Songwriters are very familiar with the chorus hook, but there are other kinds to experiment with, and you will want to discover the power of layering various kinds of hooks in the same song. “Hooks and Riffs: How They Grab Attention, Make Songs Memorable, and Build Your Fan Base” shows you how it’s done.
One of the best ways to increase your songwriting output is to write two — or even more — songs at the same time.
You might think that splitting your attention between two different songs would cause problems, where the ideas of one song get unwittingly transported over to the other, but as long as both songs are very different kinds of songs, it doesn’t really happen very often.
Here are some important tips for keeping the two songs separate and distinct from each other:
- It helps if the songs are in different keys. And ideally, it helps if one is primarily in major while the other is in a minor key.
- Put the melody for each song in a different range. Because musical energy comes in large part from the energy we hear in the vocal line, you’ll find that by keeping the melody higher in one of the songs means that you’ll get an entirely different mood from the melody, and that definitely helps to keep things distinct and separate.
- Make sure both songs use a different tempo. Melodic ideas for slow songs tend to be very different when compared to melody ideas for faster songs. Slower songs usually make more use of stepwise motion (“Let It Be” — Lennon & McCartney, for example), while faster songs make more use of repeating patterns (“Bad” — Michael Jackson).
- Try to work out a different instrumental backing for each song. If both songs start with a similar strumming pattern on the guitar, it will be tricky to keep the musical ideas separate.
- Experiment with differing song forms. The form of a song is where we can get a little bit rigid; you might find yourself always favouring a verse-chorus-instrumental solo kind of form in your songwriting. So give each song in its own distinctive structural design: verse-refrain, or start one with the chorus, for example.
One of the main benefits to writing two or more songs at the same time is that when you temporarily run out of ideas for one song, you’ve still got the other song you can switch to, and so writer’s block tends to become less of a problem.
So keeping multiple songs on the go has a way of making you feel more productive, and in the end you’ve got more songs to add to your playlist when performing.
“The Essential Secrets of Songwriting” eBook bundle includes“Writing a Song From a Chord Progression”. Discover the secrets of making the chords-first songwriting process work for you.