Guitar

Can Worrying About Song Structure Kill a Song?

More so than almost any other genre, pop music has a feeling of spontaneity about it. Done well, a pop song, and in particular its performance, makes great use of the musicians’ collective abilities to improvise on the spot. We love when a guitar solo sounds like it’s happening on the spur of the moment, the ideas […]

Sting - Roxanne

The Wandering Nature of Verse Melodies

Take a listen to the following songs, and pay particular attention to the verse melodies: My Little Town (Paul Simon) Don’t Stop Believin’ (Jonathan Cain, Steve Perry, Neal Schon) Roxanne (Sting) Jam (Michael Jackson, René Moore, Bruce Swedien, Teddy Riley) Rumour Has It (Adele, Ryan Tedder) These songs were all hit songs in their own time, and […]

Alan Parsons - Time

Increasing Musical Momentum By Extending a Verse

For songs in a verse-only format, the verse has to act as a complete musical journey. It doesn’t have a chorus to rely on to provide extra musical excitement. In addition to the challenge of making a verse feel complete, verse-only songs run the risk of being overly repetitive. To avoid excessive repetition, many verse-only […]

R.E.M.

How to Make a Good Connection Between Verse and Chorus

Many songwriters will find the chorus to be easier to write than the verse. That’s because a chorus design is typically simpler than that of a verse. In particular: A chorus melody features repetitive hook-like cells that are easy to sing and easy to remember. A chorus chord progression targets the tonic chord (i.e., they’re […]

Stevie Wonder in a Recording Session

Why We Like Songwriting Formulas

It’s probably a product of the age in which we live, but once we’ve invented or created an item, our mind moves quickly to how we can mass produce that item for maximum profit. Songwriting isn’t much different, and that’s probably why songwriters talk a lot about formulas. In songwriting, a formula is a system or procedure […]

Pink - Nate Ruess

3 Ideas for Finishing a Verse That Feels Stuck in the Mud

It’s amazing how much music you can write with so few ideas. Here’s what I mean: A typical song will have a verse and a chorus, with the possibility of some other optional section, like a bridge. Each of those sections are usually constructed on one main idea, with other related ones. So that means […]