The One-Chord Song – Can It Work?

Can a song be written using just one chord? And why would you want to do such a thing? We like to think of chord progressions as something like a journey that a song takes. You start out with the tonic (key note) chord, wander on to some other chords, before wandering back again. So why […]

How to Shape a Melody So People Will Remember It

A melody needs to have shape and a recognizable contour, or your audience won’t remember it. Recently, someone played a song for me that they had recently composed. My problem was, as I was diagnosing it, I had to keep going back to the recording of it; I couldn’t for the life of me remember that […]

Which Should Come First – Chords or Melody?

It’s probably true that more songwriters come up with a chord progression, in whole or in part, before they come up with the melody that goes along with it. These “chords first” people would probably say that they find it hard or impossible to come up with a good melody unless they’re hearing the chords underneath. […]

Rihanna's "Disturbia" – Why It Works

One of the points that I make over and over again to songwriters is that you really need to listen to the music of successful songwriters if you want to be successful. It’s not enough to hide yourself musically from what’s going on the comercial music world if you want to be part of that […]

Anthem Contest for "Hockey Night in Canada" Closes to Entries on Aug. 31

The CBC has been running a contest to choose new theme music for their “Hockey Night in Canada” television broadcast. To great national criticism, they lost the rights to continue using the famous theme composed by Dorothy Claman that had been in use since the 1960s. To replace this iconic anthem, the CBC has been […]

The Role of Music Theory in Songwriting

From “The Essential Secrets of Songwriting” website:   Most of you know that I have had an internet presence on the web for years as the author of “Gary Ewer’s Easy Music Theory.” And you know that I am a big fan of any and all musicians learning some basic music theory. But maybe not for the reasons that you […]