#1
I've working on a lot of composition and I've noticed that all of my songs seem to feature an Am chord. I've been working on using diverse chords in my songs, for example I love using certain jazz chords in place of more standard ones, and I try to use walk-ups and such, but everything I do seems to involve a first position Am chord. Is this a problem and if so, how should I remedy it?
#4
No, it's not a problem. It doesn't really mean anything because the same chord can sound different in different contexts. Now, if all of your songs used the same exact chord progression, then maybe you should try something different (unless you have found many different ways of using that same progression and absolutely love it - I mean, people have written plenty of songs based on progressions like 12 bar blues, the "four chord progression", I-IV-V, etc). But there's no point with avoiding a certain chord or a certain voicing of that chord.

Especially if your songs are guitar oriented, I would expect them to use some chords more often than others because people rarely write guitar oriented songs in keys like Bb minor or Ab major. Usually guitar oriented songs work better in "guitar friendly" keys (keys that contain open string notes - A minor is one of those keys, same with E minor, D minor, G major and C major, all of which contain the Am chord).

But yeah, it all depends on the context - the chords that come before and after it and the melody and all that. Those are all things that can make the same chord sound different. There are only 12 different major chords and 12 different minor chords. None of them sound more exotic than the others out of context. Out of context, all minor chords will sound the same and all major chords will sound the same. It doesn't really matter whether you use Am or Ebm chord. Both of those chords can sound the same if they have the same function in the key. Take a generic pop song in the key of A minor and transpose it to Eb minor. The sound didn't change much - it still sounds as generic as it sounded before transposing it, even though you are now using a lot more "exotic" sounding chord names.

Let's say the song uses a basic progression like Am F C G. Transposed to the key of Eb minor it would be Ebm Cb Gb Db. Looks difficult, but the sound of the progression stays the same because the relationships between the chords stay the same. This is why I would suggest learning about chord functions.


Now, if you think that the open Am chord sounds boring, use another voicing for the same chord. Maybe add a 7th or some extensions to it. But just because it looks simple doesn't mean you should change it. Listen to the sound. Do you like it? If yes, don't change it.
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#5
Ask Iron Maiden or Metallica if it's a problem to write every single one of their songs (ok, I exaggerate a bit) in E minor!
So no, I don't think it's a problem unless you find yourself bored with writing songs with the same chords or chord progressions. You can always try writing in some keys which wouldn't normally have an A minor chord.
#6
Metallica made a living in Em and Am but throw a capo on it and use the Am then take it off once you get a progression and now it's in a different key at least. I think raising the key and having vocals can give a different effect than always have the same chord and singing same root note. Try some major chords too! This kind of seems obvious, but just use different chords. Try Bb (A#) chord in a progression since its rarely used.
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