How Do They Write Those Chord Progressions?

Sometimes I hear a song and think, how do these songwriters come up with such perfect chord changes and why are the chords in my songs so plain and boring?

One day I was playing one of my favorite obscure James Taylor songs, The Secret O’ Life, which has a great chord progression. I got to thinking, what if I steal/use some of his chords (not in the same order) and write a song of my own. I know this group of chords sounds good together, at least they do in The Secret O’ Life, so I took it on as a challenge. My goal was that my song shouldn’t sound anything like his.

It turns out there are at least 11 different chords in his song. I started fiddling with some of them and came up with something completely different.

My song, called My Good also has about 11 chords, of which seven are copped from Secret O’ Life. My song is fast, his is slow, mine is pop, his is a ballad. In other words, you’d never hear the two songs and think they were at all similar. Yet by starting with a palette of colors (one set of chords) I found the inspiration to fashion something new of my own. Listen for yourself and let me know what you think.

Soulpajamas sing My Good.


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One Response to “How Do They Write Those Chord Progressions?”

  1. mandoron Says:

    The first complete song that I ever wrote. That’s exactly how it happened. I was learning a new song, and accidentally played the chords in a different order. Changed the rhythm. And voila, a new song.

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