Speedwriting Lyrics: Liberating… And Terrifying

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Beating Songwriter's Block - Gary Ewer

I’ve written often about the benefits of speedwriting on this blog. In my research while preparing to write “Beating Songwriter’s Block: Jump-Start Your Words and Music,” I came across many musicians, visual artists, authors and others who extol the virtues of forcing your mind to work quickly.

Speedwriting means that you have little if any time to go back over what you’ve written. So the immediate benefit of speedwriting appears to be that your inner critic doesn’t have an opportunity to second-guess what you’ve written.

The longer-term benefit, even if the evidence is more anecdotal than scientific, is that you succeed in training your brain to be more immediately creative. And along with that are several other side-benefits, including an increase in confidence, and a more generally positive approach to the creative arts.

When you think of speedwriting you think of writing an entire song in a ridiculously short period of time. But it’s also a good idea to take the notion of speedwriting and apply it to separate, specific components of songwriting; the writing of lyrics, for example.

The following is from an exercise in Chapter 3 of the book. It’s something you can do over and over, with different results each time. In that regard, it can serve as part of a daily songwriting warm-up. You’re given the first phrase of a line of lyric, and your job is to finish the sentence.

But I would encourage you to do something more: finish the sentence, but then complete the entire stanza that follows. Once you’ve finished, go back and finish the given line with something completely different, and then write a new stanza.

As always, give yourself an unreasonably short period of time for the completed stanza — 1 minute per attempt should be right. ;)

Please feel free to post your efforts in the comments if you’d like.

GO!

  1. Children everywhere ______________
  2. In silence she ______________
  3. There is a field ______________
  4. Why ______________
  5. Who should ______________
  6. When love is ______________
  7. As I ______________
  8. Take the only ______________
  9. You know that ______________
  10. Was it only ______________

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Written by Gary Ewer, from “The Essential Secrets of Songwriting” website
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How to Elevate the Emotional Energy of Lyrics

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Singer-songwriterThis article is not about how to make music more emotional, per se. It’s more about that nagging problem that many songwriters experience: what to do about Verse 2 lyrics, and then what to do after that. Specifically, how do you make lyrics more interesting as they progress through the verses and choruses.

This speaks to an important principle regarding the writing of songs, or indeed, of writing any kind of music: musical energy at the end of a song should be as much or more than the energy of the beginning.

Practically all songs exhibit this important quality — some more than others. Just to demonstrate the concept, take a listen to the first 30 seconds of “Afterlife”, by Ingrid Michaelson. Now compare what you hear to the final 30 seconds.

The psychology behind building emotional energy isn’t complicated. Loudness has a lot to do with it. Asking “Oh, what’s that?” in a gentle, whispery voice causes people to feel quietly inquisitive. Bellowing “Oh, what’s that?!!” in a primal-scream fashion would make them dive for cover.

But there’s far more than loudness involved in controlling emotional energy. A while back I wrote a post called “Making an Energy Chart For Your Song,” which showed a way for you to keep your eye on how energy builds (or doesn’t, as the case may be) over the length of your song. With this post, I want to speak more to the issue of lyrics, and what to do as they move beyond verse 1.

There are many ways to do it, and it depends on the kind of song you’re writing. If you’re writing lyrics that are describing a situation, here’s how you might control the energy so that it moves in a generally upward direction. (This following chart follows the lyrics of a standard verse-chorus-bridge format, but can be adapted for almost any formal design):

  • Verse 1: Describe the situation. Use imagery, metaphor and/or other poetic devices to make your lyric intriguing, but keep a limit on how emotional you allow things to get. At this point, you’re trying to draw the audience into your story.
  • Chorus: Allow emotion to come through. Let the audience know how you feel (happy, sad, elated, strong, determined, crushed…), responding to the situation you find yourself in.
  • Verse 2: More describing, but you can’t hide the emotion now. Listeners already know how you feel, so while you’re still describing situations, scenes, people, etc., you can allow more commentary on how you feel.
  • Chorus: A repeat of the previous chorus.
  • Bridge: Finish the story. Most of the time you’ll find the most emotional lyrics will occur in a bridge. This is where “the guy finally gets the girl,” so to speak.
  • Final chorus: Repeat previous chorus.

