Steve Hackett - Genesis

How to Use an Inverted Pedal Point

Back on January 11, I wrote a blog post demonstrating how a bass pedal point works. In its simplest terms, it means keeping the same bass note while the chords above it change, regardless of whether that bass note is actually a member of the chord or not. I thought I’d mention its close relation, […]

Jim Morrison - The Doors

Odd Song Intros: “Light My Fire”

For most songs, an intro serves at least three purposes: Establish the key of the verse (or sometimes the chorus, if that’s different). Establish the tempo and rhythmic feel. Establish the mood. Almost any song in the pop genres that you can name will do those three things. But occasionally you’ll come across songs that […]

Yes - the band

Songwriting Within Your Means

If you have a notebook (literal or virtual) full of half-written songs, and can’t seem to finish anything you start, you can at least take comfort in knowing that most songwriters start far more songs than they finish. The problem with an unfinished song is that it looks for all the world like a failure, when […]

Guitar - chord choices for songs

5 Chord Progression Ideas For Verse-Chorus Songs

Most of the time, a song will begin and end in the same key, keeping that key throughout its entire length. If that sounds boring to you, it isn’t. At least not necessarily. Listeners are more likely to focus in on melodies and lyrics than anything else, and so it is completely fine to stay […]

Bruce Springsteen

Deciding On Verse 1

Many songwriters find chorus hooks easier to write than verses. That’s because you can tell right away if a hook is working. It needs to be short, catchy, strong and simple. But verses are more complex structures within a song. It’s sometimes hard to get the lyric just right. You know that it needs to […]

Guitar and Notepad - Songwriting schedule

The Long Song, When It Shouldn’t Be

When you’ve got a song that has potential but sounds like it’s got problems, your instincts are to start looking at the separate elements that go together to make that song. You’ll put the magnifying glass on the lyrics, on the chord progressions, the melodies, trying to find out which bit is causing the problem. […]