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 […]

Guitar - altered chords

For Making More Complex Chord Progressions, Start Simple

You may not think of many of the early Beatles songs as using complex or unusual chord progressions, but for their day, they were noticeably creative. Where so many other early- to mid-era rock and roll songs were barely straying beyond the basic I-IV-V-I kinds of progressions, The Beatles were throwing in modal mixtures, secondary […]

Guitar and piano

Chord Theory Can Be Complicated, But These Two Things Top the List

There’s a lot you can study about chords — about the way they work, how to choose them, and how one progression relates to another. All of it comes under the large umbrella called chord theory, and it’s a very large umbrella. Some songwriters have a knack for it; it’s not something they have to consciously […]

Piano keyboard

A Bit of Chord Inversion (Slash Chord) Theory

Whenever you play a chord, you’re usually playing it in what’s called root position. This means that the root of the chord (the note represented by its letter name) is going to be the lowest-sounding note — the one that the bass is playing. If you want hundreds of chords to experiment with, “The Essential […]

Guitarist - Songwriter

How to Use Chord Inversions (“Slash Chords”) – Plus 6 Examples

Every chord has contains at least 3 notes: C uses C-E-G; Dm uses D-F-A; Em uses E-G-B, and so on. Some chords contain more than 3. For example, G7 has the 3 notes that make up the “triad” part: G-B-D, and then a 7th on top, making it a 4-note chord: G-B-D-F. The root of a chord is the note represented by […]

10 Chord Progression Questions and Answers

Ten very commonly-asked questions regarding chord progressions. Which ones have stumped you? ____________ “The Essential Secrets of Songwriting” 6-eBook Bundle comes with this FREE eBOOK: “From Amateur to Ace: Writing Songs Like a Pro”. _____________ I do a fair amount of looking about at music blogs and forums online, just getting a handle on the kinds of […]