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Songwriting For Dummies by Cathy Lynn Austin, Jim Peterik, Dave Austin

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Chapter 10

Using Chords in Songwriting

In This Chapter

Understanding how chords and chord progressions shape your song

Picking an instrument when working with chords

Creating colors through your choices in chords

Given the fact that you’re reading this book, you may already have a basic grasp of chords on the instrument of your choice. You can use this knowledge of chords to your advantage and actually play the songs for others while you’re in the process of writing them to receive some valuable feedback. But, even if you’re strictly a lyricist, you can use what you learn in this chapter to speak intelligently about chords with your co-writer. The more you understand the underlying chord structures of a song, the more appreciation you’ll have for them when you hear a great song on the radio or Internet. The next step will be applying that knowledge and appreciation into your own songs. Putting chords to work within the context of a song is what this chapter’s all about.

Using Chords to Write Songs

Just like the concrete that forms the foundation of your house, think of chord structure as the foundation of your song. If the chord structure is solid, you can build a masterpiece on top of it; if it’s weak, everything you lay on top of this foundation runs the risk of collapsing.

So what is a chord? A chord is a combination of three or more musical tones played simultaneously. Chords are constructed of different combinations of the half step intervals between the notes. You can locate ...

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