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; […]

Melodies and Chords, and How They Work Together

When we talk about a melody-first songwriting process, we assume that we’re talking about writing a song where thinking up the melody, or at least a bit of a melody, is the first step. Then once we’ve got a good chunk of that working and sounding good, we then try to figure out what kind […]

Band rehearsal

Choosing the Chords That Work With Your Melody

You’ll notice that when you’ve got a melody, the notes of that melody imply the chords you’re likely to use. That’s not to say that you’ve got no choice in the matter, of course. For every chord you might use, there is a list of chords that could serve as substitutes. Just as an example, […]

Piano - songwriting

How to Create Interesting Moments Within Strong Chord Progressions

There are songwriters that like to use complex progressions that really take us on an intricate musical journey. But the fact is that most of the time, particularly in popular music genres (pop, country, folk, etc.), chord progressions are largely predictable. No songwriter I know likes to use the word “predictable” in describing any aspect […]

Chord Progressions, and the Strong-Fragile Concept

Last week I received an email from a blog reader, with a question regarding chord progressions. It’s similar to one that I receive a lot, and so I thought perhaps I would post it here, along with my answer [slightly edited in spots for clarity], and hope that it might be helpful for those of […]

Singer-Songwriter

Making Use of Musical Ambiguity in Your Songwriting

There is a pattern you’ll notice in most pop songs, which is that as they move along, they alternate between sections that are ambiguous in nature and sections that are much clearer and easy to understand. I like using the terms “fragile” and “strong”: In many songs, that “fragile-strong” labelling is synonymous with “verse-chorus” structure. […]