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.
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.
A pedal point is the repetition or sustain of a single note throughout various harmonic changes that can make a standard progression more interesting or ground a complex progression in something familiar. Read the post.
Here’s the story of how an unlikely collaboration met with a massive riff, memorable chorus, groundbreaking samples, and an in-your-face solo to produce a surprise hit single in 1983. Read the post.
When you’re constructing a song, think of it in relation to the human body. You build the skeleton first, which can be a melody, and develop your song from there. Read the post.
Power chords might not be chords, but they’re powerful intervals — especially when mixed with distortion. Read the post.
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 the post.
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 the post.