Songwriter with guitar and paper

Songwriting, and the Tricky Task of Remembering Patterns

When I taught ear training at university, I had students of widely varying abilities. Some could, as they say, hear paint dry, while others “couldn’t hear a bus.” One of the tasks my students had was to notate melodies as I played them at the piano. (I won’t go into the technique I used for […]

Piano and Guitar - creative chords

Simple Hacks For Better Chord Progressions

If you’re bored with your chord progressions, you’re likely to opt for throwing them out and creating ones that are more creative. The problem with that approach is that you can wind up with chords that just don’t work well together, all for the sake of finding something more interesting. If you’re serious about songwriting, […]

Guitarist - Songwriter

Simple Changes to Simple Chords Can Yield Amazing Results

If you have a chord progression that works but doesn’t do much to inspire you, you can of course toss it and look for another. But with the simplest of changes, you can take a progression from being mundane to something much closer to awe-inspiring. So let’s say you’ve got the following simple progression: C […]

Creating a Melody Using "Plateau Pitches"

By Gary Ewer, Senior Instructor, Dalhousie University, from “The Essential Secrets of Songwriting” website. • Follow Gary on Twitter • Make songwriting enjoyable again! Check out “The Essential Secrets of Songwriting” 6 e-book bundle – available now at a 50% savings! ________________________________ I use the term “plateau pitches” to describe a way of constructing melodies where the notes dwell on one […]

Do Chords Limit the Notes I Can Use in My Melody?

by Gary Ewer, author of “The Essential Secrets of Songwriting” Follow Gary on Twitter _______________________________ How can chords, which typically use only 3 or 4 notes, allow for melodies that use many more? For example, if the chord you’re playing is Cm, which uses the notes C-Eb-G, does this mean that the only notes your […]

Chord Progressions: Strong Ones Should Follow Fragile Ones

Chord progressions need to have direction, or else they’re little more than chord successions: one chord following another with little or no sense of overall purpose. As you likely know, I have for a long time spoken about the important differences between so-called strong and fragile progressions, where strong ones point solidly to one note […]