Many songwriters feel most frustrated with what to do about verse 2. It’s easy enough — relatively, of course –to write a verse 1 lyric. But if you’ve described the situation you’re in, and then emoted about it with your chorus, what do you do after that?

If you find yourself in that situation, you might use verse 2 to elaborate on what you said with verse 1. That may seem like a lyrical cop-out, but it serves a very important purpose: to continue the lyric’s elevating of emotional content. Some songs that use this technique of rewording for verse 2: “Sister Golden Hair” (America); “My Eyes” (Blake Shelton); “First Train Home” (lyrics here) (Imogen Heap).

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Gary EwerWritten by Gary Ewer. Follow on Twitter.

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A Song’s Harmonic Journey

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Paul Simon - So Beautiful or So WhatTrying to write a song that’s in a verse-only format? How you craft the chord progression is a vital part of keeping the listener interested. Usually, songs that are verse-only usually start on a tonic (I) chord, move away so that at its halfway point it’s somewhere else, after which it spends the rest of the verse getting back to the I-chord.

It usually doesn’t take many chords to get the job done. While some songs, like “Beth“, a huge mid-70s hit for Kiss, use no less than 19 different chords, others, like Paul Simon’s “So Beautiful Or So What“, from his 2011 album of the same name, barely give you more than one. Most songs in popular genres are going to fall somewhere in between — anywhere from 4-8 separate chords per song section.

In a very real sense, the chord progression defines a song’s harmonic journey. That journey usually starts at home (the tonic chord), wanders away, and then wanders back. That wandering-away-and-then-wandering-back quality of chord progressions is a vital part of keeping a listener hooked on your tune.

A verse-only design usually means that you’re writing one of the following:

  1. A verse that serves as a complete structure, where there’s no refrain or other kind of repeating line that finishes each verse. Amanda McBloom’s “The Rose” is a good example.
  2. A verse that ends with a refrain. (“God Only Knows”, by The Beach Boys).
  3. A verse that uses a bridge (either vocal or instrumental) for contrast. (“A Hard Day’s Night”, The Beatles).

In most verse-only songs (but not all), you can often look to the mid-point of the verse to see how far away from the tonic the verse has wandered. Some songs make this clearer than others; songs that demonstrate the extent of the journey more clearly are songs that have long verses. With “Beth”, which is a very long verse melody, you can clearly see this. The song starts in C major, on the tonic chord. Halfway through the verse, you’re sitting on Am, and the second half of the verse represents the journey back to the tonic.

If you want to create that kind of verse melody — the “wandering-away-and-wandering-back” kind, here’s a step-by-step. With this, you’ll create two chord progressions that will get joined together to form the complete verse:

  1. Choose a key for your song. Let’s use C major for demonstration purposes.
  2. Create a first-half chord progression that starts on the tonic chord (I), and then ends on some chord that will join nicely to the chord Am. Let’s end our progression on a G chord: C  F  Dm  G  Am  Dm  F  G (4 beats per chord).
  3. Now create a second-half chord progression that starts on Am, and then wanders back to the tonic chord. You’ll see that the first part of this second-half chord progression will “feel like” A minor, but you’ve got to get the progression moving toward C major for the last 4 chords: Am  Em  Am  Em  F  Dm  G  C.

What you’ve got is a verse progression that starts solidly in C major, moves into Am to start the second half, and then back to C major.

The reason this works so well is that when the listener hears what’s called the “internal cadence” on Am, they experience a strong musical curiosity, a kind of tension, that makes them want to hear the journey back to the tonic chord.

