Rock band in concert

A Song Hook’s Rhythm and Melody, and How They Pair Up

Good songs don’t follow rules; it’s more a case of following guidelines. That means that every time you think you’ve identified a songwriting “rule”, you can come up with a list of songs that don’t follow it. Here’s a good example: if you look at a hundred different songs and try to identify the characteristics […]

Guitar and piano

Chord Theory Can Be Complicated, But These Two Things Top the List

There’s a lot you can study about chords — about the way they work, how to choose them, and how one progression relates to another. All of it comes under the large umbrella called chord theory, and it’s a very large umbrella. Some songwriters have a knack for it; it’s not something they have to consciously […]

Songwriting titles

Working Out a Song Title as a First Step

Starting a song by coming up with the title first can be a great way to get your musical imagination working. The title of a song is usually part of the lyric, and it’s often an integral part of the hook. When song titles occur as a prominent part of the chorus — either at […]

Songwriter

Don’t Overthink Your Songwriting Process

What’s the biggest problem for songwriters around the notion of process? It’s just my opinion, but I believe that over-thinking your process can be the biggest one. Every songwriter has their own way of approaching the task of writing songs. Most songwriters will be careful to tell you that they use many processes: no one song […]

Songwriter - Guitarist

Adding Chords to a Melody: Focus On the Strong Beats

In my own composing of music, I would far rather work out a melody first, and then add the chords as a second step. That’s because melodies are what people hum to themselves; it’s hard to hum a chord progression. Many songwriters, however, work out the chord progression and backing rhythms first. There is one […]