How to write nice chord progressions

By Michael Korte

If you ever heard of song writing, you might find the thought of writing your own music intimidating at first, but that is not necessary. What frightens most musicians to write their own material, is when they start comparing themselves to their idols and to the music they enjoy listening to and then start thinking “How could I possibly write music good as this?”

What most people fail to see is, that this ability to write and compose awesome music, does not come over night. It needs development. So, all your favourite composers and songwriters had to start at some point and I guarantee you: They all sucked at it, in the beginning. And there is NOTHING wrong with that.

It only matters where you are going with your skills and where you WANT TO end up. If your goal is, to become a highly skilled composer, GOOD! Just also accept that it will take some time to develop and it will require to write some really bad things, to find out what works well. Nobody judges you for the bad stuff, if you do not publish it 🙂

But you WILL get there, if you persist and work on your skills consistently. That is the key to everything, is it not?

Anyway. To get you moving on your way a little faster, here is something to help you write some nice chord progressions.

Did you know, that you are allowed to put chords in any order you wish?

It is vitally important to be aware of the fact, that music theory is only an explanation of everything you hear in music. Its main purpose is, to explain, why something sounds as it sounds. A lot of people forget about this and by that forget, that there are no real right or wrongs. The final judge always is yourself and what sounds good to YOU. If it sounds good to YOU it is fine to do it.

Take the chords from the G major key:

G – Am – Bm – C – D – Em.

Now pick three of them and play them in various orders. For now, stick to one chord for one bar.

Now pick four of them and play the new selection in various orders. Since you have more slots available here, you could also repeat one chord a few times.

For example, three bars of G major and one bar of B minor. There are no restrictions and every restriction I mention here, only serves the purpose for practicing and learning.

You will notice eventually, that you will like some orders, and some you will not like. That does not mean, you did anything wrong, it only says something about your taste and preferences. At this point I recommend getting a little song writing and composing notebook where you can write into everything that you like, but also everything that you do not like, because you might find ways later, to apply those things in a different way, in which you could like them!

On top of that, whenever you write down a new item into your little database now, make sure to also describe in a few words, what it sounds like to you.

This exercise will help you tremendously showing you the options, with which you can approach your songs and gives you over time a large database to which you can refer to, if you are stuck with writing a song.

About the author:

Michael Korte is teaching guitar in Finland. In his guitar school, he teaches his students new approaches and concepts for their rhythm and solo playing and also shows them how to improve their practicing, so that they get better results faster. If you want to reach the next level in your playing and you are looking for kitaratunnit in Tampere make sure to get in touch with him.

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