Many songs, no matter what format the writer uses, display some variation on this harmonic journey. If you analyze the progressions of most hit songs, you’ll see that most of them can be condensed to that kind of harmonic structure.

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Gary EwerWritten by Gary Ewer. Follow on Twitter.

“The Essential Secrets of Songwriting” 6-eBook Bundle looks at songwriting from every angle, and has been used by thousands of songwriters. How to use chords, write melodies, and craft winning lyrics. $95.70 $37.00 (and you’ll receive a FREE copy of “From Amateur to Ace: Writing Songs Like a Pro.“)

5 Main Differences Between Verse and Chorus Melodies

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Lorde - RoyalsAudiences tend to hear verse melodies as being somehow different from chorus ones, but they aren’t often able to say exactly what that difference is. As a songwriter, you need to be clear on those main differences if you hope to create a song that really connects with the listener.

Here’s a short list of five main differences that you should keep in mind as you write your songs:

  1. Verse melodies have more of a wandering quality than chorus melodies. A verse melody’s tendency to wander has to do with it’s main responsibility of telling a story. So you’ll find that verse melodies move up and down in a bid to generate or diminish vocal energy to match the ups and downs of that story.
  2. Verse melodies tend to be lower in pitch than chorus melodies. That’s because as a voice moves higher, it generates more emotional energy. Emotion is a quality you find more in choruses than in verses.
  3. Chorus melodies use simpler rhythms. If you compare the rhythms of a verse melody to those of a chorus melody, you’ll find verses use more syncopation, quicker rhythms, and other rhythmic devices. Chorus melodies usually show a simplifying of rhythm.
  4. Verse melodies often work their way upward as they reach the chorus. A verse melody will do this to facilitate the connection to the chorus, which is often pitched higher.
  5. Chorus melodies are built around an important hook that often incorporates the song title. That’s certainly not to say that verses don’t use hooks, but it’s during the chorus that the hook serves its most useful purpose. (Hand-in-hand with the hook is the fact that chorus chord progressions also become much simpler and tonally stronger than what you often see with a verse.)

In songs that use verse and chorus structure, a meandering verse melody that uses many notes and has several twists and turns, is fine, as long as the chorus melody tightens up, uses a good amount of repetition, and is catchy and fun to sing.

For some good examples of songs that show these five characteristics to varying degrees, check out the following list:

  1. (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction (The Rolling Stones)
  2. Royals (Lorde)
  3. Follow Your Arrow (Kacey Musgraves)
  4. Be My Baby (The Ronettes)
  5. Rolling in the Deep (Adele)

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Written by Gary Ewer. Follow Gary on Twitter 

Get “The Essential Secrets of Songwriting” 6-e-Book Bundle today, and polish your songwriting technique. Readable on Gary Eweryour laptop/desktop, iPhone, iPad, Kindle, or any other PDF-reading device. Now with a 7th FREE eBook. Read more..

Gary is also the author of “Beating Songwriter’s Block: Jump-Start Your Words and Music“, published in hardcopy by Backbeat Books, and available from Amazon and any other online bookseller.

Replacing Major Chords With Minor: Modal Mixtures

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black & white guitarWe know that when music is in a key, there are seven chords that exist naturally in that key. All other chords you might use come under the general heading called altered chords.

If your song is in C major, the vast majority of the chords you’ll wind up using will come from the following list:

  • C (I)
  • Dm (ii)
  • Em (iii)
  • F (IV)
  • G (V)
  • Am (vi)
  • Bdim (vii-dim)

We get those chords by taking a C major scale and building chords above each note. As you can see, three of the chords, C, F and G, are major chords. Three of them, Dm, Em and Am, are minor. The chord built on the 7th note is diminished.

