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222 | Songwriting with Chord Substitutions
How to make chord progressions more interesting
June 29, 2023
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To write a really good chord progression, there are different techniques you can use as a songwriter. Certain tricks, like using what are called “substitute chords” to take a sort of plain-sounding progression to the next level.

This video explains what substitute chords are — and more importantly, where they come from in the circle of fifths:

These images highlight the main points and examples illustrated.

In modern music, the I-V-vi-IV is one of the most common chord progressions. You hear it all the time in many popular songs.

 

In the key of C, for example, these are chords C-G-Am-F, which come from the C Ionian mode in the circle of fifths.

To alter the sound, you can substitute any of these chords — like replacing V (G) with its relative minor, Em (the iii chord in the key of C). In this way, the iii is a substitute chord for V.

This alternative to the I-V-vi-IV progression is not as common, but makes for some interesting tunes....

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287 | Guitar Strum Patterns

To play the guitar, you must know chords. That is, how to press the strings to form harmonies. But of equal importance how you strum the instrument with your other hand. In this video, we explore art of strum patterns to make great music.

Join the live stream -- Monday, May 27 at 6:00 p.m. Mountain:

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286 | Key Change using the Circle of Fifths

How do you change keys during a song? Is there a smooth way to make this shift? Here, we look at a classic song by George Harrison to see how the chord progression effortlessly moves between keys. And it's easy to see using the circle of fifths....

Join the live stream -- Monday, May 20 at 6:00 p.m. Mountain:

https://youtube.com/live/NdRS-RG-q7E

To dive into the details yourself, here are the diagrams we explored in the video:

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