Tag archives for Fundamental Harmonic Principles

Chord Progression for Songwriters

December 11th, 2012 by

Chord Progression for SongwritersChord progressions are a vital part of song writing. Let’s learn how to construct a chord progression for songwriters.

Start with the musical scale

To start out here is a C major scale…

C major Scale

In the illustration each note of the scale is assigned a number form 1 to 7.  With the C note being “1”.  This is the starting place for creating chords.

Here is the list of names for the other degrees of the scale:

Note Position Technical name
1 TONIC
2 SUPERTONIC
3 MEDIANT
4 SUBDOMINANT
5 DOMINANT
6 SUBMEDIANT
7 LEADING TONE

To create a chord, use the basic scale using the numbers to build the chord.  The first chord is C.  To make a C chord all that is need is to use this simple formula 1-3-5.  With each number representing the number in the scale.  The C chord is C-E-G. That is the C = 1, E = 3, G = 5. Basically the chord is made up of three note at ever other note interval

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  • Songwriter Tip:

    Write a rough draft of the first verse of your song. This verse should draw attention to your song and make your audience want to listen. Don’t worry about it being perfect at this point; you will refine all the verses and the chorus later. Now, of course, you will need to write the second verse. In this part you will need to continue to tell the story and explain what the action is. Don’t be too detailed; this is a three-minute song, not an opera. Next comes the third verse. Tell more about your story here, and add relevant information to your story. You really want to enhance the story line from verses one and two, because the next verse will close the song.