Guitar - Songwriter

5 Tips For Using a Chords-First Songwriting Process

A chords-first songwriting process has a few challenges that need to be dealt with. One of the main problems is that there is a tendency to focus more on the chords than on the melody. That can lead to songs that don’t have enough of a tune to be memorable. “Hooks and Riffs: How They […]

Rock band in concert

A Song Hook’s Rhythm and Melody, and How They Pair Up

Good songs don’t follow rules; it’s more a case of following guidelines. That means that every time you think you’ve identified a songwriting “rule”, you can come up with a list of songs that don’t follow it. Here’s a good example: if you look at a hundred different songs and try to identify the characteristics […]

Songwriter - Guitarist

Adding Chords to a Melody: Focus On the Strong Beats

In my own composing of music, I would far rather work out a melody first, and then add the chords as a second step. That’s because melodies are what people hum to themselves; it’s hard to hum a chord progression. Many songwriters, however, work out the chord progression and backing rhythms first. There is one […]

Bass player

The Best Way to Use Pedal Point in Your Chord Progressions

Songwriters can be forgiven for looking for new and exciting chord progressions. There’s a fear that if you use a progression that’s been used before, it will sound either boring or overused, and lacking in originality. The truth is that as long as the chords are properly supporting the notes of the melody, even mundane […]

Guitar and music paper

Getting Creative With Circle of Fifths Progressions

Want to know the best way to use chords as a starting point in your songwriting process? Read “Writing a Song From a Chord Progression.” Get it separately, or as part of “The Essential Secrets of Songwriting 10-eBook Bundle.” A circle of fifths progression is one in which adjacent chords have roots that are a […]

What Do You Love About a Good Melody?

Last week I wrote about the similarities between classical and pop music, and what today’s songwriters can learn from the classics. Today I want to look specifically at song melodies, and see to what extent the structure of a pop melody resembles that of a classical work. There is a book that is in great […]