A song can take you on a journey, and including a key change — or modulation — can produce various emotional effects, from brightening the mood to creating a sense of unease. Read the post.
Borrowed chords (chords “borrowed” from a key’s parallel minor) are commonly used in music influenced by the blues, including rock, jazz, R&B, even country and folk. Today we’ll focus on the flat-six chord. Read More.
Sixth chords have an inherent lack of identity and purpose that can be riveting — a sixth chord can provide ambiguity, set curiously dark moods, and add a layer of complexity to your music. Read More.
Not only does “Good Vibrations” provide a structural template for Smile, it also gives the album its tonal language. Nearly every song or song section is written in one of “Good Vibrations” chords. Read More.
To write a great melody, throw in a dramatic flourish to enhance a moment, but sing the way people speak: It sounds better and makes a melody more memorable. Read More.
While I can’t give you an exact recipe for how to write a great melody, I can point out some common traits great melodies have to help improve your melodic skills. Read More.
Taking liberties with traditional song structures can be a great way to stand apart from your peers, keep listeners on edge, add a sense of drama, and make even a short song seem like an epic. Read More.
We look at recurring songwriting and chord techniques Brian Wilson used to create some of the most beloved and enduring songs in 20th century popular music. Read More.
Sometimes going against common music theory rules ends up being exactly what a song needs. Read More.
Join us for a journey – with lots of videos – and travel in between the notes to the beautiful, mind-bending world of microtones. Read More.
There are many diverse kinds of ninth chords, and they are used in different ways. In this post, we’ll explore different kinds of ninth chords, how to use them, and provide examples of their use in popular music. Read More.
Jazz musicians know and integrate substitution chords (also known as chord substitution or reharmonization) on a regular basis, but musicians who play other genres of music can also employ this concept to great effect. Read More.
There’s no “formula” to write a great chorus or hook, but these techniques can spark ideas to write, rework, or critique your own songs. Read More.
Music theory is a set of tools you can lean on to help you write and compose, and being deliberate in how you arrange your parts can translate to a better sound on stage. Read More.
If your music practice routine has plateaued, it’s time to challenge yourself and try something new. We’ve got tips to get you out of your creative rut. Read More.