Guitarist - songwriter

Getting the Energy Levels of Your Songs Working Properly

When it comes to the performance of a song, you’re probably very well aware of the importance of musical energy. Much of the time we might safely equate energy with loudness, though the true definition involves a lot more than just loudness. If all you need are tons of progressions to try out, you need “Essential Chord […]

Songwriting - Piano and guitar

Songwriting and Chord Choices – 7 Articles That Will Advise You

Over the past twelve years of me doing this blog I’ve written probably hundreds of articles that focus on chord progressions – how to create them, how to partner them up with a melody, how they impact the mood of music, and so on. If you’ve had problems with the chord aspect of your songwriting, […]

Van Halen - Jump

What a Strong Chord Progression Does For Your Chorus

There are many ways to categorize chord progressions, but the best way system for songwriters is to classify them as being either fragile or strong. These two words, fragile and strong, pertain to the key of your song, and specifically refer to whether a progression makes the key very obvious or somewhat ambiguous. Getting melodies […]

guitar - keyboard - headphones

Chord Basics for Songwriters: The Most Important 5 Things to Know

Getting melodies and chords working well together is vital knowledge for any songwriter. “How to Harmonize a Melody” shows you, step by step, how that works, and gives you sound samples to follow. There’s nothing keeping you from using someone else’s chords in your own song, since chord progressions aren’t protected by copyright. Having said […]

Peter Gabriel

The Best Songs Fluctuate Between Fragile and Strong Moments

I talk a lot about the concept of “fragile” versus “strong” in songwriting, and particularly when I’m talking about chord progressions. In that regard, “strong” means “clearly indicating the key with a short, unambiguous set of chord changes.” With chords, “fragile” means the opposite: making the key less clear — less obvious, by creating a […]

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 […]