Neil Young - Heart of Gold

Structuring the Melody in a Verse-Only Song: “Heart of Gold”

When it comes to a song’s melody, there’s a standard kind of “formula” that practically all songs in a verse-chorus format use: Verse: Start the melody relatively low in pitch, and move higher as it comes closer to the chorus. Chorus: Keep the chorus relatively high in pitch. If the end of the verse is […]

McCartney - My Brave Face

Songwriting in Chunks

Pop songs are relatively short. But despite that fact, it can be a daunting task to imagine and then create a complete three or four minute musical journey. You have all sorts of ways that you typically create this musical journey. Most of the time, you’ll find a couple of chords that move back and […]

John Newman - Losing Sleep

The Most Common Melody Problem Songwriters Need to Know About

For most songs, a good melody is crucial because it gives the listener something to hum after they’ve heard it. There are all kinds of melodies — from the ones that use one phrase over and over again (“Free Fallin’” – Tom Petty), to the ones that move up and down and encompass much of […]

Writing word lists for song lyrics

Creating Word Lists: It Can Give You More Than Lyric Ideas

If you find that writing lyrics takes you a long time, creating word lists can be a big help. By building lists of words, you’re creating a vocabulary that speeds up the process of trying to find the right words: they’re probably all there in front of you, somewhere in your list. Word lists can […]

Singer-Songwriter

The Snapshot That Represents Your Song

I’ve got several analogies I like to use to represent what’s going on when we write songs. Sometimes I find it useful to compare it to going for a walk or a short journey. That’s a useful comparison because it emphasizes the fact that, like taking a walk, we are aware that songs have a […]