Guitar and piano

Chord Theory Can Be Complicated, But These Two Things Top the List

There’s a lot you can study about chords — about the way they work, how to choose them, and how one progression relates to another. All of it comes under the large umbrella called chord theory, and it’s a very large umbrella. Some songwriters have a knack for it; it’s not something they have to consciously […]

Piano and guitar - songwriter

How the Chords You Use In Your Songs Create (or Inhibit) Momentum

Forward motion, or momentum, is an important characteristic of songs. Simply put, momentum makes one moment of a song lead naturally — sometimes almost impatiently — to the next moment. If you hear a verse that seems to “beg for” the chorus, that’s an important characteristic of momentum. Audiences aren’t usually thinking in terms of […]

guitar - songwriting

From Wandering to Predictable – Comparing Verse and Chorus Progressions

There are lots of ways to categorize chord progressions, but the one way that will be most useful for pop songwriters is to think of them as being either fragile or strong. A fragile progression is one where the key is not necessarily clear and obvious. These can be very beautiful progressions, and are the kind that […]

Guitar, headphones and music

How to Make Chord Progressions Sound Stronger

Get the eBook bundle that thousands of songwriters are using to improve their songwriting technique. “The Essential Secrets of Songwriting 10-eBook Bundle” comes with a free copy of “Use Your Words! Developing a Lyrics-First Songwriting Process.” One common complaint I hear from songwriters is that when trying to come up with a unique or creative […]

George Harrison

From a Minor Key Verse to Its Parallel Major

You may be familiar with the term relative major — that’s the major key that uses the same key signature as a particular minor key. It’s a very common key relationship in pop songs, because if you’ve written a song that uses a minor key verse, and you decide to switch to major for the chorus, […]

Brian Wilson - Tony Asher

How a Song’s Chorus Makes Use of Musically Strong Elements

When you listen to a song just for entertainment, you’re not usually aware that parts of the song are musically ambiguous in some way, while other parts are clear and strong. Let’s say, for example, that you start your song by writing a verse that uses this short progression: C-Bb-C-Bb-C-Bb… There’s a kind of ambiguity associated […]