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How to write great chord progressions - the quick and easy method

If you are anything like me, writing nice chord progressions can be quite a pain.

These are the things that suck (using classic DAW techniques):

  • Entering chords in the DAW note by note is annoying and time consuming.
  • When I play on a MIDI keyboard, I tend to stick to the same scales over and over again.
  • Why? Because on these scales I already know which chords I can use.
  • However, most of the time, I only play around with those chord types that I am already familiar and comfortable with.

This is what I want instead:

  • I want to use any scale - not just those that I already mastered on the keyboard.
  • I want to work with all chord types that make sense on this scale.
  • I want to keep my head as free as possible from excessive music theory stuff.
  • I want to work playfully. It should be fun to test different chord progressions.

This is one of the reasons why I developed Sundog Song Studio. Sundog contains many little tools and helpers, but one prominent feature is the "Chords View". It makes everything above as easy as possible.

Sundog chords view

The Sundog Chords View works like this:

  1. Choose any scale and root note. Over 300 scales are available.
  2. Sundog will calculate a view of commonly used chords for this scale now.
  3. Simply click on the chord buttons and listen.
  4. Do you like the sound of a certain chord? Fine! Add it to the chord progression, then find the next one.
  5. As soon as your chord progression is ready, you can drag and drop it to your DAW. Sundog will export it as a standard MIDI file.

As I said, Sundog also contains other tools to create matching basslines, arpeggios, and melodies easily. But the above steps are everything you need to create nice chords for any genre that you like. Just trust your ears 😉.

PS: Bonus Tip: Sundog supports multiple song parts. You can use different song parts to compare chord progressions with each other.

Some useful links:

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