Fleetwood Mac - Don't Stop

Song Melodies: Thinking About Your Starting Note

Because good songwriting usually starts with improvising ideas based on your instincts, you may not have given much thought to what note your tunes start on. The chord you choose, in most circumstances anyway, limits your choices to 3 notes: the root, the 3rd or the 5th. Understandably, there’s no rule that governs what the […]

Daniel Merriweather - Adele

Making Melody Your Song’s Most Important Ingredient

Not every song is about the melody. For songs where the melody is kind of a neutral player, you’ll typically find that the rhythmic treatments, (especially background) will step up and take a leading role. In other words, the groove and feel become very important contributors. How you know that a melody is acting as a […]

Blind Willie Johnson - Sinead O'Connor

How Can Studying Old Songs Help Us to Write New Ones?

Does it seem strange to think that you might learn a thing or two about songwriting by studying hits from the past? You might love Buddy Holly’s “That’ll Be the Day” (Jerry Allison, Buddy Holly, Norman Petty), but what if you’re hoping to write the next big pop song hit? What does “That’ll Be the […]

Is Motivation Different From Inspiration?

I wonder if someone has ever asked you where you find your motivation for songwriting. And if so, I wonder if you would give a different answer if they asked you to describe where you find your inspiration? Inspiration is a favourite word for people in the creative arts. By inspiration, most artists mean the initial “spark” that causes […]

Songwriting with guitar

Songwriting, and the Inspiration That Develops as You Write

If you’ve read this blog for any time at all, you know that I believe that inspiration gets a lot of credit for starting the songwriting process, when in fact that kind of inspiration — the “ooh, that’s a good idea!” kind — is fleeting and rarely results in a solid songwriting process. There’s another kind of […]

Guitar - Songwriting

Determining the Key of Weird Chord Progressions

Take a look at the following two progressions. The first one comes from the verse of John Legend’s “All of Me” (John Stephens, Toby Gad), and the second one comes from the verse of “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” (Elton John, Bernie Taupin): 1. All of Me: Fm  Db  Ab  Eb 2. Goodbye Yellow Brick Road: […]