Avoiding the Tonic Chord: A Subtle Energy Builder

Get FANTASTIC RESULTS! – Download “The Essential Secrets of Songwriting” 6 e-book bundle and START WRITING GREAT SONGS! The overall energy map of a successful song is a line that looks like a stock market chart: over time, lots of ups and downs, but hopefully mostly in an upward direction. Music where the energy constantly builds without the […]

The Role of the Tonic Note and Chord in Songwriting

The term “tonic” refers to the first note of a scale, and also to the chord that is built upon that note. In A major, A is the tonic note, and the chord built on it (A-C#-E) is the tonic chord. It’s an important note and chord because it so happens that they usually appear […]

Using Chord Substitutions to Pull Song Sections Together

A couple of posts ago I wrote about using palindromic chord progressions (ones that read the same in both directions) as a possible way of making a connection between verse and chorus. Here’s another thought: if you find that your verse and chorus are using the same, or almost the same, progressions, try taking the […]

The Power of a Progression That Doesn't Start On the I-Chord

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! ________________________________ You can measure the success of your song by whether or not people are humming it to themselves long […]

If the V-Chord Bores You, Try These Substitutes

Written by Gary Ewer, Senior Instructor, Dalhousie University, from “The Essential Secrets of Songwriting” website. • Follow Gary on Twitter • Good songs sell! Check out “The Essential Secrets of Songwriting” 6 e-book bundle – available now at a 50% savings! ________________________________ As the Roman numeral implies, the V-chord is the chord built on the 5th degree of a […]

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 […]