Guitar and Notepad - Songwriting schedule

The Long Song, When It Shouldn’t Be

When you’ve got a song that has potential but sounds like it’s got problems, your instincts are to start looking at the separate elements that go together to make that song. You’ll put the magnifying glass on the lyrics, on the chord progressions, the melodies, trying to find out which bit is causing the problem. […]

Carole King

Keeping Your Listeners Excited to Listen For the Full 4-Minute Experience

One of the most powerful and effective aspects of songwriting is creating a sense of expectancy. That term expectancy refers to a song’s ability to make you want to hear what happens next. Without that quality of expectancy, a song would have no ability to keep listeners listening. The best element to look at to see expectancy […]

Piano keyboard

A Bit of Chord Inversion (Slash Chord) Theory

Whenever you play a chord, you’re usually playing it in what’s called root position. This means that the root of the chord (the note represented by its letter name) is going to be the lowest-sounding note — the one that the bass is playing. If you want hundreds of chords to experiment with, “The Essential […]

Songwriter on a new path

Comfort Zone

We humans have an innate tendency to stay within our comfort zone, at least most of us. There are risk-takers out there, but more often than not we like predictability in almost everything we do. There’s nothing wrong with staying within a comfort zone, but if you’re a songwriter, writing the same way — staying […]

Song energy

Song Energy Needs to Move Up and Down

When we think of the term musical energy, we might immediately think of loudness and tempo. But as a songwriter, you need to develop a slightly more sophisticated understanding of how musical energy works, and what it can do to make people want to listen to — and come back to — your songs. If you’re […]

Guitarist - songwriter

The Power of Brainstorming a Complete Song

Songs in the popular genres (Pop, rock, country, etc.) make great use of improvisation as a compositional tool. It’s partly why so many pop songs have multiple writers. With a group of bandmates, you can write very quickly, as long as someone provides that initial musical idea. If that initial idea — a bit of chord, […]