Singer - Songwriter

The Best Song Lyrics Have Emotions That Arrive in Waves

Even if a song is about something emotional (love, deep friendship, death of a loved one, etc.), it doesn’t work so well to have that lyric be deeply emotional all the time. If all the audience hears is heart-wrenching feelings from beginning to end, it starts to dull its own effect. It’s far better to have […]

Piano and guitar - songwriter

How the Chords You Use In Your Songs Create (or Inhibit) Momentum

Forward motion, or momentum, is an important characteristic of songs. Simply put, momentum makes one moment of a song lead naturally — sometimes almost impatiently — to the next moment. If you hear a verse that seems to “beg for” the chorus, that’s an important characteristic of momentum. Audiences aren’t usually thinking in terms of […]

Rush - Freewill

Freewill: When Melody Lines are Bass Lines

Most of the time the bass in a band plays the root of the chord of the moment. In most genres, it is stylistically desirable for the bass to occasionally fill in the spots between strong beats with other notes, and we’re inclined to rate a bassist’s abilities based on how inventive/supportive these between-the-beats figurations […]

Music Theory - Songwriting

Can Music Theory Increase Your Creative Abilities?

There is a decades-old myth in the pop music world that asserts that the more you understand music theory, the more it stunts your creative abilities. Where does the myth come from? I suspect it goes something like this: When a song sounds really good, theorists will pull it apart to try to understand why it […]

Guitarist - songwriter

Fixing Your Songs When You Can’t Identify the Problem

One of the biggest challenges in writing good music is figuring out why the song you’re writing isn’t working. You feel that it started with such promise, but now everything sounds lame. Probably the best thing you can do for a song that isn’t working is the easiest thing: play it for someone. Preferably play […]

The Who

Is Your Song Intro Inviting Your Audience to Keep Listening?

The intro of your song is that one section that’s part songwriting, part production. In other words, for many songs you can take the existing intro away, replace it with some other intro, and the song is still essentially the same. In that sense, a song intro can be decided upon during the production stage […]