A chord progression is a progression of musical chords, and the basis of all songwriting…But why I am I telling you something you most likely already know?… Well I wasn’t sure how to start the blog post if you want the truth.
Funny thing is, chord progressions never really change. If it exists then it has been used, and many artists tend to favor certain chord progressions in all of their music. However, when you combine it with different rhythms and melody lines then you create a new song; it sounds different to us.
SO you want a hit pop song? Then you have your chord progression: C – G – Am – F
Chord progressions are a sort of pattern within a key or scale. Now long story short, you can’t just throw random chords within the scale together and expect a nice sound right? There is a method to the madness and specific patterns that create the tonal qualities that make a song a song. You want to know the inner machinations of why some patterns work and some don’t? Well you won’t find the answers here (That would take a long time) so go take a class on music theory or something. I’m here to give you some simple knowledge to work with so that you can create that first song.
Now if you know how to play basic chords on a piano, or guitar, etc; then you have this nifty little guide to various common chord progressions below. Hey even if you don’t have an instrument, there are nifty little apps like HookPad that puts all the chords on screen and allows you to piece them together how you want.
Now you can break it down even further as different genres use different chord progressions. So if you have an idea of the sound or genre you want to focus on, then knowing the different chord progressions commonly used in said in genres is pretty helpful.
These are some simple chord progressions used in different genres. Now there are some pretty intricate chord progressions out there, but sometimes simple is better. You’ll be surprised to see that many hit songs use incredibly simple chord progressions. So if Leonard Cohen can write something like “Hallelujah” using C, Am, F, and G; then writing a hit song starts to seem less unbelievable right?…well okay that might be a gross simplification of Cohen’s work, but still!
There are some great tools out there to help with your songwriting process:
HookPad Songwriter Engine
Suggester Chord Creator
Simple Songwriter companion
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