Jimi Hendrix

Chord Ideas for Minor Key Songwriting

If you find that everything you write is in a major key, you’re missing out on an opportunity to create songs that tap into a darker or perhaps edgier side of music, a side that minor key writing offers. It might be that you aren’t sure how to create minor key progressions, and so I’ve […]

Band in rehearsal

Dealing With “To Be Continued” in Songwriting

When I’m watching a drama on network television, I know that I have to deal with constant stoppages in the action. It’s those commercial breaks that pay the bills, and so they’re important. Those commercial breaks probably make TV executives very nervous: it’s during the breaks that I’m most likely to switch stations and try […]

Guitar - altered chords

Creating Quick Mood Swings Using Chord Surprises

One of the reasons many songwriters like the chords-first songwriting process is that chords do a great job of setting up a mood. Once you’ve got the mood, you’ll find that lyrics happen a bit easier, and then many things fall into place: melody, rhythmic feel, tempo, and so on. One way to get even […]

Rob Thomas

Increasing Musical Energy In a Song

It’s a basic principle of good songwriting that musical energy should either stay the same or increase — rarely decrease — as a song progresses. If you listen to the start of Verse 1 end of most songs, and then skip ahead to the final moments, you’ll notice that an energy build has taken place. […]

Imogen Heap

Finding Opposites Within Your Songs

There’s an analogy to be found that applies well to songwriting when you look at someone walking: as the right leg moves forward, the left leg moves back. If you haven’t noticed that before, you haven’t been paying attention. 😉 In music, a similar thing happens, though you may have to look a little harder […]

Songwriter improvisation

Can You Have Bad Songwriting Instincts?

When we talk about an instinct, we’re usually referring to something that’s born within us, something for which we have an obvious talent or aptitude. In common usage, we usually take the term even further and say that an instinct is something that we do without thinking. (“A bird flew toward my car as I […]