Believe it or not there are actually examples of 1 chord songs. Yes, just 1 chord but they are pretty rare and I wouldn’t advise trying to write one. ‘Exodus’ by Bob Marley is effectively just 1 chord.
Two chord songs are more common. Examples of a two chord songs would be ‘Dance the night away’ by The Mavericks or ‘Sex Machine’ by James Brown. I use several techniques to add interest to a song. Here are a few ideas you could try:
- Put more attention into the melody or lyric by maybe telling a story
- Vary the tempo
- Change the order of the chords from verse to chorus
- Change the bass note to imply a chord change, for example add an open ‘E’ string to a ‘C’ bar chord…More>>
- Use chord inversions(see chord chart below) to make the chords sound varied
- Add a catchy riff over the top of a chord to bring the song into a verse or chorus