chord progressions

Speedwriting Songs (Turn Off Your Inner Critic)

There’s a lot of value that comes from writing songs quickly. Speedwriting requires you to use your musical instinct as a primary part of your process. And most good songs have a noticeably improvisatory sound, as if the singer and players are sort of making it up as they go along (in the best sense […]

Songwriter outside with guitar

What AI (Might) Mean For Songwriting

How the role of computers in the creative arts has changed! It wasn’t very long ago that using a computer in music practically always meant using it in some aspect of sound synthesis. So you’d use a computer, or computerized device to generate a particular kind of sound. And at those times, a big challenge […]

Microphone in music studio

Reading Lyrics Aloud is an Important First Step to Improving Them

You’d think that it would occur naturally to us to read lyrics aloud as an important part of the song editing process. For practically every other aspect of songs, we test them out by actually performing them for ourselves: we strum chords, improvise melodies by humming or otherwise singing, try different instrument combinations, and so […]

Neil Young

Simplicity in Good Songwriting is a Feature, Not a Bug

If you spend any amount of time listening to today’s pop offerings, you’ll be forgiven for thinking that mainstream pop music is steadily dumbing itself down. Lyrics often fail to inspire, melodies are less than inventive, and chords are usually simple and repetitive. Getting melodies and chords working well together is vital knowledge for any […]


The Strongest Part of Your Song Needs To Be the Chorus

On this blog I’m often pointing out the similarities between what the classical music masters were trying to do, and what today’s good pop songwriters are trying to do. Except for the fact that the instrumentation is usually completely different, it’s the presentation — the musical arrangement and basic beat — that tends to differ. […]

Guitar and paper

Thoughts on How to Start a Song

I can say at the outset that there is no one way to write a song, and certainly no one way to begin the process. Songs are judged by how they sound in their finished form, and if the song’s a great one, how you got there — at least at that point — becomes […]