And that’s true, of course, no matter what major key you consider. For minor keys, you get a different list:

  • Cm (i)
  • Ddim (ii-dim)
  • Eb (III)
  • Fm (iv)
  • Gm (v) or G (V)
  • Ab (VI)
  • Bb (VII)

In minor keys, three of the chords, Cm, Fm and Gm, are minor. There are four major chords: Eb, Ab, Bb, and then G, which is often made to be major in songs that are truly in a minor key. That leaves the second chord, Ddim, as a diminished chord. (There are other possibilities, depending on the type of minor scale you build your chords on, but let’s leave it that way for now.)

There is a category of chords you may want to consider that does something really interesting: it mixes the two lists, allowing you to “borrow” chords that belong to the opposite list. Such chords are called borrowed chords, or modal mixture chords. Here’s how it works.

Let’s say you’ve been working out a song in C major, and you come up with the following progression: C  Am  F  C (I  vi  IV  I). The third chord in the progression, F, can be switched with its minor key equivalent, Fm. Your progression is now:  C  Am  Fm  C. It gives the progression a slightly different, almost melancholy sound.

You can also opt to keep the F, then follow it quickly with Fm before continuing on to C. Play the following progression with each chord being held for four beats, except play the F and Fm for two beats each, and you’ll see how this works: C  Am  F  Fm  C.

The Fm is called a modal mixture. Keep in mind that substituting F for Fm will only work if the melody note at that moment isn’t an A. That’s because to turn F into Fm requires you to turn the A from the F chord into an Ab. So modal mixtures will work as long as you make sure they’ll accommodate your melody note.

Here’s a few other progressions you might want to try. They all use modal mixtures, shown in bold.

Major Keys

  • C  F  Ddim  G  C
  • C  Am  Bb  F  C
  • C  Eb  F  G  Fm  Bb  C
  • C  F  Ddim  G  Ab  F  C
  • C  G  F  Eb  F  G  C

Minor Keys

  • Cm  Fm  G  Ab  Bb  Bdim  Cm
  • Cm  G  Dm  G  Ab  Fm  Cm
  • Cm  Eb  F  G  Ddim  G  Cm

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“The Essential Secrets of Songwriting” Songwriting BundleWritten by Gary Ewer. Follow on Twitter.

“The Essential Secrets of Songwriting” 6-eBook Bundle looks at songwriting from every angle, and has been used by thousands of songwriters. How to use chords, write melodies, and craft winning lyrics. $95.70 $37.00 (and you’ll receive a FREE copy of “From Amateur to Ace: Writing Songs Like a Pro.“)

5 Ways to Enhance Your Songwriting Imagination

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Gary EwerIn the writing of my latest book, “Beating Songwriter’s Block: Jump-Start Your Words and Music,” I did considerable research into the concept of creativity. After all, everyone knows that if you’re going through a period of finding songwriting difficult, it’s your sense of creativity that takes a hit.

In fact, I discovered that that’s not exactly true; it’s more complex than that. My research led me to comparing the terms “imagination” and “creativity,” and the surprise for me was that those two terms were not synonymous. Specifically, it’s quite possible to be imaginative without being creative.

For you as a songwriter, the imagination comes into play when you try to conjure up musical ideas. As you then imagine several ideas and try to blend them together into a piece of music, you move from the imagination stage to a creative stage.

There are lots of reasons that writer’s block kicks in, and most of those reasons are psychology-based, rooted in fear. But the fear comes from someplace, not the result of a simple lack of inspiration. Sometimes the block occurs at the creation stage, where you just can’t put things together properly. But that’s not common; it typically happens even earlier. The most common root of a creative block is the low quality of ideas being imagined in the first place.

