Connecting Melodic Ideas Between a Verse and Chorus

How much of a connection should a listener hear between the verse and chorus? In other words, except for tempo, key and general feel, can a verse melody set up a chorus well if it bears little to no similarity to that chorus melody? Take the classic hit “Witchy Woman” (Don Henley, Bernie Leadon). Compare […]

Maroon 5

Smoothing Out the Connections Between Song Sections

In good songs, there is a sense of connection — or perhaps communication, in a way — between its various sections. You hear the chorus, and it sounds like the logical follower for what the verse offered. So how do we ensure that each section of a song feels connected to what came before it? […]

Great Song, But How Do You Get People to Care?

In 1958, American composer Milton Babbitt wrote an article for High Fidelity Magazine, called “Who Cares If You Listen?” The provocative title referred to the complexity of modern classical music, and the inability for most people to understand it or enjoy it. Babbitt’s position was that music had become like advanced physics or mathematics: too […]

Bruno Mars - Just the Way You Are

What Makes the Best Kind of Love Song Lyric?

To write a love song lyric means different things to different songs. You can write about how nobody understands your relationship, or you can write of simpler things: how much you love the other one. Or perhaps you’ll use imagery: your love is like a flower garden, a walk in the park, a sunny day… that sort […]

What do your songs say?

What Do Your Songs Say? What Do They Mean?

Songwriting is one of those art forms that presents a strange dichotomy of purpose to the world. On the one hand, we have audiences who insist that their favourite songs, by their favourite songwriters, need to have something vital and important to say. But those same audiences, whether they’re aware of it or not, need songs that: […]

Are You Overloading Your Songs?

As a student of music composition at university, I did a good amount of writing for music ensembles of every configuration. Orchestras, string quartets, choirs, guitar ensembles… I loved the challenges that writing for these groups presented. Some pieces I wrote were short, but in modern day “classical” music, it wasn’t unusual to write multi-movement pieces […]