Current Page: Songwriting, Chapter 1
Note: This is an intermediate lesson.
"Songwriting, Chapter 1: How to come up with new ideas on the keyboard"
One of the most common conversations I have with many of my students revolves around writing music. It's pretty natural for piano and keyboard players to also be composers. That can take the form of instrumental music, or songs that are vocal driven and accompanied by piano or keyboard.
Just like other creative types, musicians come up against "writers block". It can start to get really frustrating when you feel like you always use the same chords on the piano, or similar melody lines etc. After a while, you start to really feel like you're stuck in a rut.
How do you come up with new creative musical ideas?
In this piano lesson, I hope to give you many ideas that will spark your creativity. Specifically, in this video we'll look at a technique called "the descending chromatic line". This may sound like a mouthful, but once you understand this simple concept, you'll begin to hear how it is effectively used in many different songs that you might hear on the radio.
Of course the word "descend" means to go down. And in music, the word "chromatic" means to use every single note in a row. Black notes and white notes, we'll use all of them. By using a descending chromatic line on the keyboard, we've immediately set up a very powerful bass line melody.
Typically, when most people think of a bass line, they don't equate it with a melody. Melodies are commonly thought of as only existing in the higher registers of music. For instance - voices, lead guitar, trumpet etc. - they are all high register melodic instruments.
But melodies can exist in any spectrum of music. In fact, the greatest bass players are those that create great melodies when they play. And a "descending chromatic line" is one of the most powerful ways to instantly create an interesting melody.
The next step that we'll explore is superimposing chords over that descending chromatic line. We'll use chords that have notes in common with each chromatic note in this new chromatic bass line.
If the concept of a chromatic descending melody is new to you, you may find that these chord progressions will be new to you as well.
If you're like most other piano players, new chord progressions that are being played by your hands have a tendency to inspire new melodies in your mind.
By taking advantage of this, we'll explore how to use this technique to come up with new song ideas on the keyboard.
Check this lesson out, grab some new ideas and then you know what to do…