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.
When learning a song or diving into ideas for music production, multiple listens to an inspiring track can help you discover arrangement and recording tricks that you can apply to your own music. Read the post.
The parallels between the changes in the music industry and the publishing industry are striking. Just as the music industry tilted to give independent artists a fighting chance two decades ago, writers are enjoying the same power to bring their books to market as independent authors. 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.
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.
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.
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.
Music arrangement might be the invisible art, but the results can spell the difference between a smash hit and a “nice” song. Dr. Richard Niles has a storied history as an arranger and shares some thoughts and insights in this interview. Read the post.