Songwriter’s Inspiration – Chord Progression Generation

icon256Find yourself using the same chord progressions over and over? Are you unsure what chords sound good together? Do you feel like you’ve mastered C and G Major, but are at a loss with what chords to use in B flat minor, let alone F sharp Mixolydian?

That’s exactly the problem that I was having, and this is an attempt to fix that.

The following scales/modes are covered (Major, Minor, Harmonic Minor, Dorian, Phrygian,Lydian, Mixolydian,Locrian) for all keys. The more standard key signatures are used (C sharp instead of D flat, B flat instead of A sharp, etc.)

First select a scale. Then select the number of chords that you want in your progression. Finally, select the type of ending that you want (end on the Tonic, a Dominant to Tonic, Subdominant to Tonic, just the Dominant, or any chord.) Click the generate progression button and the progression is printed to the screen. Chords are randomly generated to create a progression. But not any random chords, randomly only from the chords that should sound good next in the progression. If you’re unhappy with the progression, just click Generate again to create a new one!!!

Click the Play Progression button to hear what the progression sounds like.

The Roman Numeral is shown underneath each chord, to show you how it relates to the key. The Tonic chord is shown in yellow to draw your attention to it. The Dominant chord is in green, and the sub-Dominant in Blue.

There are also options for Guitar or Piano charts.
I designed this to have the window open over my DAW session so that I could play the chords on a soft-synth or guitar as I go through the chords. You can print the screen though so that you can take the progression with you.
The goal isn’t to have this spit out an entire song (although you could try and do that,) but to use it as inspiration to try chords that you wouldn’t normally choose.

For a pop or rock type of song you might want to select a 4 chord progression ending with IV-I for your verses and a different 4 chord progression ending with V-I for your chorus.

You may find blindly following a 32 chord pattern makes for a fun exercise and find just vamping on that leads to something creative. Maybe a few of the chords in the middle of the progression are ideal, which sparks a new idea.

There’s no right or wrong, this is meant to spark creativity, and it’s up to you (the artist) to decide what works for you.

Once you feel comfortable with some of the more common scales, you can then venture into some of the more challenging scales.

Roadmap for future releases –
-More chord variants
-More commonly used progressions