Piano and keyboard

The Tonic Note, the Tonic Chord, and the Hook

Writing a good song means creating an enticing musical journey for your listeners. Like most “real” journeys, it involves a place of rest and repose (often the end of a chorus), a journey outward (the verse and optional pre-chorus), and then the journey back home (the main chorus). It might also involve little side trips […]

singer-songwriter

5 Tips for Writing a Verse-Only Song

You can spend a lot of time worrying about how to get a verse and a chorus to work well together, but don’t forget the other option: consider writing a song that doesn’t use a chorus at all. Sometimes the melody for that kind of song will end with a kind of repeating refrain, like […]

Songwriting

The Five Most Important Tips For Writing Powerful Song Lyrics

You might think that the topic of your song is going to be the most important part of writing a good song lyric, but that’s not the case. Most listeners can enjoy a song even if the lyrics are so abstract that they don’t even know what the song is about. Lennon & McCartney’s “I […]

Jack Johnson

One of the Best Reasons to Add a Bridge to Your Song

There’s more to a song hook than meets the ear… a lot more. “Hooks and Riffs: How They Grab Attention, Make Songs Memorable, and Build Your Fan Base” is a vital manual for any serious songwriter. A bridge is an optional section of a song that usually happens either: …after the second chorus in songs […]

Van Halen - Jump

What a Strong Chord Progression Does For Your Chorus

There are many ways to categorize chord progressions, but the best way system for songwriters is to classify them as being either fragile or strong. These two words, fragile and strong, pertain to the key of your song, and specifically refer to whether a progression makes the key very obvious or somewhat ambiguous. Getting melodies […]

Guitar and keyboard

Making Strange Chord Progressions Work a Little Better

The first piece of advice I always give to songwriters who are contemplating using a complex, strange chord progression in their songs is this: Make sure the progression actually works, and isn’t just needlessly convoluted. The best chord progressions — even complex ones — are the ones that stay out of the way and support […]