So that begs the question: how do you enhance your songwriter’s imagination? How do you make sure that the ideas you’re producing in the first place are good quality ideas that can lead to good music? Here are some tips:

  1. Listen to lots of music from many different genres. This opens your mind and deepens the well of ideas from which you can create music.
  2. Structure your songwriting time. Develop a schedule that makes sense in your busy life, one that allows you to write while feeling rested and musically alert.
  3. Work on playing as much as on writing. Playing an instrument helps you imagine musical ideas you might otherwise miss.
  4. Develop your abilities to think your music. If songwriting for you means sitting at a piano, or strumming a guitar, try imagining musical ideas before hunting for them at your piano. Not easy at first, but it’s a great exercise.
  5. Do songwriting exercises. I’ve listed some elsewhere in this blog, here and here, for example. The great thing about exercises is that it reduces the stress we put on ourselves to create fully-fledged songs. Working quickly means that our brain must generate ideas without second-guessing, and that enhances the imagination.

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Written by Gary Ewer. Follow Gary on Twitter 

“The Essential Secrets of Songwriting” 6-eBook BundleGet “The Essential Secrets of Songwriting” 6-e-Book Bundle today, and polish your songwriting technique. Readable on your laptop/desktop, iPhone, iPad, Kindle, or any other PDF-reading device. Now with a 7th FREE eBook. Read more..

Gary is also the author of “Beating Songwriter’s Block: Jump-Start Your Words and Music“, published in hardcopy by Backbeat Books, and available from Amazon and most other online booksellers.

Unless.

“The Essential Secrets of Songwriting” Songwriting BundleDiscover the 11 secrets that pro songwriters have known for decades. “The Essential Secrets of Songwriting” 6-eBook Bundle is being used by thousands of songwriters to take their music to a new level of excellence. Now with a 7th FREE eBook. Read more…
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Musician dreamingIf you’re hoping to make the writing of music a career choice, it’s not going to be even a remote possibility for you unless…

  1. unless you are writing excellent songs, and doing it consistently;
  2. unless you are practicing your songwriting craft, and improving daily as a songwriter;
  3. unless you are energetically building a fan base for your music;
  4. unless you play your music regularly for others, live and in-person;
  5. unless you have a polished, professional-looking website with current information;
  6. unless you have an easy way to allow new listeners to hear your music (streamed online, usually);
  7. unless you’re able to listen to your own music objectively;
  8. unless you’re listening to lots of music, including songs from genres you normally wouldn’t consider;
  9. unless you work hard to make connections to others in the music industry;
  10. unless you understand how the music industry really works;
  11. unless you are willing to learn from other songwriters and industry personnel;
  12. unless you understand that songwriting is a discipline.

In other words, unless you realize that a career in songwriting requires a level-headed, disciplined, clear-headed approach, you’ll live in that dreamworld where you wait for top industry people to call you tell you that they want to record every song you’ve ever written.

The music world invites dreamers. But there’s an important difference between dreaming and hallucinating. It’s OK to dream as long as you know that the twelve “unlesses” can’t be ignored. Those “unlesses” are simply reality.

To ignore reality means you’re hallucinating, and not on track to making music any sort of career.

Dream big, but get to work.

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Written by Gary Ewer. Follow Gary on Twitter 

Get “The Essential Secrets of Songwriting” 6-e-Book Bundle today, and polish your songwriting technique. Readable on Gary Eweryour laptop/desktop, iPhone, iPad, Kindle, or any other PDF-reading device. Now with a 7th FREE eBook. Read more..

Gary is also the author of “Beating Songwriter’s Block: Jump-Start Your Words and Music“, published in hardcopy by Backbeat Books, and available from Amazon and any other online bookseller.

New Service for Songwriters: Songwriter-Connect.com

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Songwriter ConnectI was contacted recently by Christian Erhardt, CEO/Founder of a new service for songwriters called Songwriter Connect. It’s new, so obviously there’s no opportunity for researching their effectiveness yet, and until I know more I can’t offer an endorsement. But it’s a unique approach to connecting songwriters with performers, and so I’d encourage you to check out their website.

Briefly, you apply for acceptance to their service by sending them two songs. Applying is free. (I’d remind you that anytime you send music to anyone, you should register the copyright with your country’s copyright office or intellectual property office.)

