Essential Chord Progressions Website

Gary Ewer

 


 

Gary Ewer

If finding the right chord progression seems like a random process, let's fix that!

Discover the secrets of making a chord progression work, and get your songwriting moving in the right direction!

Free articles, videos and ideas to clear up chord muddle!


 

New on the songwriting blog (Jan 11, 2018):

A Simple Way to Create an Interesting Verse Progression

guitarist with headphonesIf you like the chords-first songwriting process, but lately you’re coming up dry when it comes to good chord ideas, try this:...

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"The Essential Secrets of Songwriting", written by Gary Ewer, is a 342-page eBook manual designed to get you writing better songs MORE CONSISTENTLY. Get it with the 10-eBook Bundle (shown above). If chords-first is your favourite songwriting process, you'll love the other eBooks included in this bundle package.

DELUXE BUNDLE: 10 Songwriting eBooks (HIGH QUALITY PDF FORMAT)

by Gary Ewer
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Plus, get a FREE COPY of "Use Your Words! Developing a Lyrics-First Songwriting Process" (See below)

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NOTE: For a limited time, Gary's newest eBook, "Use Your Words! Developing a Lyrics-First Songwriting Process", is being offered FREE OF CHARGE with your purchase of “The Essential Secrets of Songwriting” 10-eBook Deluxe Bundle.

"Use Your Words!" shows you how to put the focus on lyrics. If you've found chords easy, but lyrics hard, this is the eBook for you!

Click on "Buy Now" above to take advantage of this limited-time offer - an 11th eBook absolutely free!

 


CHORD PROGRESSION VIDEO

WHAT ARE STRONG AND FRAGILE PROGRESSIONS, AND HOW DO I USE THEM?

 


CHORD PROGRESSION VIDEO

HOW SONGS CHANGE KEY FROM START TO FINISH

CHORD PROGRESSION ARTICLES

from The Essential Secrets of Songwriting Blog

Modes & Keys:

Chords That Eventually Find the Tonic

guitarist with headphonesIn music, the tonic chord is the one that represents the key. So for a song in C major, C is the tonic. To use a metaphor, it's home. Progressions may meander around seemingly aimlessly, but once you play the tonic chord, you sense relaxation: you're home. When you examine the chords used in pop songs, you'll find that the tonic often appears at the start of many progressions, and almost always...

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Strong & Fragile Progressions:

Too Many Chords Can Clutter Up a Good Song

Red guitarBoring an audience with music is probably the worst thing that can happen to a singer-songwriter. It’s worse than outright hatred. At least with hatred you’ve been able to stir up some emotions. And experience shows that when a song is hated, there’s usually another group of listeners that love it. Boredom is a much worse reaction, and part of the reason is that bored listeners...

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Making Chord Progressions Better:

5 Ideas To Turn a Boring Chord Progression Into Something More Exciting

flaming guitarSongwriting formulas will get you in trouble. But they’re tempting to use because once you’ve experienced songwriting success, you want to duplicate that success. A songwriting formula, however, stunts creativity, and starts to make all your songs sound the same. The one area where I’ve always told songwriters that they shouldn’t worry too much about predictability is with chord progre...

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The World of Songwriting:

Good Songwriting: Branching Out From 3-Chord Songs

singersIf I did a blog post listing all the 3-chord songs that have been written in the past 5 decades, it would be a post many thousands of lines long. When we talk about 3-chord songs, we often mean these three: I-IV-V. And they account for thousands of songs. The further back you go, the more there are. It was during the 60s that songwriters developed their chord choices into something...

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5 Basic Pointers For Adding Chords to Melodies

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Free chord progressions

 

STRONG and FRAGILE PROGRESSIONS (all given in C-major):

Simple progressions can be categorized as either being strong or fragile.

A strong progression is one that clearly points to one note as the key, or tonic, note. They can be used anywhere, and are great especially for chorus melodies, which usually rely on the strong indication of a key.


Strong Progressions (To see these progressions in fretboard/musical staff notation, click here.)

C Dm G C
C Dm7 G C
C Fmaj7 G7 C
C Am Dm G C
C Em Am Dm G7 C



A fragile progression is one in which a specific chord is not clearly indicated as being the only possible tonic chord. Such a progression, on its own, could point toward two or more chords as being possible tonics, and usually require a strong progression after it to make the clear determination.

Fragile progressions can be used anywhere, but work very well in verse melodies. Keep in mind that most multi-chord progressions are a mixture of strong and fragile elements.

 

Fragile Progressions (To see these progressions in fretboard/musical staff notation, click here.)

Dm7 Em7
Am G F G Am
Em G Am Em Dm F Am
C Gm7 Am7 BbMaj7

 





PROGRESSIONS THAT END ON A DIFFERENT CHORD (DECEPTIVE CADENCE):

Deceptive Cadences (To see these progressions in fretboard/musical staff notation, click here.)

C F Am G F
C Dm G Am
C Am Em G Ab

 

 



PROGRESSIONS THAT USE DIMINISHED CHORDS:
(What's a diminished chord?)

 

Diminished Chords (To see these progressions in fretboard/musical staff notation, click here.)

C F Fdim7 C
C Dm Bdim C
C C#dim Dm G C

 

 




PROGRESSIONS THAT USE INVERTED CHORDS:
(What's an inverted chord?)

 

Inverted Chords

C C/E F G C
C G/B F/A G C
C G/B Am F G G/B C
C G E/G# Am G/B C

 

 


 

PROGRESSIONS THAT USE SECONDARY DOMINANT CHORDS:

(What's a secondary dominant chord?)

 

Secondary Dominant Chords

C A Dm G C
C E A Dm G C
C F D G C
C D G C

 

PROGRESSIONS THAT USE MODAL MIXTURES:

(What's a modal mixture chord?)

 

Modal Mixture Chords

C F Fm C
C C/E Fm G C
C Eb F G C
C F Ddim G C

 

 

 

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