Songwriter - Guitarists

Learning From Songwriting Mistakes and Successes

Sometimes you’ll find that a song you’ve written will succeed even when it seems to violate some of the basic principles of good songwriting. It might be a melody that just lingers around one or two notes, when our instincts tell us that good melodies should have a nice up-and-down shape. Or it might be […]

Kris Kristofferson

The Power (and Danger) of Quick Changes Within Songs

There’s a concept in music that applies to chord progressions called harmonic rhythm. That term is used to describe how frequently (i.e., how quickly) chords change, especially in relation to how many notes of melody happen between changes. As you know, some songs use progressions where each chord is strummed for a relatively long time before […]

Songwriter - Pianist

The Hummable Melody

I have a theory as to why so many songwriters like to start with chords: it’s because chords give you: a mood; a musical landscape; the start of a musical form. In very short order, you can easily come up with 8 bars of music when you’ve got 3 chords, even if you don’t have […]

Finding the Good Moment in a Song’s Musical Journey

A song is a musical journey. Like any journey, it has a beginning, middle and end. On a literal journey, you’ll visit towns and cities. On a musical journey, those towns and cities are of a different sort: you’ll visit keys, melodies, lyrics, and so on. Bad songs are actually incredibly close to being good […]

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 […]

Singer-Songwriter

Manipulating the Tonic Chord For a More Effective Verse

It’s usually not hard to know that a song we’re listening to has reached the chorus. We’ll notice that the chord progression will get shorter and simpler, and target the tonic chord more. The melody of a chorus is often made up of short, catchy, hooky bits that get repeated over and over, and the […]