Bruno Mars - Uptown Funk!

Songs Without a Focal Point Will Quickly Fail

If you’re a successful landscape artist or photographer, you know the vital importance of a focal point. That’s the feature that immediately draws the viewer’s eye and establishes the artwork’s main subject. Without a focal point, you’ve got a painting or photo that looks fine but keeps the viewer endlessly searching for purpose. Like staring at […]

Imogen Heap Recording Tital

A Powerful Way To Plan An Entire Song

If you are a fan of the music of J.S. Bach, you might know that he often took the shape of a small melodic fragment, and then planned for the entire piece of music to also adopt that shape. Here’s how that might work. If you listen to the beginning of Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. […]

Passenger - Let Her Go

The Vital Partnership of Verses and Choruses

There’s nothing like the term “song form” to have one’s eyes glaze over. In songwriting, you just want to get going with your writing. And you’ve probably written dozens of songs up to this point without even giving the term “form” a second (or even a first) thought. When we talk about form, we’re talking about […]

Cooking as a Musical Metaphor

It Doesn’t Take Much to Make a Song Uniquely Yours

I’m not much of a cook, but I’ve certainly eaten enough food to know that once you’ve combined all the ingredients of a recipe in a pot on the stove and turn the burner on, new, wonderful flavours emerge. Flavours that you wouldn’t notice when you consider your ingredients separately. If you really love food, you’ll know […]

Momentum and Musical Energy: What the Pre-Chorus Does For a Song

There’s a quick answer to why you’d ever use a pre-chorus in your song: by the time you get to the end of the verse, it feels too soon for the chorus. A pre-chorus is that little optional section that sits in between the verse and chorus. Choruses tend to be more energetic than verses, and […]

Carpentry tools

Songwriting Lessons from the Unlikeliest Sources

I don’t know if you feel the same way, but sometimes I learn the best lessons regarding music by thinking of something completely unmusical. Metaphors speak loudly and meaningfully to me. I like building things out of wood. It’s something I love, even if I’m not doing it at a professional level. But with every […]