Songwriting Chords – How to Use Chords to Help You Write

You can use songwriting chords to find a nice progression which sounds good under whatever melody you’re writing specifically at the time, and this can be a great way to develop upon an idea or just find the best progression to play under that melody. Having a solid understanding of songwriting chords can take you a long way in songwriting, but it requires a quick bit of music knowledge first.

songwriting chords

The above chart shows the major key of E and all of the its notes along with their technical names. You don’t need to know the names as much as the numbers. In writing with someone else, it really helps when you both know the key and are familiar with the songwriting chords in that key so that you can give them a number and they can play the corresponding note without needing actual names of notes.

You can see on this chord chart/fretboard for the key of E the spacing between each note. This chart represents a fretboard of a real guitar with the first line representing the zero fret, or playing a string open in other words.

songwriting chords chartIn a major key, the 3rd to the 4th 7th to the 1st will always be one right next to each other whereas every other transition will have an extra note between them which is out of the key.

The important part to remember about a major scale is the spacing of the notes in the key so that you can quickly transition between them when trying different notes for a part/section of a song to see what sounds the best underneath of a solo or hook.

Trying out different notes underneath of the same hook can give it a completely different sound without having to change anything else. You can do this to vary the presentation of a hook in a different part of the same song of yours, or conversely you can take an existing hook from another song, mix it up a little bit and rearrange it with a different chord progression underneath of it and you’ve got a decidedly different song.

This happens all of the time in pop music but the slightest changes result in the biggest non-discernible differences.

There are a lot of more typical songwriting chords progressions used in popular western music. Let’s take a look at the most popular chord progressions which you can fall back on by clicking on this link for chord progressions.

2 thoughts on “Songwriting Chords – How to Use Chords to Help You Write”

Leave a Comment