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 […]

6 Songwriting Tips for Energizing a Chorus

Your song’s chorus is often going to be the most energetic part of your song, with the possible exception of a bridge that might really take things to new levels. But even in songs where the bridge is energetic, you’ll find that the return to the chorus afterward is all the more dynamic and lively. In […]

Guitar - Piano

Songwriting Round-Up: 5 Most Common Mistakes to Avoid

Every now and then I clean up my Inbox and give a quick re-read of the emails I’ve received from songwriters for the past while. Those emails serve as a reminder to me of what issues up-and-coming songwriters are dealing with, and the best way to solve them. Here’s a quick summary, in no particular order, […]

Tony Banks - Genesis

Songs With Almost No Melody

If you’ve ever written an instrumental, you’ve hopefully noticed that the same principles of good composition apply as when writing a song that’s meant to be sung. The way the chords work, the way you shape the melodies, and the general ideas behind production issues — these things stay the same whether you’re writing a […]

What Do You Love About a Good Melody?

Last week I wrote about the similarities between classical and pop music, and what today’s songwriters can learn from the classics. Today I want to look specifically at song melodies, and see to what extent the structure of a pop melody resembles that of a classical work. There is a book that is in great […]

It's Still Rock and Roll to Me

Verse-Bridge-Verse Songs: Getting the Structure Right

The great thing about various possible song designs is that they usually work for any genre. It shouldn’t matter if you’re writing pop, rock, country, folk… the principles that make a formal design (verse-chorus-bridge, for example) work apply to any and all genres. And not just genres… you find them used in practically any era as well. That means that […]