Drake - Controlla

Deciding Where in a Song a Chord Progression Belongs

It’s quite possible to use a single chord progression in every section of your song, such as you might hear in “Controlla” (Drake et al). But if you do choose to use the same progression throughout a song without changing it, it’s the kind of progression that needs to sound tonally strong. A strong progression simply […]

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 […]

What Do We Mean When We Say That a Chord Progression “Works”

I’ve written a fair bit about chord progressions lately, because it’s the most popular topic on my blog. When I take a look at the stats, it’s normal to see that 8 out of the 10 most popular posts deal with some aspect of chords. Recently I received an email from someone who asked me […]

Piano and Guitar - creative chords

Designing More Creative Chord Progressions

Chord choice is one part of songwriting that doesn’t require a lot of imagination. All that’s really required is that a progression works. In that sense, it’s not much different from a piece of country land that you might build a house on. Sure, it may seem important to have land that, on its own, takes […]

Major Key Brightness in a Minor Key Verse

It’s a common technique for songwriters to write a verse that sits mainly in a minor key, and then switch to a major key for the chorus. The main reason for this kind of minor-to-major relationship working so well is that it considerably brightens the sound of a song. If you think of the verse […]


How to Add a Secondary Dominant to Your Chord Progressions

Most songs are said to be “in a key.” If the key is C major, that C major chord is said to be the tonic chord. A dominant chord is one that is built on the 5th degree of a scale. Dominant chords like to move to tonic chords. That’s why G7-C (V7-I) is so […]