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 the post.
There are many kinds of ninth chords, and they can be used in different ways. This post explores different kinds of ninth chords and how you can use them, with plenty of examples of their use in popular music. Read the post.
Jazz musicians know and integrate substitution chords on a regular basis, but musicians who play other genres of music can also employ this concept to great effect. Read the post.
Study up on the Mixolydian Mode, queue up a nice Mixo chord progression, and you’ll see why guitar masters like Eddie Van Halen, Angus Young, and Duane Allman all love Mixo-Dorian Blues. Read the post.
In music, a mode is a formula for creating a musical scale. The Ionian (major) formula is W–W–H–W–W–W–H. The Lydian formula (W–W–W–H–W–W–H) can give your melody or progression an uplifting and yearning feeling. Read the post.
Perfecting your song order when you sequence an album can mean the difference between a great artistic statement and a nice mixtape. Read the post.
Taylor Swift’s latest industry tussle raises lots of questions for music artists. Who’s right, who’s wrong, and most importantly, what can you learn so you can avoid having to fight for your master rights? Read the post.
While the mediant (iii chord) isn’t as structurally integral as the tonic, dominant , or subdominant, employing it can provide an unexpected surprise that will make listeners’ ears perk up every time. Read the post.
A touch of exoticism could be all you need to lift your song up from the mundane. The flat-second, a.k.a. Neapolitan chord, can be just the ticket. Read the post.
Few popular songs meld music, lyrics, and theme as potently as the Beatles’ 1965 hit single, “Help!” Here’s how they did it. Read the post.
Before and after the Carpenters scored a massive hit with “(They Long To Be) Close To You,” others tried, but they all seemed to miss what Richard Carpenter figured out: When you have a great melody, great lyrics, and a great singer — less is more. Read the post.
Suspended chords offer more than just a frilly little something to add to your music. They work as substitution chords, they can smooth out chord progressions, and they can add tension to your music. Read the post.
Not only does “I Heard It Through The Grapevine” hold the distinction of the being the first and last number one R&B song in 1968, it is the only song to have been a number one R&B hit for three artists. Read the post.
This is the second in a series that examines cover songs that went on to be huge hits, even though the original versions were mostly unknown. This post covers Crosby, Stills & Nash’s “Southern Cross.” Read the post.
How did a forgotten 1965 B-side become a 1981 smash? “Tainted Love” had hidden elements that Soft Cell unlocked to turn it into an enduring (and often covered) hit song. Read the post.