How to Avoid Cliche Chord Progressions


Hey there, fellow songwriters! Let’s talk about keeping your music fresh and avoiding those same old chord progressions that everyone’s heard many times before. I get it, those tried and true progressions can be tempting, but relying too much on them can make your music sound stale and lacking in originality. So, here are some tips to help you break free from the cliche chord trap:

Get to Know the Tonic

The tonic is like the “home base” of your song’s key. It’s that note that feels resolved and stable. When you’re choosing chords, pay attention to how they relate to the tonic. You can use chords that complement the tonic to create a sense of stability, or go for chords that contrast it to add some tension and interest.

Surprise Yourself with Unexpected Chords

Don’t be afraid to shake things up and throw in some unexpected chords. Instead of following the same old predictable patterns, try switching to a chord that still fits within the key but adds a surprising twist. It’s like adding a dash of spice to your music and making it stand out from the crowd.

Get Adventurous with Chord Substitutions

Another way to break free from cliche progressions is by substituting chords in unexpected places. For example, swap out the IV chord for the ii chord, or give the vi chord a chance instead of the IV. These substitutions can inject some variety and keep your music interesting.

Steer Clear of Overused Progressions

We all know those chord progressions that have been used over and over again in popular music. They’ve become so cliche that they can make your music sound predictable. Yeah, I’m talking about the I-V-vi-IV progression and the ii-V-I progression. Now, don’t get me wrong, these progressions can still work if you use them sparingly and put your own creative spin on them. Just don’t rely on them too heavily.

Flip It with Inversions

Inversions are like rearranging the notes of a chord to create a different vibe. It’s a sneaky way to add some variety to your progressions without straying too far from the song’s key. So go ahead and give those inversions a try!

Breaking free from cliche chord progressions might seem like a challenge, it’s worth it. With a little creativity and experimentation, you can create unique and captivating progressions that keep your music fresh and exciting. So, stay open-minded, explore new chords, and who knows, you might stumble upon your new favorite progression without even realizing it. Keep those creative juices flowing, my fellow songwriters, and let’s make some music that truly stands out!

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