The majority of modern music is built around a progression of chords. Like most composers, you might feel hesitant about experimenting with a chord sequence that already sounds good (in an attempt to improve it) for fear of messing it up. However, here are some suggestions to make your boring chord progressions more interesting.

As an illustration, I have prepared a short sequence in our SoundBridge: DAW. It includes most elements of a full mix, including a previously made synth chord progression. Let us listen to the synth chord progression in the context of the full mix and then solo.

This is my mix in SoundBridge:DAW before starting to work on the chord progressions

~Full Mix – Original Chord Progression

~Chord Progression 1 – Solo (Original)

Improve Chord Voicing by Spreading the Octaves and Accenting Some Notes

This is a close up screenshot of the original boring chord progression

The first method I will share with you is to make your chord progression less cheesy by spreading the note octaves and adding accented notes. The original chord progression we heard above is set to Fmin, D#maj, G#maj, and C#maj. These triads are among the most basic and sound rather cheesy. So what we can do here is to take the middle notes of each chord and move them up an octave. You will notice that the middle note of the 3rd chord (G#maj) is now way too high compared to other notes. As a result, I will take that note back to its original position.

After that, I would find a note that I could run through the whole pattern without changing. This is obviously the tonic of the key signature that the chords are in. Since this chord progression is in G#maj, I will try to run G#maj through the chord pattern.

This is a close up screenshot of the chord progression 1 with altered voices and added accents

~Chord Progression – Spreading Voices & Adding Accents (Solo)

~Full Mix – Chord Progression – Spreading Voices & Adding Accents 

At this point. I’ll show you how to change the articulation or how the chords are played in the next technique.

Using Syncopation to Make Boring Chord Progressions More Interesting

Firstly, look at the following screenshot and listen to the chord progression. It’s very similar to the one we made in the previous example. 

This is a close up screenshot of the original chord progression 2

~Chord Progression 2 – Solo (Original)

To make this chord progression even more interesting, I will change the articulation of the top notes of each chord. Let us hear how that sounds.

This is a close up screenshot of the chord progression 2 with altered articulation

~Chord Progression 2 – Solo (Changed Articulation)

Finally, let us listen to it in the context of the full mix.

~Full Mix – Chord Progression 2 – Changed Articulation

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