Song construction

Chord progressions Blues

Song Construction

So you’ve had the inspiration for the next huge chart success, or that killer hook for your power ballad, or that gorgeous riff for your love song.  But now comes the hard work.  Shaping the song into a good Verse Chorus structure is as much about lyrics and tune as it is about harmony.  A satisfying key change into the chorus, a neat turnaround back to the verse and an original yet relevant feel to the middle 8.  All of these take a great deal of understanding and often even more hard work.

Let us start to write a song…we wont worry about lyrics for the moment, let’s just say we strung together some chords like C-C-am-am-F-G7-C-C.  Here’s how it looks:

[seeChordViewer src=”/content/Application/Song Construction/songconstruction1-viewer”]

So I have the first four bars from the chords I came up with earlier.  In the second four bars I have repeated the pattern but changed the F chord for a dm chord as this seems to fit nicely with the falling fifths.

So now on to the second half of the verse.  Would be nice to have something a little different, and also something that takes me nicely into the chorus.  Lets say we want the chorus in a different key.  Let’s have it in D.  That means that at the end of the verse I will want to “approach” D from above, thereby ensuring I have obeyed the fundamental rules of “modulation” and fallen through at least one fifth in order to establish the new key.  Here is the next part of the chart:

[seeChordViewer src=”/content/Application/Song Construction/songconstruction2-viewer”]

Ok so now for the chorus.  For the sake of continuity, lets follow the same sequence as the verse.  All we have to do is copy the pattern in the new key:

[seeChordViewer src=”/content/Application/Song Construction/songconstruction3-viewer”]

So that means the chorus and verse are based on the same progression which will add consistancy to the song.  The last half of the chorus now just falls through the fifths to give a really strong progression.  It is time to start thinking about the middle 8.  It seems as though we are heading for G looking at the pattern at the end of the chorus, so let’s start with a G chord and let’s make it G minor for a bit of a twist.  The pattern of the middle8 reflects the progressions in the verse and chorus just for fun:

[seeChordViewer src=”/content/Application/Song Construction/songconstruction4-viewr”]

The middle 8 is often the place to put unusual chords or lyrics.  Ours has a nice “turnaround” at the end to take us back into the verse.  If we were heading back for another chorus we would want this to be different perhaps.

That is the bones of the chords for this song.  Time for some knockout lyrics and an amazing arrangement, talented musicians, a good recording studio……

SeeChord can really help when songs are stuck in a rut, when chords do not quite seem to work, lay them out on a SeeChord chart so you can see what is wrong.

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Chord progressions Blues