Breaking Free from 4/4 Time in Your Songwriting

Since the vast majority of songs (probably 98% or more) that make it to the charts in any genre use a time signature of 4/4, we can surmise that producers think that that most common of time signatures is part of a winning formula. Most of the time professional producers get these things right, but […]

Band rehearsal

Choosing the Chords That Work With Your Melody

You’ll notice that when you’ve got a melody, the notes of that melody imply the chords you’re likely to use. That’s not to say that you’ve got no choice in the matter, of course. For every chord you might use, there is a list of chords that could serve as substitutes. Just as an example, […]

Finding Good Chords Starts With Tapping Your Foot

Looking for an easy way to discover the chords that could potentially go with a melody? It’s not a random process; it really depends mainly on what notes are happening on strong beats. There is a bit of instinct involved, particularly with regard to how often you should change chords. You’ll notice that most songs, if you […]

Guitarist - Songwriter

6 Easy Steps For Melody-First Songwriting

When I write music, I like starting with melody first. But melody-first writing means also thinking about chords. That’s because the musical part of our brain is always assembling melody notes and coming up with chords. If you want to see how this works, click to listen to this melody: A simple enough melody. Play it […]

Fleetwood Mac - Don't Stop

Song Melodies: Thinking About Your Starting Note

Because good songwriting usually starts with improvising ideas based on your instincts, you may not have given much thought to what note your tunes start on. The chord you choose, in most circumstances anyway, limits your choices to 3 notes: the root, the 3rd or the 5th. Understandably, there’s no rule that governs what the […]

Pianist playing chords

Looking For Strong Beats to Add Chords to Melodies

If you’re a chords-first songwriter, it means that you come up with a chord progression, and then try to design a melody that goes with it. What you may not know is that if you’re a melody-first writer, you’re probably also working out the chords at the same time. That’s because our musical brains have […]