Keyboardist songwriter

Don’t Over-Analyze Your Own Good Songs

Sometimes a song will work even though it seems to go against established norms for songwriting. We know, for example, that the vast majority of song choruses are higher in pitch than the verse that comes before it. So much so, in fact, that it amounts to a kind of principle of songwriting. But there […]

Band Improvising

Overcoming Songwriting Paralysis: Improvising Your Way Through the Tough Times

Every songwriter experiences “feeling stuck”. You get a good idea for a new song, but then you just don’t know where it should go from there. There is an expression — and you hear it a lot in the creative arts — that applies here: paralysis by analysis (or analysis paralysis). If you like starting songs by […]

Student of songwriting

On Being a Student of Songwriting

When I go to the grocery store, I’m occasionally aware that at least 95% of everything the store offers are not items I’d ever buy. The same goes for my local (excellent) magazine store. I walk past the 95% of the magazines that pertain to wrestling, Lego, hair style, knitting, etc., and go to the […]

Taking the Time Component Out of Your Song

Time is the one thing all music has in common. Whether we’re talking about a symphony, a pop song, a jazz ballad — whether it’s hip hop, ska, r&b — all music takes time. A start, a middle, and an ending. When we’re writing a song, we’re (either consciously or subconsciously) always considering some aspect […]

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 […]

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 […]