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.
Whether you’re dancing on piano keys or dreaming on acoustic guitar, reimagining your favorite songs for solo performance with just you, your voice, and a single instrument can be as fun as it is challenging. 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.
There are a lot of factors that play into choosing the right arrangement for a song — but choosing the right key for you and the musicians might be the most important. 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.
These songs from decades past show us that, really, more is less. Let’s explore the magic of the bVII-I progression and how two chords can make a song. Read the post.
While it might be difficult to keep a song interesting if you limit it to one chord, it can also help create tension, highlight your lyrics, or drive a hypnotic groove. Read the post.
Augmented chords can add drama and tension, as shown in these examples from popular songs from the ’60s through the ’80s. Read the post.
While Nashville tuning uses the same notes as a standard guitar tuning, used by itself and in layers with other guitars, this tuning can bring an articulate presence to a recording. Read the post.
Ever sit down to learn a song and find that no matter what chord you play, it’s just not the right one? We investigate two mystery chords in two classic songs. Read the post.
This post explores some common — and some of the more obscure — alternate guitar tunings to inspire you to write your next masterpiece. Read the post.
For some extended guitar chords — like a fully voiced thirteenth — there are more notes in the chord than there are strings. That’s where slash chords come in … with a little help from your bassist. Read the post.
When I had the opportunity to be playing at Carnegie Hall with the great Wouter Kellerman, I had to say yes. With the gig five days away, thoughtful, strategic practicing helped get the music where it needed to be in a short amount of time. Read the post.
Eleventh chords can liven up music in any genre, but they can be confusing. Here are some charts and examples to help guide you in your pursuit of extended chords. Read the post.