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More on craft

In a previous post on craft (back on April 7), I talked about the things you could do with two chords. To repeat:


“Experimenting with chord relationships is part of the craft process. Why does a chord sound better going to one chord more than another? Why does a chord relationship work in one song, but not in another?


Answers to these questions don’t emerge right away. You might have to wait for the next song. Or you might never get an answer. Or the “answer” might come in the form of an insight that has nothing to do with the question. Just ask the questions. Things will happen. You’ll get better.”


The next chord

Continuing the process into the third chord brings up other questions. These questions are different from person to person, but they usually sound something like: Does chord 1 sound better going to chord 2 or chord 3? Do different rhythms sound better between different chords? Many of these questions are unconscious. Try to be aware of them.


Rhythm experimenting

Once you’ve put the chords where you want them, try experimenting with harmonic rhythm (where you’re placing the chords) and strumming rhythms. This might change the progression, or just where you decide to place a chord. It might not change anything.Whatever happens, this process is important if you want to effectively support the words, and write the best song that you can.


A lot of songwriters don’t think about this. Important words come in unexpected places sometimes. A change of chord at those points can make all the difference. Or not. You really have to try things out.


You are not your work

Craft separates you from your work so that you can clearly see what the music needs. Not what you need. What the music needs. Make the separation. You are not the thing you make. But you will still have emotional responsesto that thing, and to your inability to make it perfect.


Nothing is perfect.But everything can be made better.


And yes, craft makes it better.

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