How To Choose Chords (Songwriting 101)



In this Songwriting 101 lesson, learn how to choose chords for your original song! Printable Cheat Sheet: https://www.patreon.com/dylanlaine // Don’t forget… ??

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Hi, my name is Dylan Laine and my mission is to inspire you to play, write, and spread the light! I create songwriting tutorials, ukulele tutorials, guitar tutorials, and piano tutorials. I also post original music, cover songs, and buying guides. In 2010 I received my degree in songwriting from Berklee College of Music, and enjoy teaching private music lessons in addition to making online content.

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42 thoughts on “How To Choose Chords (Songwriting 101)

  • August 26, 2019 at 1:34 am
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    I'm going through your songwriting playlist and it is SO helpful, thank you for sharing your knowledge!! ? 🙂

  • August 26, 2019 at 1:34 am
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    I've been self-teaching myself on piano for about a year and a half. There's very few covers that I can do. Simple stuff like "Imagine". But I have learned enough that I compose my own material. One of the problems I have is my material seems to be outside the norm.

    For example, one of the first ones that I wrote started while messing around (as most of mine). I played a Bm with my right. However, with my left, I played a G octave. Sounded smooth. From there, I went to a C chord with my right and a F octave with my left. Again smooth.

    According to scales-chords.com, what I did was go from  a Gmaj7 to a Fmaj9sus2. Now, I have since learned what the first would be. You're simply adding the 7th. The latter? Beats me, particularly when scales-chords shows Fmaj9sus2 as "F-G-C-E". I played it as "F-C-E-G".

    My problem becomes two-fold. When I come up with something, it works but I don't understand why it works. Secondly, when stumbling onto unusual chords or using an  unusual bass octave, trying to figure out other chords that have the same vibe is pain-staking.

  • August 26, 2019 at 1:34 am
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    Can you search a chord for me __mixed personalitie – ynw melly ft kanye west

  • August 26, 2019 at 1:34 am
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    This video makes me want to sing..
    Do.. A deer.. A female deer.. Ray.. A drop of golden sun..

  • August 26, 2019 at 1:34 am
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    Thank you so much Dylan i was trying to make a song from the bible verses coz its easy to memorize them by singing it and i play ukulele so i was trying to make a chords for them this is very helpful God bless u

  • August 26, 2019 at 1:34 am
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    Hii my friend love your videos and Tutorials all the time helped me lot thank you so much for making this Awesome Videos I appreciate your work ? and I always wish you get success all the time ?

  • August 26, 2019 at 1:34 am
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    Really useful clear and lucid explanation of the circle of fifths. Best tutorial site I've come across. So many resources! Thank you Dylan! Please support her on Patreon!

  • August 26, 2019 at 1:34 am
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    Thank you so much!!! I understand the circle of fiths now and why it's called that! Thank you!

  • August 26, 2019 at 1:34 am
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    Hey…can you make a video about ur journey af berklee college of music….?

  • August 26, 2019 at 1:34 am
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    OMG This was literally so needed in my life and i dont know how to thank you for your amazing help ly!!!!

  • August 26, 2019 at 1:34 am
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    can i write a song by my feeling only?….i mean no music theory…..u know singers like kurt cobain used 2 do that….

  • August 26, 2019 at 1:34 am
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    Omg Dylan you're amazing!
    You've helped so much with writing music
    And I plan to one day be a small town musician. YouTube career! You are an important part of this thank you so so much I'm truly inspired!
    Keep being amazing!! ?

  • August 26, 2019 at 1:34 am
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    I have a wheel graphic for ukulele chords that sound good together – it makes choosing chords pretty idiot proof which I like – I understand about choosing the I-V-vi-IV chords from a scale but that requires counting and half note intervals and just sort of puts me off because it’s not immediately obvious – so the wheel graphic definitely helps me xx

  • August 26, 2019 at 1:34 am
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    Omg! This answer my whole life question on playing. Ty great vids. Can you make a video about how to find your voice key?

  • August 26, 2019 at 1:34 am
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    You are awesome!!! You are answering all my questions. Thank you so very much!!!

  • August 26, 2019 at 1:34 am
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    Hi Ma'am Dylan! Thank you for teaching me some basic stuff about music. I just want you to know that I'm learning and thank you for that. 😀

  • August 26, 2019 at 1:34 am
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    i love your vids…. they help me everytime i get stuck..
    thnk you sooo much dylan

  • August 26, 2019 at 1:34 am
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    This video was really helpful! I'm thinking of writing my own songs soon and posting them on my channel. Your videos are really nice because I'm a beginner at song writing and I can get help really easily! 🙂

  • August 26, 2019 at 1:34 am
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    Hi XD could you do a tutorial for the song Hills and Valleys(the valleys version) btw you have a beautiful voice!

  • August 26, 2019 at 1:34 am
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    I realy love your songs i want to do the same but im bad and cant afford instruments

  • August 26, 2019 at 1:34 am
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    Hey guys! I have two new tiers on Patreon, due to many requests for one-on-one songwriting help.

    1. Music Mentorship – where you have access to my private mentorship email address. I will check in with you weekly to help guide you through setting and accomplishing your music goals**

    2. Songwriting Boost – where you can send me a new original song each month. I will review it, and then send you tips as well as encouragement. You will have the option to send me your revised song several weeks later, in which I will then review it for a second time and then send back final thoughts**

    Go here for more info: https://www.patreon.com/dylanlaine

    **limited spots available

  • August 26, 2019 at 1:34 am
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    você é linda, parabéns ??
    eu amo seus vídeos de couvers??

  • August 26, 2019 at 1:34 am
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    Great Video, Thank you!
    I would say my biggest problem is chord structure…
    lets say I have 4 chords looped in 8 bars. ( the same chords will loop for the next 8 bars to conplete a verse, or part one of a verse) how would you arrange a progression of 4 chords or more for the pre chorus and then into the chorus from your point of view? I find that my writing becomes extremely repetetive or perhaps the melody begins to "drift" away although it is still in key.. Have you found any interest in "studying" the great Max Martin? He's one of the guys that truly understands intricate and simple songwriting which I've been searching for, for a very long time.
    Hopefully you can reply! Thanks for the video once again!

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