Your application and two songs are evaluated, and if accepted, you’re authorized to sign up as songwriter or composer. Once you’ve done that, you browse through their listings and bid on an opportunity to work with a “chart-topping” artist.

As I say, I can’t call this an endorsement, because it’s new and untested (as far as I know). And it’s not clear to me what they mean by “bid” on an opportunity. Unless I’m misunderstanding the use of that term, it sounds like songwriters would compete monetarily for the chance to work with an artist. If that’s not the case, perhaps someone from their company will comment below.

Regarding their promise to connect you to chart-topping artists, Christian says on the website:

We don’t promise you that you will write music for Lady Gaga, Justin Timberlake or One Direction, but we do promise you to connect you with singers and bands you normally wouldn’t get to write for.

In an email to me, Christian said that as soon as the beta version is launched, which they plan to do once they’ve got a few hundred songwriters signed up, they hope to be able to provide 2-5 recording sessions with an established artist for their songwriters during the beta test phase of about 4-6 months.

So as always, be careful and ask questions. They seem like good people who are keen to help develop opportunities for good songwriters. I’ve written them a couple of times with questions, and they’ve been quick to reply. I do like the fact that they want to evaluate the songwriters and their music before acceptance. It shows that they aren’t promising fame and fortune to anyone who pays a fee.

I’m not connected in any way with their company, so it won’t do much good to ask me questions about this. But they’ve posted their email addresses at the bottom of their website. As I’d recommend to anyone thinking of sending their music anywhere, be sure you do your research and ask all your questions first.

Check out the Songwriter Connect.

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Gary EwerWritten by Gary Ewer. Follow on Twitter.

“The Essential Secrets of Songwriting” 6-eBook Bundle looks at songwriting from every angle, and has been used by thousands of songwriters. How to use chords, write melodies, and craft winning lyrics. $95.70 $37.00 (and you’ll receive a FREE copy of “From Amateur to Ace: Writing Songs Like a Pro.“)

Writing Song Melodies When Writer’s Block Sets In

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Songwriter working at a piano keyboardWhen songwriter’s block is setting in, it can make you feel that everything you try to write is garbage. With anything that’s difficult, the best solutions will come from simplifying what you do. Here’s one way to simplify the melody-writing process when ideas are few and far between:

  1. Create a short, 4- or 5-note melodic idea.
  2. Accompany that idea with one or two chords.
  3. Create a longer progression that works well with your melodic idea.
  4. Repeat the melodic idea as you work through your progression.

Using that approach, you can create a reasonably good chorus melody in two minutes or less. Let’s look at each step in a bit of detail. I’ve created some very basic MIDI files that demonstrate how each step might sound.

  1. First, create a short melodic idea. You might come up with something like this: [LISTEN] (Each sample opens in a new browser window or tab).
  2. Next, find a chord that will accompany that idea. If you’re suffering from writer’s block, keep things simple. I used a C chord in my example: [LISTEN]
  3. Now, work out a simple progression, something tonally strong that would work as a chorus progression. The chords I came up with were C  Am  Dm and G: [LISTEN]
  4. Now, add your melody. [LISTEN]
  5. For the 4th run-through of the melodic idea (i.e., as you reach the G chord), change it up and create something different that stays in the spirit of the first idea. Here’s what I came up with: [LISTEN]

As you create your first idea, you can add a line of lyric at that stage, and then work on the lyric as you proceed through the steps.

As I say, you can come up with a passable complete melody in two minutes or so. But better than that, it helps fix the creative block you’re going through by reducing your stress and anxiety. It shows you that even despite feeling the effects of a block, you can create something quickly and easily.

As you can see, for each chord you use, not all the notes of your basic melodic idea won’t necessarily fit. But that’s OK. As you hear, the notes of the melody that are most memorable are the first one (G), the middle one (E), and then the last one (E). Those pitches, G and E, will still sound acceptable for any basic diatonic chord.

