Using Observation to Write Better Song Melodies

Melodies and lyrics are the two components of any song that must be unique. Song titles, chord progressions, rhythms… they can all have been heard before, and probably have. But melodies, if they share more than a few notes in a row with some other song, are said to have been plagiarized. Because every melody needs to […]

Computer - Music Studio

The Similarities Between a Building’s Structure and a Song’s Structure

What exactly is song structure, and how important is it to the success of a song? When we talk about structure with regard to, let’s say, a house you’re building, we can generate a good number of analogies, all of which, it could be argued, apply metaphorically to songwriting: A house has walls, beams and other […]

Songwriting - Songwriter - Formulas

Is a Songwriting Formula Really So Bad?

If you’re a mathematician or physicist, formulas play a large role in your professional life. Formulas in that context are simply a kind of equation, and without them you don’t really have a profession. Songwriters know the word formula very well. In a songwriting context, “formula” is a word that describes a process, or perhaps set […]

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, […]