Using Deceptive Cadences to Make Chord Progressions More Interesting

I mentioned cadences in my last post. A cadence is the end of a musical phrase — the end of a line of music or lyric. Sometimes that cadence sounds temporary, when the lyric sounds like the a pause in the middle of a sentence (at a comma), and sometimes much more final, like the […]

Singer - Songwriter

When Your Newest Song Sounds Like the One You Wrote Last Week

It’s tricky, writing music that pleases your target audience. They want every song to sound unique and fresh. But at the same time, they want to hear the kind of music that attracted them to you in the first place. So you try to write something that goes in a refreshingly new direction, and they give […]

Guitarist - songwriter

Writing Songs that Keep People Listening to the End

Good moments in music are good because they make us believe that even better moments are coming, and so we want to keep listening. The inverse of that is true as well: bad moments in music make us believe that nothing better is coming, and so we give up listening and click to hear something […]

8 Tips to Guide Your Search for Chord Substitutions

If you’re bored with the chord progression you’ve come up with for your latest song, you’ll naturally want to spend some time looking for chord substitutions that sound more interesting. But if you find that choosing new chords is a matter of random hunting, you can waste a lot of time. With a few tips, […]

Singer-Songwriter recording

Your Start Influences Your Finish

Here’s an experiment you can try: take your favourite song and play the first 10 or 15 seconds of it, and then listen to the last 10 or 15 seconds and compare. What do you notice? For most songs, you’ll hear a strong similarity between the beginning and the end. Generally, the feel, key, tempo […]

Why Writing From a Title Works So Well

In considering the many ways that songwriters start the songwriting process, working from a title is, in my opinion, one of the best. The reason comes down to one word: focus. To tell you more about what I mean, consider one of the other common ways to get the process started: working from a chord progression. […]