Learn How to Use Exotic Chords Like Nickel Creek’s “This Side”

In this episode, we’re looking at Nickel Creek’s “This Side” with a focus on learning how to use some exotic chords in your songwriting.  Here are the particular techniques we are analyzing: Using G# in the key of E and why that works — it’s because the song temporarily shifts …

Learning How to Change Keys from Sting’s “If I Ever Lose My Faith in You”

Sting’s “If I Ever Lose My Faith in You” features some advanced songwriting techniques in the area of transpositions — changing keys within a song.  Now, it’s not a requirement for a song to go through more than one keys for it to be good or impactful, but a key, …

Cause & Effect Music Theory

One way to approach music theory and songwriting is to think in terms of cause & effect. Understanding the musical devices (chords, riffs, melodies) and the impressions each gives will provide you a toolbox you can use to concoct songs that create a particular emotional impact.  I started writing songs in high school, but …

Ari’s Music Theory Primer

A detailed discussion of music theory is outside the scope of this blog, but here’s my take on some fundamental music theory concepts, so you know what I’m talking about. Harmonic Theory In Western music, an octave is divided into 12 equal steps.  Each step is called semitones or half-step. …