Tip #90 – Carousel-ing Harmonic Progressions

Sometimes, it seems that popular music stays with the same chord progression and all the radio-hits are born the same way. Times, you may feel like your harmonic progressions falls into the “norm” category.

One way to break free as well as find something new and exciting is to treat your progression like a carousel.

When looking at a carousel, you see the painted ponies chasing each other in a circle. But which pony is the first? Who is ahead of this race.

Point being taken here: nothing in a cyclical pattern can be defined as being “first” or “last,” so everything can be adjusted in framework to appear as first of last.

Now, let’s take this into practice. Take this common repeated progression below:

So, like the painted ponies on a carousel, let’s imagine that a different church of the cyclical progression is really the start. We would get possibilities from the original like this:

Out of one common chord progression, we have just created three new ones to experiment with and see how they can work with your song. Play around and see what else you can come up with!


Thank you so much for taking the time to read! Feel free to comment, share, and subscribe for more daily tips below! Till next time.

Author: Bryan M. Waring

Bryan Waring is a graduate of USM's School of Music with a B.M. in Performance – Composition and is now attending Belmont University for a M.M. in Commercial Media – Composition & Arranging. During his time at USM, he studied violin with Dino Liva and composition with Dr. Daniel Sonenberg, as well as has premiered several pieces during the semiannual Composer's Ensemble concert series. In 2017, Bryan was a writer for the original musical theater work of "Molded By The Flow," directed by Paul Dresher and Rinde Eckert. Outside of school, Bryan has been involved with writing music for videogame developers at Portland's CI2 Lab, collaborating with the King Tide Party, and studying with Larry Groupé (Straw Dogs) in San Diego. Now living in Nashville. Along with composing, Bryan teaches music to children, receiving the Master Teacher Award for his work at ESF Camps; and does audio engineering for live ensembles. Besides talents in music, Bryan is a team-player in any competitive work environment; equipped with skills in leadership, organization, mathematics, creativity, communication, and managing. On the side, Bryan has worked as a model for several skilled artists in the New England area. Among his other accomplishments include obtaining the rank of Eagle Scout in April 2013 with a project of building a side parking area with guide rails for Webb Mountain Park in Monroe, CT.

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