Bob Dylan - 1962

What You Can Do to Make Your Songs More Easily Remembered

It’s a given that in order for a song to be powerful and effective, it needs to be memorable. But what makes a song memorable? As we know, songs are a partnership of many different elements all working together. So it’s difficult to point a finger at one particular component and say that it alone […]

John Legend - Nervous

How Controlling Musical Energy Keeps People Listening

There are some songs, when you compare the start of the song to the end of it, make it obvious what we mean by musical energy. “Stairway to Heaven” is a great example: it starts very quietly, uses subdued acoustic guitar and recorders, with a nostalgic, mid-range vocal approach. The hook is probably the most […]

Chord Progression Formulas

Rethinking Your First Songwriting Ideas

In the songwriting world — and I wonder if this is the same in all of the creative arts? — we place more value on songs that pop spontaneously into our minds than we do on songs that we had to work for weeks to get right. In other words, if you compare two of […]

Music of the future

The Songs of the Future — What Will They Sound Like?

I had a professor once who, while commenting on what the music of the future would sound like, said, “Well, if we knew that, we’d be writing it now.” That’s very likely not true. What’s more likely is something like that scene from “Back to the Future”, when Marty plays “Johnny B. Goode”, which morphs into […]

Tony Orlando and Dawn

What Can Kill a Song’s Staying Power?

Some songs are still with us fifty or more years after they hit the top of the charts (Smokey Robinson’s “The Tears of a Clown“, for example), but other songs, even ones that were big hits when they came out, are rarely heard anymore, not because they aren’t good, but… well, it’s hard to say […]

Songwriting

Is Your Verse Doing What It’s Supposed to Be Doing?

There is a lot of attention paid to song choruses, and for good reason. A chorus is where the catchy bit is either going to do its job and pull in an audience, or it’s not. So there’s a lot riding on the success of a chorus. If you’re ready to take your songwriting to […]