Writing great song lyrics

Lyrics and the Natural Pulse

When lyrics sound like they’re not working, you’ll want to check out the up-and-down of the emotional content. Good lyrics start by being observational and narrative in nature, and then move to being responsive and emotional. And that holds true no matter what genre of music you call your own. Beyond that, the next most […]

Music target

Targeting the Audience or Waving the Flag

There are two kinds of successful marketing strategies in songwriting/performing: you’re either targeting audiences, or you’re waving a big flag. The majority of songwriters (knowingly or unknowingly) target an audience. Targeting simply means trying to figure out what fans are looking for, and then give it to them. You may be the kind of writer, […]

Songwriter - editing music

The Partnership of Musical Elements Within Good Songs

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a blog post about song hooks, and how to diagnose problems you might be having with the hook for your song: “When Your Song’s Hook Isn’t Doing Its Job.” In that article I gave a list of four important characteristics of good hooks. “Hooks and Riffs: How They […]

What Should Happen After a Song Bridge?

In most songs, the bridge will happen after the second chorus. As you’re approaching the end of the bridge, you get two options: do your final chorus repeats and end the song, or do a third verse. What you choose to do will have an affect on what the end of your bridge sounds like, […]

Chord Progressions: Uniqueness is Not All That Necessary (Or Possible)

There are certain progressions — certain combinations of chords — you’re more likely to see in songs written by a 21st century pop songwriter than you might with a Classical musician. But check out these two progressions and try to figure out which one was used by Romantic era composer almost 150 years ago, and […]

Concert audience

Bach and Today’s Songwriters – Not So Far Apart

Tonight I have the thrill of conducting a performance of J.S. Bach’s “St. John Passion,” so I’ve had my head a little out of songwriting world while concentrating on preparing for that performance. I’ve mentioned Bach often on this blog in the past. And mostly because the way Bach composed is not that far off from […]