Give Writer’s Block the Finger! (Modes & Chord Progressions) | Hack Music Theory

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Hack Music Theory is exploding on YouTube (thank you!), and to celebrate, we’re launching what’s arguably our most helpful video series yet. Watch this if you want to eliminate the debilitating problem of Writer’s Block forever. But first… tea!

1:24 What is Writer’s Block?
3:25 STEP 1: Chords
4:10 White-Note Hack
6:28 STEP 2: Emotions
11:50 Root Chord Explained
14:10 STEP 3: Chord Progression
22:38 STEP 4: Making Chords Flow
27:15 STEP 5: Rhythm
36:21 Piano Example
37:09 Final Example

►Online Apprenticeship:


►Hack Music Theory, Part 1:

►Hack Music Theory for Songwriting & Producing PDF:


►How to Make a Chord Progression Flow Like a Pro:

►How to Make a Chord Change Flow When There Is No Common Note:

What is the HACK MUSIC THEORY show?
Hello, we’re Kate Harmony and Ray Harmony, and together we are Revolution Harmony. If you’re new to our channel, welcome, and please allow us to introduce ourselves. We’re music producers based in beautiful Vancouver, Canada, and we’re also the founders of Hack Music Theory, the pioneering notation-free method for making great music. Every Monday, you’ll find us here on YouTube sharing our top secret music theory hacks, which are designed to transform you into a super confident music maker whose songs will stand out on those Spotify playlists. So, whether you’re a beginner or a professional, a songwriter or a producer, an instrumentalist or a DAW musician, our music theory hacks will have you writing great songs in no time!

Ray is an award-winning music lecturer and the author of the critically-acclaimed book series, Hack Music Theory. After decades of teaching ‘popular’ and ‘classical’ music theory, Ray created a unique crossover method for songwriting, which we call Hack Music Theory. We use this method to write all our music. Ray’s songs have even featured Serj Tankian (System of a Down), Tom Morello (Rage Against the Machine), Kool Keith, and many more.

►Download free music by Ray:

►Follow Ray on Spotify:

Music by Revolution Harmony
(c) 2017 Revolution Harmony


Chun Maya says:

This video made me buy all your PDF's. I've been struggling with being able to express true intent in my songs and this video just showed up fixed that. Hands down you are the best music teacher around. You have a gift for explaining music theory in a very logical and easy to understand way – the benchmark of a great teacher. Thanks!

Daniel Ivan says:

I'm a short person. (That was a bad joke) rofl.
Exactly what I needed ,long live the obsessive tea drinker!

Robin Curpenen says:

Few artist share their secrets to songwriting. Fewer even response to comments on their channel. You, Ray/Kate Harmony, are genuinely awesome and talented. Continue spreading the Hacks and I'm a big fan of your commitment to great songs and knowledge sharing.

lh says:

These videos are really useful. I like how you go through things in an order you'd be likely to actually come to them when writing. I'm glad I disregarded the meme thumbnails. Thanks!

Nervilis says:

Your videos are incredible, my process got sped up incredibly thanks to them and your pdfs. Thank you guys!

gepiglio says:

Absolutely thanks for such inspiring and helpful material. I will buy your book asap!

Zezozose says:

What a wonderful wealth of information. Thank you.

palaisdrew09 says:

This absolutely fucking outstanding. Really broke it down for you and gave you a source of direction. Polite as fuck too. Great job.

SW15H says:

Awesome tutorial (as usual) I love the enthusiasm and energy. I was just wondering. The B Chord is diminished. (I'm guessing it's because the third note is only three semi-tones above the second note) but could you use a G instead of the F ? And would that be called B augmented.

avedic says:

Shit…..just discovered your guys channel. I love it.
I'm just scrolling thru all the videos you have so far, and can tell this is a channel going places. Both of you have perfect screen presence and personalities to get this stuff across to people. I've gotten SO much better at writing music than I ever could have imagined, say 10 years ago……but I still have much to explore and soak up, and I try to learn from everyone and everything. And you guys are definitely going to be a muse of mine going forward. Already subscribed….keep up the excellent content!

gazebodude42 says:

Hi, great video! I often have trouble getting the initial ideas down. This has some great motivation and hacks for that, thanks!

I have a question though. Say I want to write a song that tells an emotional story. Say I start out happy, then bad stuff happens and I'm depressed, then eventually there's a light at the end of the tunnel. So that would be something like a three part song in ionian, then phrygian, then dorian. Is it best to change keys keeping the notes the same, stay in the same key but change the notes, or change both? And how would you actually do that? Basically I'm asking how to do transitions! Thanks so much!

Gianluca Martena says:

Hey guys, thank you for your super-inspiring videos!
I discovered this channel a couple of weeks ago and I'm literally DEVOURING all of your content (and your pdf's too ;D ).
SO, I like the vibe of the progression you wrote in this video but I TRULY LOVE the instruments you used.
Care to quickly share their names, and/or some interesting "must-have" vst?

leoft13 says:

Absolutely amazing! The way you explain and interact is so light and refreshing. Feels like we`re really having a conversation! Huge thanks for sharing the knowledge, and keep up the good work! You`ve earned a fan and subscriber!

Werner Haider says:

Happy. Sad. Furious. "…we are talking about words." MUSIC IS THE BEST -Frank Zappa

I am writing this as Frank is the man who has kept me going for the past 10 years and will continue doing so for the next millennium. I am working in Vienna as a videojournalist, specialized in politics. Xenoscopy is what Frank told me with his productions, I am working on keeping the flow in the media realm. Inspiration guaranteed 🙂

Helium Road says:

I like how it became a vaporwave song at the end. A E S T H E T I C

Kevin Harris says:

A little bit of knowledge goes such a long way. This is pretty much exactly where I start every time. Sometimes I'll even ditch the chords if I have a strong melodic bass and a good enough lead melody. Still, the original chord progression was the backbone from which the bass and lead were derived, so the feeling is still there.

ricardo carrillo says:

bought your hack music theory book!!! if it's anything like these videos im sure it will be amazing. thanks so much for improving my creative process 🙂

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