Elton John

Sometimes Principles Confuse Us

Lately it seems that I’ve been getting a lot of comments, both through email and in the comments section at the ends of various posts, questioning some of the various songwriting principles I write about. Mainly, a comment will go something like this: “You say that chorus progressions are shorter than verse progressions, but I […]

Adele - Someone Like You

Checking and Comparing Verse and Chorus Melody Range

For many songwriters, getting a catchy melody for your song happens as the result of improvising melodic ideas over a chord progression. If that’s your normal process, it’ll usually work well for you. But improvising ideas should always be seen as a first step to getting a final version of a melody that really works. […]

Feist - How Come You Never Go There

The Tricky Nature of Pop Song Analysis

I’m a believer in song analysis as a way of improving songwriting technique. For any writer of music, basic curiosity should make us want to know why something sounds so good, so that we might be able to incorporate at least some of those ideas into our own music. (Or why something sounds so bad, so […]

Songwriting: Improving Your Odds

A typical audience member is better at saying why they like a song than why they don’t. When a listener doesn’t like a song, they don’t take the time to wonder why. They just don’t like it, and that’s all they know. They click to listen to something else, and they’ll do that until they find […]

Songwriting analysis tips

5 Tips For Analyzing Your Own Songs

I’ve been spending a good amount of time in the past couple of days listening to songs for which songwriters have sent me links, asking for my thoughts on various issues and problems they’re having. It’s something I really love doing, when time permits. To me, solving musical issues that come up in a song is tricky because every […]

Sharpen Your Songwriting Chops With “Hello” (Adele)

Songwriters know (or should know) that songs are the best teachers. When you hear something you love, the artist in you instinctively wants to know why you love it. Through that kind of simple musical curiosity, you begin the next stage in your development as a writer. Adele’s “Hello” (co-written with songwriter-producer Greg Kurstin) is a […]