Guitarist on Stage

Some Thoughts on Songwriting and Uniqueness

This morning I retweeted a great article by producer/engineer Bobby Owsinski, “It’s Getting Harder And Harder To Write A Song Without Committing Plagiarism.” The article makes the point that because the judicial system now considers similarity of the basic feel of a song to be considered in a plagiarism case, along with melody and lyrics, […]

Neil Young

Borrowing Ideas From Other Writers’ Songs

John Lennon tells the story that Yoko was playing Moonlight Sonata on the piano and he asked her to play the chords backwards. From that reversed performance he composed his song “Because”, from The Beatles’ “Abbey Road” album. I’ve listened to Moonlight Sonata many times, including listening to it backwards (on YouTube you can find […]

Copyright

When a Chord Progression Might Be Protected by Copyright

If you like starting your songwriting process with chords, you’re usually OK to take pretty much any chord progression you hear in anyone else’s song. That’s because chord progressions, on their own, are not protected by copyright. But having said that, there’s a caution here that you should consider when you do, in fact, use someone else’s […]

Freddie Mercury

How to Move From Stale to Innovative as a Songwriter

If you’re trying to develop an innovative songwriting style, a major impediment is one that’s often unnoticeable: you’re listening only to music from your own genre of choice. So if you’re a country-folk songwriter, and you’re only listening to the latest and greatest country-folk singer-songwriters, it makes developing your own style immensely difficult. Innovation is almost […]

3 Ideas For Starting Lyrics When Ideas Aren’t Happening

No matter what your favourite songwriting process is, all songs start with you getting some sort of musical idea. It might be a fragment of lyric, a catchy chord progression and rhythm, or even just a short bit of melody. Who knows where these ideas come from… often they seem to pop out of thin […]

Christmas guitar chords

Borrowing Chords From Christmas Carols to Create Your Own Song

Melodies and lyrics are protected by copyright, unless they’re old enough to have passed into public domain. But chords? You can usually use chord progressions from already-existing songs, even if that song is newly composed and under copyright protection. Looking for lists of progressions you can use in your own songs? “The Essential Secrets of […]