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.


Am / / / РF / / / РC / / / РG / / /  for the verse


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.


About chriscaulder

Posted on August 12, 2015, in chord progressions, songwriting. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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