Piano - songwriter - theory

Using Music Theory to Communicate Your Musical Ideas

There’s a persistent myth in the songwriting world that the more music theory you know, the more your songwriting will suffer. If you believe this, you’re missing out on truly understanding what music theory is, and how you could be using it to your advantage. If you want some evidence for the power of music […]

Music concert microphone

Using the Direction of Your Melodies to Create Musical Contrast

You may not have considered the up-or-down direction of your song melodies as being all that important, but it can go a long way to adding structure and musical interest to your song. Specifically, contrasting upward-moving phrases with downward-moving ones can be an aspect of musical contrast that keeps listeners listening. What I’m about to […]

guitarist - songwriter

Songwriting, and Mastering the Short Musical Journey

Symphonies and operas are probably the longest complete works in our musical history. By the time you get to the end of the Romantic era (i.e., the end of the 19th century), a typical symphony (or symphony-like work) could be over an hour long. By contrast, songs in the pop genres (pop, country, rock, etc.) […]

Musical inspiration

Finding Songwriting Inspiration That Can Keep You Going

Inspiration in its most basic terms is excitement. It’s that simple. If you’re inspired, you’re excited. In the minds of most creators of music or other art forms, inspiration seems crucial. If you’re not inspired, you’re likely not writing. Trying to get a handle on writing song lyrics? Discover the benefits of making a lyrics-first method […]

Songwriting - chord choices

Blending Major and Minor Chords Within a Song Section

For whichever key you choose for a song, there are certain chords that you’ll use because they exist naturally in that key. Then there are the chords you’ll choose, not because they belong to that key, but because they add a bit of musical interest. Stuck with how to get chords that fit the melody […]

Chord Progressions: Uniqueness is Not All That Necessary (Or Possible)

There are certain progressions — certain combinations of chords — you’re more likely to see in songs written by a 21st century pop songwriter than you might with a Classical musician. But check out these two progressions and try to figure out which one was used by Romantic era composer almost 150 years ago, and […]