Guitar - chords - songwriter

What If the Chords I Choose Are the Same As Another Song’s Chords?

Most songwriters know that melodies and lyrics are the two major components of songs that you can’t take from another copyright-protected song to use in your own. The original writer of the melodies and lyrics own the copyright — even if they never registered that copyright — unless that copyright has expired. Songwriters are very […]

Musical inspiration

Inspiration is Part of a Musical “Machine”

Some songwriters can’t compose unless they feel inspired to do so. That word inspired refers to a kind of excitement that drives our creative process and motivates us to write. You might think of the word in its less metaphorical form: to inspire, meaning to breathe in. It’s like saying that the excitement to write comes […]

Stevie Wonder

Songwriting 101: Hooking a Listener

While it’s most certainly true that a good song is a musical journey, it needs to be more than a mere journey if you hope that people will return to your song to listen again. For most songs in the pop genres which are typically under four minutes in length these days, the hook plays […]

Pet Shop Boys

Making Your Songs More Energetic

In my most recent blog post, I wrote about forward motion, also called momentum, and how tension and release is a vital way for increasing that momentum within a song. But what if the tension and release aspect of your song is working just fine, but you want the whole thing to sound a bit […]

Forward motion in music

The Forward Motion of Music

If you take a look at a photograph that’s been reversed, or look through your car’s rear view mirror, you’ll probably not see anything that looks weird, unless there’s a road sign or something else with words on it. Most of the time, you can look at things that are “backwards”, and they still make […]

Guitar

The Problem With Practicing Your Songwriting

Everybody knows the old adage “Practice makes perfect.” On the face of it, that makes a lot of sense. I don’t know of any skill that doesn’t get better by practicing. There is a problem with practicing, though, and it applies particularly to songwriting and other activities for which we don’t usually have a teacher: […]