Anonymous asked in Entertainment & MusicMusicOther - Music · 5 months ago

How do I write a song's chord progressions and see which chord progressions are best?

Currently I want to write a song, I know enough music theory to write a song and I play guitar. However when it comes to making chord progressions I feel lost.

Say we're making a song in the Am key and it's supposed to be sad.

I can definitely make an intro, but then, when it comes to the verse I just don't know what chord to start on, and if I can't make a verse then I can't make a chorus, and I can't make a bridge, etc.

Even then I have trouble remembering how the intro is supposed to sound like:

For example:


Am C Am C 

Am C Am C

Does that mean I play the chords with the same strumming pattern on the same beat? Does every chord make one bar or a 1/4 of the bar? How fast or slow was the bar supposed to be? 

Of course I could record it like I usually do but I just feel dumb for not remembering it.

6 Answers

  • 5 months ago

    You contradicted yourself. You claim to know enough music theory to write a song, yet you don't know how to write chord progressions. According to your questions, you know nothing about music.

  • ?
    Lv 5
    5 months ago

    So....if you "wrote an intro" and you don't know the strumming pattern and beat or anything else, than you haven't written an intro, you just wrote a couple of chords down on a piece of paper. I suggest you get out from behind your piece of paper and get your guitar in your lap (with your piece of paper still in reach). Wanna know what the strumming pattern and such are? Sit down on your instrument and play with it and come up with something that you like. This is the fun part, making music, trying stuff, seeing what you like, being creative. No matter how perscriptory your chord progression is, even if you are just using a traditional progression, if you are the songwriter, the arranger, you have to sit on the instrument and figure out your own arrangement.

    So then the other part of the question is how to write the rest of the progression itself. There is a lot that one might know in this regard, and I don't want to overwhelm. Although there is a well of music theory to fall down (and it is a good idea to learn some) you really don't need that much to get started writing songs. Just stay in your key and try stuff and you will find something you like. In Am? Play around with Am C Dm Dm7 Em F G G7...I picked those chords because they are all made up of notes from your key (as previously stated, learn some theory). Am C repeated for an intro? You might try starting with Am C F Em for a verse pattern. Relax and have fun.

  • 5 months ago

    I am a retired Theory teacher, among other musical things.  There are NO RULES - only recipes.  Change what you want, to what you like - and you could get a Grammy - or something awful.  If you are writing a movie score or song that MUST conform to the stylistic devices of most of Europe1725, or 1850, or use a modern orchestra, but *sound* like the flavors of Japan in ancient times  - yes, you gotta go learn how to cook those recipes.  THAT is where the *recipe book* of Theory comes out.  You would not be in charge of costumes for a Civil war movie, and let actors wear Apple watches, and carry cell phones!

    If you  have a strong desire to learn more theory, and have some of your songs in a certain style - then there is ALWAYS the opportunity to take some classes, etc.  No composer was ever *ruined* by too much education.  Not if they were able to creatively apply it to what what wish inside their OWN head.  We do not need another Mozart, or Beatles, or Bix Beiderbeck, or Marvin Gay.  You do YOU.  If you want to *walk thru the museum* to see/hear what others did, and then how it was analyzed and codified - never hurts.

  • 5 months ago

    There is no "right" in music. There are conventions, sure - for instance "minor is sad" is one, but you could think of a hundred songs in a minor key that aren't sad. Minor can be dramatic, funky, emotional, beautiful and many other things. There are even some pieces of music that sound sad that are written in a major key, although these are rarer.

    If you wanted to write a piece of music that is simply "Em for 2 minutes" that is a PERFECTLY valid choice. There have even been hit songs with one chord - Chain of Fools is the most famous.As for "playing the chords with the same strumming pattern on the same beat" - maybe. Maybe not. Both could be right. It's like saying "what is the best car" - what are you using it for? You'll get different answers if you want something big, something cheap, something rugged, something fast or something efficient.Another convention is how much of the bar a chord will take up - it may be a bar per chord. It may be several bars per chord. It may be several chords per bar (although again, this is less common because it will end up sounding very busy if you keep doing this)How fast or slow? If you're not sure pick something in the middle. Go for 110 bpm.If you're still stuck then look at songs you already like, find the chords and see what the songwriter did. If you want more inspiration simply steal the chords from the verse and write your own melody. Once you've done that then change a couple of them and you've got your own original piece - music is (and always was) aaaaaaall about theft, all the greats stole from people they respected.

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  • snafu
    Lv 7
    5 months ago

    If you get a songbook (for instance) by The Beatles, their early stuff was very simple, chord wise.  Look at how their songs were constructed.  Nowadays things aren’t quite so rigid in terms of songwriting.  A good song is a good song.  Don’t think in formulas.  Know your scales and the chords that fit harmonically within them.  Good Songwriting is a fine art and quite difficult.  Like any skill, keep at it and keep learning.

  • Tony B
    Lv 4
    5 months ago

    I guess this is no help at all but the only answer to your questions is, it's up to you, it's your song.

    The chord sequence is a part of the song and you haven't really written a song if you have no chord sequence. It sounds like you come up with an idea for a song (melody and lyrics?) and then try to superimpose an existing chord sequence. It doesn't work like that. Choose a sequence of chords that harmonise the way you want with your melody.

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