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 […]

It's Still Rock and Roll to Me

Verse-Bridge-Verse Songs: Getting the Structure Right

The great thing about various possible song designs is that they usually work for any genre. It shouldn’t matter if you’re writing pop, rock, country, folk… the principles that make a formal design (verse-chorus-bridge, for example) work apply to any and all genres. And not just genres… you find them used in practically any era as well. That means that […]

When You Can’t Tell If You’re Hearing a Verse, a Chorus, or Something Else

Constructing songs so that we hear verses, choruses, bridges, and so on, is a good and easy way to ensure that your music incorporates contrast. Even before hearing a particular song, we know that the chorus is likely to be higher in pitch, that the chorus chords will probably be stronger and shorter than the verse, […]

Glen Frey

Writing Multi-Part Verse Melodies

You can define a multi-part verse melody in many ways, but the kind of melody I’m talking about is the kind you might find in a song like Eagles’ “Take It Easy” (Jackson Browne/Glenn Frey), which is a verse-only song where the verse consists of several short phrases joined together to make one complete melody. I’ve been thinking […]

John Newman - Love Me Again

How to Take a Verse Idea and Create a Great Chorus

A lot of the time, the musical ideas you conjure up will be chorus ideas, because it’s often easier to think up short, “hooky” fragments that will serve as a good chorus. They’re the kind of musical ideas that are short, repeatable, singable, and generally fun to perform. But sometimes a musical idea will pop […]