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.
Johnny Dwinell and Brent Baxter lean on some sage songwriting advice Brent got from veteran songwriter Ralph Murphy: deliver a positive tempo. 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.
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.
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.
If the market decides your songs are forgettable, then guess what? Your songs are forgettable. If the market, the listeners, decides that your new album is not worth their time… they’re right. They get to decide if your songs are great. 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.
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.
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.
Want to know the number one reason why artists fail? I’m gonna be blunt about it: their songs aren’t good enough. Read the post.