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Song Science #1: How Pros Use 6 Chords to Write Hit Songs

Practical songwriting theory for songwriters. Break out of your songwriting habits and develop new chord progressions.
4.7 (208 ratings)
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3,227 students enrolled
Created by RW Studio
Last updated 12/2016
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  • 1 hour on-demand video
  • 1 Article
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
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Songwriting can be a lot of fun when you understand how chords work.

Especially if you've been using the same chords over and over again and want to write something fresh!

In this course, I show you how professional songwriters put together chords when songwriting. There are certain rules they follow. Once you understand the rules you can choose to use or break them.

We'll use real life example to demonstrate how the 6 most used chords in popular music work and work together.

Every lecture builds on the next lecture and is easy to follow. By the end you should be able to take a song concept, and start building chord progressions that make sense.

I you love songwriting and you want to start writing songs outside of your comfort zone, this course is for you.

I hope to see you on the inside!


Who is the target audience?
  • Anyone who loves songwriting and wants to write songs outside their comfort zone
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What Will I Learn?
Create chord progressions that invoke emotion in the listener
Understand how to use melody and chords to create different emotions
See real examples of how professional songwriters use chords in hit songs
View Curriculum
  • Have experience with an instrument to write songs on like piano or guitar
Curriculum For This Course
Expand All 16 Lectures Collapse All 16 Lectures 56:27
Getting Up to Speed! (Skip if You Understand How the 12 Keys Work)
4 Lectures 10:22

In this lecture we'll learn the concept of keys and see how each song can be played in 12 keys.

Preview 01:05

In this lecture we'll learn the 7 scale degrees in a Major Key

Preview 03:33

Learn how we use Roman Numerals in music and understand the 7 diatonic chords.

Preview 03:50
Hanging Out With The Popular Chords
6 Lectures 21:51

Home Sweet Home. Understand the concept and characteristics of the home chord.

Preview 04:01

Learn how to use cadence chords when building your own unique chord progressions.

I Need Some Closure: Understanding the Nature of the IV & V Chords

IV and V Quiz
1 question

Learn when and how to use the vi chord when building your own chord progressions.

It's Okay to be Sad!: How the vi Chord Works into Songs

Create energy and surprise in your song with the vi chord.

How to Use the vi chord to Create Energy and Surprise in Your Song

How to make your chorus pop by strategically using the vi chord.

Taylor Swift Did the Opposite! How to Use the vi to Make Your Chorus Brighter

The most popular chord progression, it's minor twin, and the songs that use them.

The Most Popular Progression and Its Minor Twin Sibling with Examples

vi Quiz
1 question
Outsider Chords: Change Your Songwriting Up!
2 Lectures 10:12

How to use the iii chord when building your chord progressions. Examples of songs that use the iii chord and how songwriters strategically use it.

The Moody Connector: How the iii Chord Works in Popular Songs

iii Quiz
2 questions

How to use the ii chord when building your chord progressions. Examples of songs that use the iii chord and how songwriters strategically use it.

Many Hats: How ii Chord Works in Popular Songs

ii Quiz
1 question
How Melody Effects Your Chord Choices and Paints Your Songs
2 Lectures 11:36

Understanding the fundamental concept of strong and weak stresses and how that effects your songwriting.

Strong and Weak Stresses

Understanding the fundamental concept of stable and unstable notes and how that can color your song different ways. Gain control of the emotions your conveying in the song and learn to paint with unstable and stable notes.

Stable and Unstable Melodies
1 Lecture 01:16
Thank you
1 Lecture 01:12
About the Instructor
4.7 Average rating
943 Reviews
14,126 Students
9 Courses
14,000+ Students, 800+ Reviews, 9 Courses

Hi I'm Rob! A full-time musician and teacher in New York City and Los Angeles. I'm passionate about music and education.

I'm a former music instructor with a Fender Grant winning non-profit. I also teach privately. My students range from signed recording artists and songwriters to working professionals who just love music.

I'm a Premium Udemy Instructor and have been teaching since 2015.  I have 13,000+ students and 800+ reviews, across 9 courses.  I currently have a 4.7 average rating, much higher than the average instructor rating.  I work with other teachers to help improve their teaching skills.

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