Peter Gabriel in concert

Trying Too Hard

It’s okay to wish and hope that your songs might become viral successes that the whole world can’t get enough of. And if you really want that, it seems to be a no-brainer that all it takes is some analysis of the world’s top hits, and do whatever it is they’re doing. No matter how […]

Bass player

The Best Way to Use Pedal Point in Your Chord Progressions

Songwriters can be forgiven for looking for new and exciting chord progressions. There’s a fear that if you use a progression that’s been used before, it will sound either boring or overused, and lacking in originality. The truth is that as long as the chords are properly supporting the notes of the melody, even mundane […]

Rush - Spirit of Radio

Comparing Vocal and Instrumental Melodies

In theory, there shouldn’t be a lot of difference between a melody that’s meant to be sung and one that’s meant to be played. Particularly in the pop genres, both kinds of melodies will usually display the following characteristics: The melody will usually move mainly by step (i.e., adjacent notes in a scale) with occasional […]

Guitar

Taking Songwriting Technique to Higher Levels

When you listen to great instrumentalists, no matter what genre, you become aware of something important: underneath all those great musical ideas is a foundation in the basics. If you don’t have a grounding in the basics of technique on your instrument, it’s going to show pretty quickly. Everyone knows this. That’s why, if you’re […]

Musical Energy

Using the Natural Energy of Music in Your Songwriting

When we talk about the energy of music, at least in strictly songwriting terms, we’re talking about the sense of the music being propelled forward. In this sense, I’m not necessarily talking about how powerful, loud or energetic the music sounds or feels; I’m talking about musical momentum. For example, when one section of a […]

Rolling Stones

5 Tips For Turning a Bit of a Song Into a Complete Song

Most songwriters start the songwriting process by improvising on ideas. You may have nothing to start with, and so the purpose of that initial improvisation session is to come up with something catchy. Let’s say that you manage to come up with something short but great, something that might serve as an important fragment of […]