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Creating Your Own Hit Songs

There’s no “set-in-stone” method to writing a song.  Each type of music is a little bit different than the rest, which is what gives them their “oomph”. The beauty of music is it can be anything, Phil Collins made songs using just drum beats and a melody, Skrillex and Dead Mau5 layer noise on top of bass beats for their songs.  Each way is different yet all are still popular.  Here’s a handy quick-sheet for coming up with your own songs.

Melody / Bass / Rhythm:

For example, these are very common chord sequences for pop / rock songs:

C-Am-F-G
G-Em-C-D
C-G-Am-F
C-Em-F-G
Am-F-C-G
Bm-G-D-A
D-A-G-A
G-D-Em-C
Em-C-G-D
G-C-G-C
F-Dm-Bb-C
D-A-Bm-G

The Holy Grail of Guitar progressions is listed below, also known as Pachelbells Canon in D Major, this chord sequence has been used in so many pop / rock hits that the list goes on and on.  You can move this pattern up and down the fretboard, as it’s the progression that makes the tune.

Pachelbell’s Canon in D Major

Dmaj – Amaj – Bmin – F#min – Gmaj – Dmaj – Gmaj – Amaj

Even tho Green Day’s Basket Case is done in the key of E, if you look at the numerical progression it makes more sense as now you can change the key and still have the same feeling.

Canon in D Major

I – V – vi – iii – IV – I – IV – V

Basketcase

I – V – vi – iii – IV – I – V – V

E – B – C#m – Ab – A – E – B

     EADGBe
  E: x79997
  B: 799877
C#m: x46654
 Ab: 466544
  A: 577655

Other groups that have used this chord progression are Coven (“One Tin Soldier“), Spiritualized (“Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space“), Aerosmith (“Cryin’“), Creed (“One Last Breath“), Dire Straits (“Tunnel of Love“), DragonForce (“Valley of the Damned“), Augustana (“Boston“), Blues Traveler (“Hook“), The Village People and Pet Shop Boys (“Go West“), Catch 22 and Streetlight Manifesto (“On & On & On”), Goldie Lookin’ Chain (“Your Missus Is A Nutter”), Lionel Richie (“Say You, Say Me“), Scatman John (“Scatman’s World“), LM.C (“Boys & Girls”), Delerium (“Paris”), Natalie Imbruglia (“Torn“), Bob James (“In the Garden”), Oasis (“Don’t Look Back in Anger“), U2 (“With or Without You“), Bee Gees (“Spicks and Specks“), Kylie Minogue (“I Should Be So Lucky“), McFly (“Memory Lane“) and Phillip Morris (“Level 2” from The Adventures of Lomax game), Puff the Magic Dragon, as well as others. The Pixies (“{Gigantic”) runs a very similar chord progression(I V vi iii IV V vi).

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