Singer-Songwriter - Recording Studio

Opting for a Refrain Instead of a Chorus

In common usage within the pop genres, a refrain is a closing line at the end of a verse, usually used in place of a chorus. A classic example is Bob Dylan’s “The Times They Are a-Changin’”. “Chord Progression Formulas” shows you how to create dozens of great progressions practically instantly by using some powerful […]

Songwriter - Lyricist

What’s Going Wrong With Your Lyrics? Use This Checklist

More songs are valued or rejected over the longterm because of the quality of their lyrics than any other song element. Take a look at practically any “worst of” list, and you’re usually looking at a list of songs where the lyrics are corny, stilted, or otherwise missing the mark. If you like starting songs […]

F.U.N. We Are Young

Breaking Free From the Verse-Chorus Song Format

Most songs consist of several sections, such as verse, chorus, bridge, etc. When we talk about or analyze those various sections, we’re talking about a song’s form. One of the most common forms in popular songwriting genres is the verse-chorus format, with all of its many possible variations. Who knows how many possible problems or […]

The One and Only Reason That People Stop Listening

I remember a university prof years ago asking us fledgling students a question: What is the one thing that all pieces of music ever written have in common? You might think that it’s a pretty easy question. Obviously, all music involves sound, right? No. John Cage’s “4’33” is a work in which the performer (usually […]

The Bee Gees

Chord Progression Transitions Between Song Sections

With most good chord progressions, there is a sense that the progression is making one chord (the tonic) sound like a kind of musical target. As each chord happens, you hear that tonic chord approaching, and when it finally happens it sounds musically satisfying. Example: C  Dm  G  Em  Am  Dm  Gsus4  G7  C (I […]

John Newman - Losing Sleep

Constructing the Bridge Section of Your Song

I’d be in favour of a name other than bridge to describe the optional song section that occurs after the second chorus. Maybe “section 3.” A bridge implies that its main job is to transition from one thing to another newer thing, and to make that a smooth connection. But a song’s bridge most often takes the […]