Songwriter - lyrics

New Video: 5 Characteristics of Great Song Lyrics

I’ve just completed and uploaded a new video to my YouTube channel, called “5 Characteristics of Great Song Lyrics.” Please click here to watch. If you take a look at the songs that make it to the “best songs ever” kinds of lists, most of them are there because of the quality of their lyrics, at […]

Guitarist - songwriter

3 Simple Things To Make a Chord Progression More Interesting

If you don’t like a progression you’ve just come up with, the obvious solution, of course, is to toss it and go looking for another one. But there’s actually another option: try one of the following three chord progression treatments. For each of these ideas, you keep the basic progression the same, but you make […]

5 Creative Ways To Use the Minor-iv Modal Mixture Chord

One of the best ways to come up with creative chord progressions is to: make a very simple one as a first step, and then… modify certain chords within that progression. That way, you start with something that works well, and then the slight modifications you make have the potential of creating entirely new moods. […]

Maroon 5 - Sugar

Assessing Your Latest Song Hook: a Checklist

Hooks feature prominently in pop songs because they grab immediate attention. If it’s a chorus hook, it’s not going to be heard until you get to the chorus, but that should happen before the 1-minute mark in most mid-tempo or uptempo songs. Because songs in the pop genres are relatively short, a lot is riding […]

Wet - Kelly Zutrau, Joe Valle

Chord Progressions for Pentatonic Melodies

Back in June I did a post on creating melodies from chord progressions. One method I described was creating melodies based on a pentatonic scale, and I want  to explore that idea a little more in this post. The word pentatonic means “five notes.” If you sit at a keyboard and improvise melodies using only […]

The Fixation on Genre

In the Classical music realm, we tend to look to history as a way of categorizing music. The Baroque era, for instance, is generally identified as that period of time from about 1600 to 1750. We can clearly hear similarities between compositions written during that time: the way the writer uses the instruments, the approach […]