Leonard Cohen

Using Similar Rhythms Throughout a Melody Strengthens a Song

I’m often asked about motifs – how they work in typical songwriting, and if songwriters even need to be aware of them. Unlike a hook, which does its work in the foreground, a motif is a small building-block of music that works mainly in the background. That’s not to say we don’t typically hear motifs — […]

Singer - songwriter at the piano

How to Avoid Getting Locked Into a Predictable Songwriting Style

Every songwriter has a style. If you’re a well-known writer, that style may be part of what makes your new song immediately identifiable to your listeners, even before they hear that you’re the one who’s written it. More often than not, however, a song’s style of performance is what will give the song’s authorship away, not […]

Why Keeping Your Bad Songs Is a Good Idea

Sometimes it’s the case that you’ve written a song, played it for yourself a few times, realized it sounds bad, and your instincts are to trash it and go do something else. The truth is that somewhere between many and most songs start out as something that just doesn’t work. In other words, most songs […]

Major Key Brightness in a Minor Key Verse

It’s a common technique for songwriters to write a verse that sits mainly in a minor key, and then switch to a major key for the chorus. The main reason for this kind of minor-to-major relationship working so well is that it considerably brightens the sound of a song. If you think of the verse […]

Chord Substitutions: Finding a Great Chord

Download “The Essential Secrets of Songwriting” 10-eBook Bundle. Become a top-level songwriter, starting now. And get today’s FREE deal:  a free copy of “Creative Chord Progressions” _________ Every songwriter has their favourite way of starting the songwriting process. For many, it involves sitting at a keyboard, or with a guitar, and working out a chord progression that then […]

A Quick Key Change Extends a Chord Progression’s Life

Download “The Essential Secrets of Songwriting” 6-ebook bundle. Over 390 pages of songwriting instruction, covering every aspect of how great songs are written! _____________ I really do believe that most songwriters worry too much about the possible banality of their chord progressions. It’s OK for a progression to be boring and predictable. In fact, in […]