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Songwriting Challenge #1 - 4 Chords

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Write a song using only four chords.



  1. Choose any four chords, but they must be the same four chords throughout the entire song.
  2. Write lyrics that convey a clear and meaningful message.
  3. Make sure your melody is interesting and engaging.
  4. Your song must be at least two minutes long.
  5. You can use any genre or style of music you like.



  1. Experiment with different chord progressions to find the one that works best for your song.
  2. Use a variety of vocal techniques, such as harmonies and falsetto, to add depth to your melody.
  3. Consider using repetition in your lyrics or melody to create a memorable hook.
  4. Don't be afraid to rewrite and refine your lyrics until you're happy with the final result.
  5. Try to convey an emotion or tell a story in your lyrics to connect with your audience.


Good luck and happy songwriting!

  • Like 2
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Absolutely Billy. :)

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  • 5 months later...

A pity this challenge never went anywhere. It’s still open for any who want to try it.


I will say that the challenge here is in coming up with a range of engaging melodies that use a variety of lyrical meters, rhythms and cadences over the same 4 chords. It really is a test of your versatility and ability in these areas.

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  • Noob

I have the same question.

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  • Noob

Is there a way to know if this is current? I don't see a date or an announcement that it has ended. Perhaps this is announced in a different place. Being new I'm not familiar with what's what . . . can anyone help me?


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Hi @RogerL, @chebowitz


Members have previously uploaded songs to Soundcloud or Youtube and kept the track as unlisted. They then embed their song in a reply just by pasting in the song url (a player is automatically generated).


Members can also upload attachments, though we are not a music hosting site, and it is currently limited according to member level. That said we are about to get a server upgrade that will see some changes to things like music hosting. If you currently don’t see mp3 as an attachment type in the post reply window, underneath “Drag files here to attach…” let me know and I’ll look into the availability of direct uploads. Personally, I use YouTube for demos and experiments, shorts and challenges as they give good control and they integrate well with our forums.


Until we launch our member subscription option we are funded by member donations and a low level Ad presence. We just can’t compete with the level of servers that YouTube can provide. That’s their core business.


I hope this helps.





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  • Noob

Thanks John, I'm having recording issues at the moment but hopefully I will get it resolved soon. When it comes to some of the computer stuff I'm dumber than a box of rocks

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39 minutes ago, RogerL said:

Thanks John, I'm having recording issues at the moment but hopefully I will get it resolved soon. When it comes to some of the computer stuff I'm dumber than a box of rocks


Once upon a time I was that box of rocks!

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  • Noob

Hey.  Just found the challenge section on here and it prompted me to put something together.  I did break one of the rules as I don't sing or write lyrics but I still put together a song using variations of 4 chords: Cm Ab Gm Fm.







  • Like 1
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Very good @NeonLasagna. Although electronica, it has elements that give it a prog rock feel. You keep a good sense of movement with distinct flavors as you progress through.


What would you intend for your track now? Will it be formally released, or otherwise added to your publicly released tracks? Will you keep it more as a personal exploration/project?

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  • Noob

Hey John.  Thanks for the feedback.  I appreciate it.  


Those are all excellent questions.  Making music has always been a hobby for me and I have traditionally never been one to actually put any of it out into the world.  As for this song, I don't really have any intentions for it.  I literally made it in a few hours last night and will most likely just move on to the next project.  As with all my music, I have never formally released or tried to monetize any of the things I have done and will probably continue in that vein (being as how I really just don't know how to go about any of that).  For now, I just like making stuff and seeing what comes out the other end.  I really like the idea of these challenges and will probably go scouring the boards for more of them.  

Edited by NeonLasagna
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In reality I think there are a spectrum of different things to do with your music from:

  1. park on a shelf at one end through use them for discussion purposes and interacting with other musicians about your music
  2. through posting them onto a public Soundcloud account (or similar) with no announcements
  3. through a formal-ish release process (an as-if release) onto Soundcloud or similar as free downloads
  4. through to a full on unsigned independent release to commercial-only platforms
  5. and on

Do what suits you. Though number 3 gives you a load of options as it is the first that realistically allows you to grow your fans base.


Challenges wise I’ll try and post a new one later today or tomorrow. If you are likely to participate regularly that motivates me to post more challenges!

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Interesting piece. Glad I got the chance to listen.

  • Like 1
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