Smashing Pumpkins

Finishing a Song You Thought Was Finished

If you like starting songs by working with a chord progression, you need to read “Writing a Song From a Chord Progression.” It will give you the pros and cons of this songwriting method, and help you create songs that really work! There’s a benefit that comes from being the sole songwriter on a project: […]

Bruce Springsteen

Giving Your Songs a Good Sense of Progression

When we talk about progressions, the automatic assumption is that we’re talking about chords. But the reality is that in good songs, practically everything progresses. The reason for the assumption that we’re talking about chords is that they will quickly sound disorganized and confusing if we don’t pick up that all-important aspect of progression. Simply having […]

Pumped Up Audience

Building an Audience For Complex, Innovative Songs

If you like writing songs that are on the cutting edge — innovative, creative and complex — you already know that there’s a problem to solve: building an audience for your music. It can sometimes help to look at other singer-songwriters and bands that have solved this issue. For most, though, the solution was to […]

Paul McCartney - John Lennon

The Differences Between Lennon’s and McCartney’s Melodies

Generalizing any aspect of a songwriter’s output is straying into dangerous territory. That’s particularly true of the music of Lennon and McCartney. They were arguably the most versatile writers of pop song of their generation, and probably even now. As soon as they wrote a hit, it was back to the drawing board to come […]

Paul McCartney

When the Verse Melody Becomes the Bridge

Here’s something interesting: the melody that Paul McCartney uses as his verse melody for “You Never Give Me Your Money” (“Abbey Road” album) serves, for all intents and purposes, as a bridge melody for “Carry That Weight.” True, the fact is that its appearance as a bridge melody is overshadowed by the fact that its main […]

Songwriter-Guitarist tuning

Deciding If Your Song Needs a Bridge (Middle-8)

A bridge is the section of a song that typically comes after the second chorus in verse-chorus songs. In verse-only songs, like “I Should Have Known Better” (Lennon & McCartney), the bridge will usually come after the second verse. For many songwriters, the question of whether or not to use a bridge (or any other […]