Songwriting duo

In Songwriting, Does the End Justify the Means?

If, in the end, you get what you want, does it really matter how you got there? If you ask that question in some settings, it’s a loaded one, with intense moral implications: if you were able to get enough money to finally buy that car you’ve always wanted, great. If you got that money […]

Drake in the studio

Writing Longer in a World of Shorter Songs

In today’s pop music world, songs are getting shorter. Back in the ’50s and ’60s, most songs were under three minutes in length. “Lonely Boy“, recorded by Paul Anka in 1959, was 2’30”, and that was typical. Starting in the later ’60s and into the ’70s there was a slow increase in the length of […]

songwriting technique

The 5 Best Things You Can Do To Improve Your Songwriting Skills

I don’t know of a single songwriter who doesn’t want to improve on what they’re doing. But how do you do that? And in the songwriting field, what does improvement actually mean? It doesn’t often take much; sometimes improving just one aspect of your songwriting — the lyrics, let’s say — will take an entire song […]

Singer-songwriter

How Important Is Creating the Ending of a Song In Your Songwriting Process?

It used to be that “repeat-and-fade” was the most common way to end a pop song. There was something nice about it — a sense of “riding off into the sunset” that had the effect of making you feel that the song was still out there somewhere. These days, repeat-and-fade is a lot less common. […]

Bass player

How a Bass Pedal Point Strengthens a Chord Progression

A bass pedal point refers to a situation where you keep the same note in the bass (or left hand of a keyboard instrument) regardless of the chords that are playing above it. Pedal point can make an otherwise boring progression sound much more interesting because when the bass stays the same it will clash […]

Songwriter - Guitarist

Fine-Tuning Your Songwriting

I’m a trumpet player, though these days I do more writing and conducting than trumpet playing. Back when I was starting out, I was in final rehearsals for a one-off orchestra I had been hired to play in. I noticed that the principal trumpeter had a small ring of brass — sort of doughnut-shaped –that […]