Nirvana in concert

Shorter Phrases in a Melody Builds Musical Intensity

There’s a lot to a melody that listeners don’t really notice. Most of the time, audiences will be aware of the patterns and shapes formed by a melody going up and down, but beyond that, they’re only slightly aware of a melody’s other important attributes: the range (i.e., the distance between the highest notes and […]

songwriting in isolation

Isolation is a Two-Edged Sword For Songwriters

We’ve all come through an extraordinary time. The pandemic has completely changed the world for those in the music industry, especially for those who count on live audiences in a public venue. If you’re a member of a band, it’s meant that you had to immediately change what you do and how you do it. […]

Singer-songwriter-guitarist

How to Write Song Melodies that Connect With Your Audience

For some songwriters, songwriting seems to be all about writing a great melody. Paul McCartney, Joni Mitchell, Paul Simon, Barry Gibb — these are all songwriters for whom the success of their songs is often easily attributable to the quality of the melodies they write. I mention this, because not all great songs need to […]

Eric Clapton

A Change of Tempo Can Help You Blast Through a Creative Logjam

When you’re dealing with a creative block, you’ve probably discovered that making a big change in your songwriting process can be rewarding, and you’ve likely tried most of them: Speedwriting (stream of consciousness). Composing on a new (or otherwise unfamiliar) instrument. Partnering up with another songwriter. Changing key from major to minor, or vice versa. […]

Classical guitar - songwriting

Chord Progression Suggestions for Song Refrains

A refrain is not a short chorus. It’s better thought of as the end of a long verse. In that respect, since most song refrains will end on the tonic chord (the I-chord of your chosen key), the best chord progressions for a refrain will be ones that drive strongly toward that tonic chord by […]

Student of songwriting

The Many Ways to Improve Your Songwriting Technique

When I was a first year university music student many years ago, I had about 50 classmates. I was planning to be a composition major, but in my classes, there was every possible music discipline represented. Some were training to be singers, others were aspiring teachers, and still others were learning sound recording techniques, music […]