Band rehearsal session

Verses, Choruses, and the Role of the Tonic Chord

The key of your song is usually determined by the key of your chorus. Your song’s verse might be in A minor, but it’s quite common for the key to then switch to C major for the chorus, and that’s usually what we think of as the song’s main key. When you put the magnifying […]

Frustrated Songwriter

Not Every Song Works

You can spend a lot of time trying to get your next song working, but sometimes you have to stop and wonder: has the time you’ve put into it been worth it? On the one hand, you could argue that the answer will always be “yes.” I’ve felt that if a song takes you a year […]

Guitarist - songwriter

Writing Songs that Keep People Listening to the End

Good moments in music are good because they make us believe that even better moments are coming, and so we want to keep listening. The inverse of that is true as well: bad moments in music make us believe that nothing better is coming, and so we give up listening and click to hear something […]

Imogen Heap

Grabbing Attention In Pop Songwriting

When songs are boring to audiences, don’t expect them to be able to say exactly why they’re bored. Most people can say what they like about a good song, but are less able to say specifically what isn’t working about a bad one. When a song sounds boring, it simply means that little or nothing […]

Songwriting and emotion

Songwriting, Emotion and Relevance

Good songs are efficient communication devices. But not particularly of facts and figures: if you want to educate your audience about the history of your town, for example, a song is a poor choice for doing so. Unless your song lyric is 80,000 words long, a book will more efficiently convey facts and figures. But […]