Led Zeppelin

The Best Songs Are Partnerships of Ideas

Make a little list of what you consider to be the best songs you know, and you’ll probably see one thing that is in common: each song represents a partnership of ideas. What does that term “partnership of ideas” mean? It refers to the fact that all the various components of a song — the […]

Brian Wilson - Tony Asher

How a Song’s Chorus Makes Use of Musically Strong Elements

When you listen to a song just for entertainment, you’re not usually aware that parts of the song are musically ambiguous in some way, while other parts are clear and strong. Let’s say, for example, that you start your song by writing a verse that uses this short progression: C-Bb-C-Bb-C-Bb… There’s a kind of ambiguity associated […]

Songwriter - editing music

The Partnership of Musical Elements Within Good Songs

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a blog post about song hooks, and how to diagnose problems you might be having with the hook for your song: “When Your Song’s Hook Isn’t Doing Its Job.” In that article I gave a list of four important characteristics of good hooks. “Hooks and Riffs: How They […]

Songwriter

Don’t Give Up So Easily

Once you’ve written a song, you like to think of it as your baby, something that had a gestation period, and now — here it is! Except… you’re not very happy with it. The song’s done, but it just sounds lame to you. The first step in dealing with a song that doesn’t work very […]

Creating a Hierarchy of Songwriting Elements: What’s Most Important?

For every song you ever hear, it’s possible to compile a short list of elements that go together that make the song. For most, that list will include lyrics, melody, chords, rhythm (groove), instrumentation, and so on. Because every song is a musical journey, and every journey must be to some degree unique, the priority a […]

Folk guitarist - Songwriter

The Bare Essentials of Good Music

I was remembering this morning a discussion I had with a drummer many years ago. This guy told me that he loved the band he was with because they were so rhythmically tight that he didn’t have to work very hard to “keep things together.” That meant, as far as he was concerned, that he could think of his […]