How To Build Chord Progressions In Your Songwriting, Part 2

Read part 1 of this article here

“Come Together,” by John Lennon, as mentioned in part one of this exploration of chords, is chromatic – which means it uses chords which step outside of the key. It uses, actually, only one chromatic chord. But one is all you need, as it kicks the song into a whole other melodic realm.  In D minor, the verse uses only three chords: I (Dm) to V (A) to IV (G.) But for the chorus shift on the title, it leaps outside the key to B minor. (The VI in D minor is B flat. A B minor is B-D-F#; only a D is in the key.)

But again, the melody rocks right past that change, from the Bm back to the IV (G) and the V (A), so that it flows by organically, while brilliantly propelling us back to the verse.

All of which needs to be heard to be understood and appreciated. Once you master such changes, you can use them to add interesting colors to your melodies. That “Come Together” change mirrors almost exactly that same progression in “Heard It Through the Grapevine” by Whitfield & Strong, which utilizes the exact change though in a different key.

The Beatles had a love affair with both chromatic and extended chord progressions through all their work.  The chromatic ones often shifted back and forth between two keys – most notably from A major to C major and back – an effect that composers of previous generations,... Sign In to Keep Reading

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