Mumford and Sons

3 Verse-Chorus Chord Progression Partners: Changing Key

Most of the time, if there is a difference in key between a verse and chorus, it’s the kind of thing where a verse will be in minor, switching to the relative major for the chorus. Then you get songs like “Little Lion Man” by Mumford & Sons, which switches quite freely back and forth […]

guitar - songwriting

Getting Creative With Chord Progression Charts

Consulting a list of chord progressions can be a great thing for songwriters who just want to explore new sounds and find new directions for their music. And since chord progressions usually can’t be protected by copyright, you’re free to take them and use them however you want. (See my collections here.) But if all […]

Pet Shop Boys

Making Dramatic Changes to Song Mood With Tempo

Songwriting tends to happen in two stages. First, you spend a certain amount of time creating ideas, and second, you experiment with, pull together and reshape those ideas until you get the song into its final form. Some songwriters find the first stage relatively easy, but get frustrated trying to make a finished song. They get […]

Guitar in a nature setting

When You’re Stuck in Ballad Mode

If you listen to early Bee Gees tunes, you’ll notice how much they favoured slow tempos. Everything (well, almost everything) seemed to be a ballad. That’s not a criticism of their compositional prowess. But they were definitely, at least mostly, in ballad mode in their pre-disco days. Check out their 1971 album “Trafalgar” and you’ll […]

Recording Studio - Producer

8 Tips For When All You’ve Got Is One Good Song Idea

How often does this happen to you: You sit down with your guitar, and within moments you’ve got something nice. A great little hook, a riff, or some other kind of musical idea. You play it over and over and it sounds great. And then you draw a blank. And it doesn’t seem to matter […]

Songwriter-Guitarist

7 Ways Chord Progressions Affect the Mood of Your Music

If you’re like many songwriters, coming up with a solid progression that supports the mood of your song is an important first step in the songwriting process. The process usually looks bit like this: Improvise (either on guitar or keyboard) some chords that work well together. Find a catchy rhythm that makes those chords sound […]