songwriter's challenges

Starting Songs: Building On that First Idea

A common stumbling block for songwriters is: how to continue a song once that initial song idea has been created. It can feel very discouraging, because often that first song idea happens easily, and you feel excited for what’s to come. And then… nothing. I wrote about this a week or so ago, and in […]

Neil Diamond

Taking a Close Look at a Song’s Pre-Chorus

If you’re looking for a song that has what amounts to being a textbook definition of a pre-chorus, that song would be Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline.” The pre-chorus section (“Hands, touchin’ hands/ Reachin’ out,/touchin’ me, touchin’ you”) moves step-by-step higher while the instrumentation builds, the vocal style becomes edgier, and everything gets louder. Those are […]

Home recording Studio - Darren Perkins

Making Sure Contrast is Playing an Important Role in Your Songs

If you really want to see contrast at work in music, you should listen to a Classical symphony. Each piece typically consists of four movements, and each movement will be in a different key, and usually a different tempo. Also, each movement, even if they borrow ideas from previous movements (as 19th-century composers sometimes did), […]

Amanda McBroom

Verses, Choruses, and How Much They Matter

The verse-chorus format of songs in the pop music genres is extremely common. Even people with no musical training in the least can tell if what they’re hearing is a verse or a chorus. The thing is, some songs don’t use the verse-chorus format. And some songs that do use a verse-chorus format will use […]

John Newman

Using a typical Verse to Help Write a Bridge Section

In pop songwriting, a bridge (also called a middle-eight) usually occurs after the second chorus, or, in songs that don’t use a chorus, after the second verse. For songs in verse-chorus formats, this is the common position of a song’s bridge: Verse – Chorus – Verse – Chorus – BRIDGE – Verse – Chorus – […]

Band in rehearsal

Controlling the Energy Level of a Song

Musical energy is a subtle element. Most of the time people will think you’re talking about either loudness or rhythmic activity when you’re talking about energy. And while that’s often true, there’s a lot more to it. If you like starting songs by working out chord progressions, you need this eBook: “Writing a Song From […]