Using Deceptive Cadences to Make Chord Progressions More Interesting

I mentioned cadences in my last post. A cadence is the end of a musical phrase — the end of a line of music or lyric. Sometimes that cadence sounds temporary, when the lyric sounds like the a pause in the middle of a sentence (at a comma), and sometimes much more final, like the […]

Reinventing the Wheel

As innovative as The Beatles were, there wasn’t much new in their collective songwriting style. They brought ideas to pop music that had been around for years in other genres, and of course, they did it stunningly well. Their compositional technique gave us some real beauties, but much of what they did had been happening […]

Rock Concert audience

Becoming More Noticeable in the Songwriting World

There are many reasons why people write songs, but almost all writers of music get into it for the same reason: as a means of personal expression. Some eventually enter the professional world, while others remain happily amateur, writing mainly for themselves, family and friends. Regardless of the eventual direction, composing songs requires the songwriter […]

Musical tightrope

Leaning Without Losing Your Footing

Songwriting in the pop genres is, for the best songwriters out there, like walking a tightrope. Lean too much one way, and you’re giving your audiences exactly what they expected from you. No challenge, no getting them thinking outside whatever musical box they live in. Lean too much the other way, and you’ve given them […]

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 […]

Singer - songwriter at the piano

How to Avoid Getting Locked Into a Predictable Songwriting Style

Every songwriter has a style. If you’re a well-known writer, that style may be part of what makes your new song immediately identifiable to your listeners, even before they hear that you’re the one who’s written it. More often than not, however, a song’s style of performance is what will give the song’s authorship away, not […]