How to Write Songs Using the 7 Modes and Modal Interchange / Borrowed Chords

If you’re tired of using the same chords in your songwriting, checkout the Song Science series – on sale for a limited time:
► Song Science #1: How Pros Use 6 Chords to Write Hit Songs – Extended Edition:
► Song Science #2: The Complete Songwriting Chord Guide – Extended Edition:
► Song Science #3: How to Build Contemporary Song Forms – Extended Edition:
► Song Science #4: Mastering Modulation in Your Songwriting – Extended Edition:
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In this video, I breakdown 7 modes (Lydian, Ionian, Mixolydian, Dorian, Aeolian, Phrygian, Locrian), show you how to write songs in the 7 modes, and show you how to write songs using Modal Interchange or Borrowed Chords.

I show you song examples of modal songwriting and modal interchange. One is Boulevard of Broken Dreams by Green Day, the other is Jar of Hearts by Christina Perri.


Note: v- on the chart means minor V. Wrote the minus because capital V and lowercase v look similar, so wanted to make it clear it was a minor V.

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Are you a songwriter? Here’s some essential songwriting books on the lyric side of things:

Songwriters on Songwriting – Paul Zollo

Writing Better Lyrics – Pat Pattision

Songwriting Without Boundaries – Pat Pattison

A Dictionary of American Idioms – Adam Makkai

Scholastic Dictionary of Idioms – Marvin Terban