Monthly Archives: August 2015

SONGWRITING: “Telescoping” a chord progression

Can’t remember if I wrote about this or not, but this is one of the most simple ways to extend the life of a progression, and help you finish a song faster. It’s called “telescoping.”

All it means is this— if you have a chord progression that’s one chord per bar for your verse, you can use this same chord progression for the chorus, but play each chord every two bars. Or four.

example:

Am / / / – F / / / – C / / / – G / / /  for the verse

becomes

Am / / / – / / / / – F / / / – / / / / – C / / / – / / / / – G / / / – / / / /

It’s easy, and it works. As long as the chorus vocals are entirely different from the verse, most people won’t know you recycled the same progression. It’s been done a million times, from top 40 music to the most obscure, lo-fi indie. How do I know? I study songs all the time, and I can learn chord progressions in seconds (oftentimes without even picking up an instrument).

The term “telescoping” comes from Rikky Rooksby, author of a handful of great songwriting books (I’ve mentioned them in this blog before).

Keep writing, and STAY CREATIVE AS ALWAYS.

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