effective means writing one that is: well supported by the chords underneath it; […]

The Constantly Repeating Chord Progression – a Problem?

As a songwriter, you know how important it is to be unique. If you’re just copying or imitating what you’ve heard other songwriters do, you’re making it nearly impossible to build a fanbase of any sort. They’ve heard it all before. But that issue of imitating doesn’t usually extend to chord progressions. It’s why chords […]

Genesis - 1978

Chord Progressions: The Journey Away, and the Journey Back Home

Chord progressions, at least the kind you find in the pop genres, aren’t usually overly complex. Even when they are a bit more creative than mainstream, they don’t tend to leave the tonic chord too far in the distance. The kind of progressions you find in a chorus are usually more simplistic in structure than […]

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 […]

Kris Kristofferson

The Power (and Danger) of Quick Changes Within Songs

There’s a concept in music that applies to chord progressions called harmonic rhythm. That term is used to describe how frequently (i.e., how quickly) chords change, especially in relation to how many notes of melody happen between changes. As you know, some songs use progressions where each chord is strummed for a relatively long time before […]

Piano - Songwriting

How to Boost Your Ability to Hear and Recognize Chords

How’s your musical ear? Here’s how you know that it needs some work: You can read music, but you find it difficult or impossible to play by ear. You hear a great melody, but you can’t find the notes on your instrument. You sit at the piano to play a song for a sing-along (like […]