Guitar

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 […]

7 Things You May Not Know About Chord Progressions

Do you find that getting chords to sound right is the hardest part of getting a song working? Chord theory is a topic that takes considerable study to understand it thoroughly, so let’s look at it from a different angle. Here are 7 things about chord progressions that many songwriters don’t know. It may help you […]

Glen Frey

Writing Multi-Part Verse Melodies

You can define a multi-part verse melody in many ways, but the kind of melody I’m talking about is the kind you might find in a song like Eagles’ “Take It Easy” (Jackson Browne/Glenn Frey), which is a verse-only song where the verse consists of several short phrases joined together to make one complete melody. I’ve been thinking […]

John Newman - Love Me Again

How to Take a Verse Idea and Create a Great Chorus

A lot of the time, the musical ideas you conjure up will be chorus ideas, because it’s often easier to think up short, “hooky” fragments that will serve as a good chorus. They’re the kind of musical ideas that are short, repeatable, singable, and generally fun to perform. But sometimes a musical idea will pop […]

Guitar

If You Do Nothing Else, Remember These 4 Chord Progression Tips

There are very few songs on the Rolling Stones List of 500 Greatest Songs of All Time that made it to the list because of their stunning chord progressions. Chord progressions, when they work well, should almost disappear into the background of your song. Occasionally it’s nice to throw a chord in there that grabs attention, but […]

Keyboard & Guitar

The Circle of Fifths Progression: Making It Relevant for Songwriters

A circle of fifths (CoF) progression is one that includes chords whose roots move up or down by 5ths. Dm Am Em Bdim, for example, is an ascending CoF progression. You can hear that there’s a pleasant sense of predictability that results from this kind of progression. There are many ways to use the CoF, including […]