Flight of the Conchords - Business Time

Getting Silly About Songwriting

Not everything you write is going to have hit potential, and you should be OK with that. It’s not because a song is poorly written; it has more to do with the fact that it pleasantly (and perhaps amusingly) strays a little into left field with regard to lyric, instrumentation or some other aspect of […]

Imogen Heap

Finding Opposites Within Your Songs

There’s an analogy to be found that applies well to songwriting when you look at someone walking: as the right leg moves forward, the left leg moves back. If you haven’t noticed that before, you haven’t been paying attention. 😉 In music, a similar thing happens, though you may have to look a little harder […]

Songwriter improvisation

Can You Have Bad Songwriting Instincts?

When we talk about an instinct, we’re usually referring to something that’s born within us, something for which we have an obvious talent or aptitude. In common usage, we usually take the term even further and say that an instinct is something that we do without thinking. (“A bird flew toward my car as I […]

Jealous musician

Can Jealousy Get You Through a Bout of Writer’s Block?

When you’re experiencing a creative block of some sort, one where writing is causing considerable frustration, a good solution is often to simply step away for a few days and let your creative mind have a bit of a rest. And during that stepping away, it’s good to keep yourself immersed in music. There are […]

Shawn Mendes

The Same Melody From Different Angles

This is something that doesn’t necessarily occur to casual listeners to pop music: the number of times we hear a melody that’s really just the same short 4- or 5-note cell that gets repeated over and over with different chords underneath. Like starting the songwriting process by working out the chords first? There are benefits […]

Guitar - chords - songwriter

Fitting Melodies to Chords, and Vice Versa

Melody notes only sound right if the chords underneath them fit properly. If you’re a chords-first songwriter, you need to say it the other way — chords only sound right if the melody you eventually write fits them. But in any case, good songs are a partnership between melodies and chords, and then they need to […]