And repetition of that idea makes putting it all together very easy. It reinforces the principle that chorus melodies of major hit songs from the past several decades often feature repetition as a crucial organizing element.

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Written by Gary Ewer. Follow Gary on Twitter 

Get “The Essential Secrets of Songwriting” 6-e-Book Bundle today, and polish your songwriting technique. Readable on Gary Eweryour laptop/desktop, iPhone, iPad, Kindle, or any other PDF-reading device. Now with a 7th FREE eBook. Read more..

Gary is also the author of “Beating Songwriter’s Block: Jump-Start Your Words and Music“, published in hardcopy by Backbeat Books, and available from Amazon and any other online bookseller.

7 Chord Progressions With Rising Bass Lines

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Songwriting - bass guitarI had some ideas for a few progressions to try, ones that result in a rising bass line. Bass lines that move upward can build musical momentum, so you’ll find them useful in all sorts of situations, including:

  • generating excitement in a pre-chorus;
  • generating excitement in the latter half of a verse;
  • working hand-in-hand with a melodic climactic moment, particularly in a chorus;
  • in the latter half of a bridge as it prepares to move back to the chorus.

There are many progressions you can consider that result in rising bass lines. The first four listed below start on non-tonic chords (i.e., not the I-chord of your key), and those are particularly good for pre-chorus, end of verse, or end of bridge.

Most of them include altered chords, and so will give your music a somewhat unique sound. Feel free to experiment with them to suit your needs. I’d recommend the following:

  1. Start off playing each chord for two beats.
  2. Be as creative as possible: try different time signatures and playing styles.
  3. You’ll find they can work at any tempo, and will suit most genres – with the possible exception (for some of them, anyway) of country. ;)
  4. The ones that start on I-chords you’ll find will suit a chorus quite well.
  5. The key for each progression is C major, but are of course transposable to any key. I’ve included the Roman numeral analysis for those who know how to use it, as it can make transposition easier:

The Progressions

  1. Dm  C/E  F  G  Am  Bb  G/B  C (ii  I6  IV  V  vi  bVII  V6  I)
  2. Eb  F  Gsus4  G  Ab  Bb  C (bIII  IV  V4 – 3  bVI  bVII  I)
  3. Dm  E  Bb/F  F  G  G#dim  Am  Bb  C  (ii  III  bVII6-4  IV  V  viio/vi  vi  bVII  I)
  4. Dm  Em  F  G7  F/A  Gb/Bb  G/B  C  (ii  iii  IV  V7  IV6  bV6  V6  I)
  5. C  Bb/D  Eb  C/E  F  D/F#  G  Am (I  bVII6  bIII  I6  IV  V6/V  V  vi)
  6. C  G/B  Em  Fdim  C/G  Am  G/B  C  (I  V6-4  iii  IVdim  I6-4  vi  V6  I)
  7. C  A/C#  Dm  C/E  F  Em/G  Amsus4  Am  Gm/Bb  G/B  C  (I  V6/ii  ii  I6  IV  iii6  vi4 – 3  v6  V6  I)

That last progression is a long one, and won’t likely work easily by playing straight through. It will suit your purposes better to be creative with how long you hold each chord: sit on some chords longer, play through other ones more quickly, etc.

Another idea for these progressions (and for any progressions, actually): try moving back and forth between two adjacent chords a few times, then move on to the rest of the progression. These aren’t a blueprint – they’re meant to help you with your own creative ideas.

______________

Gary EwerWritten by Gary Ewer. Follow on Twitter.

“The Essential Secrets of Songwriting” 6-eBook Bundle looks at songwriting from every angle, and has been used by thousands of songwriters. How to use chords, write melodies, and craft winning lyrics. $95.70 $37.00 (and you’ll receive a FREE copy of “From Amateur to Ace: Writing Songs Like a Pro.“)

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