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The Chord That Changes Everything

Writing music happens in many different ways. Inspiration from your favorite artists, an emotional life experience, and a simple noodling session on guitar are all valid places for a new song to sprout.

As every songwriter knows, however, it’s not always this easy for the music in our heads to reach the real world.

Writer’s block can take many different forms, and is hard to overcome. At times like these, using the asset of music theory is an excellent way to break down the barriers that hold you back from creating new music. There’s a certain sound in the library of chords that can be especially useful in transforming an otherwise bland progression of music.

While the act of inserting this mystery chord is simple, the impact is substantial, so prepare to enter a new sonic landscape with the minor-IV chord. This chord appears in many places throughout music history, including "Devil in Her Heart" by the Beatles, "Creep" by Radiohead and "Sleep Walk" by Santo and Johnny, to name a few.

As you begin to feel where the best spots to place this sound exist, you can experiment with other altered chords that send the listener on a detour from the familiar to a new, exciting unknown.

Tyler Larson is the founder of the guitar-centric website Music is Win. His entertaining guitar-related content receives hundreds of thousands of video views on Facebook per month, and his online guitar courses tout more than 1,500 students with a cumulative 4.7 rating on Udemy. Get in touch with Tyler on Facebook, watch more of his guitar lessons and vlogs on YouTube, and follow him on Twitter and Instagram.