Updated: Jul 15, 2020
Let's face it - most chord progressions have already been discovered, and the ones that haven't probably sound a little weird. The good news is that you can't copyright a chord progression, so it's ok if your song sounds a bit like someone else's. But if you want to make your song sound a bit more original, here are some ideas.
- Add more notes to some of your chords. Maybe some of those chords would sound good with an added 7th (or 9th, or 13th...)
- Substitute chords. In general there are three families of chords, Tonic, Predominant, and Dominant. The tonic family includes the I chord (the chord based on the first note of the scale of the key you are in) and the vi chord (the chord based on the 6th note of this scale). The predominant family includes the ii chord and the IV chord. The dominant family includes the V, iii and vii chords. So you may be able to substitute a V chord with a vii chord, some of the time. You'll have. To experiment to see what sounds good.
- Change the harmonic rhythm. Let's say you've been playing one chord per bar. Maybe there are a few spots where you could play two chords per bar. This adds a sense of movement and excitement to your song.
Elizabeth Bruce - songwriting, voice & piano instructor