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Tag / chords
14-Day Songwriting Challenge: DAY 2
#2. Starting in motion.
Write a verse (with lyrics and melody). Instead of I V vi IV (the most used 4-chord progression in pop music of the last 40 years), try IV I V vi.
In the key of C, this would be: F C G Am
In the key of A: D A E F#m
In the key of D: G D A Bm
Meta: This is a gentle chord-based way to start down a less obvious road. It starts your song on a chord that is not ‘home’, so the song starts in motion. The last chord, the vi, is also a motion chord, so the progression itself, though simple, has a lot of movement and tension in it.
I enjoyed this David Bennett video analysing the chord progressions of Taylor Swift’s songs (there are some she’s used more than 20 times…), and seeing this one feature heavily.
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Music Theory Fundamentals–Major, Minor, and Diminished Chords
Ready to take your songwriting further?
Major 7 Vs. Dominant 7
In this video, we examine the differences between Major 7 vs Dominant 7 chords – specifically focusing on how they are constructed, how they are labelled, how they differ in sound and how you can utilise both with great effect in your songwriting process.
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How to Use Chromatics to Write Killer Chord Progressions
Break out of predictable patterns and inject some colour into your craft with this chromatic approach to writing killer riffs and memorable melodies!
In Part 1 of the CHROMATIC MAGIC mini-series – we look at a simple yet effective way of breaking old patterns and introducing new sounds to your repertoire. Starting with some warm-up exercise that will challenge guitarists of all levels, we then look at some exciting ways to create improvised lines and memorable solos, before examining two iconic riffs and looking at the role that chromaticism can play in grabbing the listener’s ear and empowering you with many more songwriting options.
In Part 2, we continue the discussion on taking a chromatic approach to your songwriting, starting with some basic principles before moving on to advanced music theory. Our main focus throughout this video is to examine the movement between chords, how to connect chord sequences and utilise all 12 notes. We also explore chromatic chord options, break down tritone substitutions and play around with walking bass lines. Putting this all together will give you powerful and creative ways to construct your songs, allowing you to break free of predictable patterns and gain control over your stylistic choices.
And before you go! We have a LIVE (online) interactive Chord Workshop coming up in April 2022! You can find more info and tickets here:
Picking the Perfect Chords
As songwriters we often start with a chord progression, using it as a framework to add lyrics, melodies, textures and embellishments. But one question that continually pops up is ‘what chord do I choose next?’
In this video, my musical compadre Ben Romalis looks at the functions and relationships of chords in a diatonic system, to give you more control over the choices you make and more variety as the song develops. He breaks down a simple yet effective process for writing chord progressions that doesn’t feel random, doesn’t feel repetitive and gives you total control over the direction you’d like to take your composition. Finally, he looks at some great substitutions to spice up your song and support your lyrical message.
There is an upcoming 90-minute interactive workshop that explores this topic in more depth. CLICK HERE FOR INFO AND TICKETS.
Get a free PDF download that analyses the relationships and functions of chords within a diatonic system here: