Guitar - altered chords

Tips for Adding Chords to Melodies

If you like any of the melody-first songwriting processes, you know that eventually you need to add chords to that melody. If chord progressions are the part of writing that’s a little out of your comfort zone, here are some tips and ideas that can help : Get a sense of the strong beat-weak beat […]

Songwriting Inspiration

Four Ways to Make a Song More Memorable

A number of years ago Paul McCartney was asked in an interview about writing songs, and particularly, “What if you can’t remember what you came up with in your previous songwriting session?” McCartney’s answer was something like, “Well, John and I thought that if we couldn’t remember it, it probably wasn’t very good in the […]

Neil Young

Neil Young, “Rockin’ In the Free World”: Why It Works

“Rockin’ in the Free World” is one of Neil Young’s most popular songs. It’s number 216 on Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. Every time I ever do a “Why It Works” analysis of a song on this blog, you’ll see me mentioning some aspect of the simplicity of design as a positive feature, […]

Rush

Considering the Note Your Melody Starts On

How much thought do you give to the note you choose to start your song melodies on? It may seem trivial because from that first note you can move in any direction you want, and so it may not feel as though it matters a whole lot, once you’re a few notes in. But I […]

guitarist - songwriter

The Use of Chord Inversions in Pop Songwriting

An inverted chord is one in which the lowest-sounding note of the chord at any given moment is not the root of the chord. Inversions have a subtle way of manipulating the mood that a particular chord conveys, and can be a really great tool for songwriters looking to make their chord choices sound more sophisticated. […]