Guitar in a nature setting

Songwriting, and the Power of Holding Back

This blog article is a bit of a ramble, so I hope you’ll forgive me for letting my musical mind wander a bit! Sometimes when I look at a painting, I find myself wondering what I’m not seeing. It might be that the painting is a landscape — a winding river with a grassy hill […]

John Legend - Nervous

How Controlling Musical Energy Keeps People Listening

There are some songs, when you compare the start of the song to the end of it, make it obvious what we mean by musical energy. “Stairway to Heaven” is a great example: it starts very quietly, uses subdued acoustic guitar and recorders, with a nostalgic, mid-range vocal approach. The hook is probably the most […]

Beach Boys - Vocals

Creating Connections Between Verse and Chorus Chord Progressions in Your Song

There’s no particular songwriting principle that says that there needs to be a noticeable connection between the various chord progressions within a song. If you’ve got a song that uses a verse-chorus design, you can use a completely different progression in each section, progressions that have absolutely no obvious similarity. Having said that, there is a benefit […]

Elvis Presley

Providing Contrast in a Song That Uses a Lot of Repetition

In songwriting, the term contrast refers to providing opposite-sounding characteristics to any one song component: melodies that move higher, then lower; chords that are mainly minor, then major; instrumentation that’s at one point soft, then loud, and so on. It’s not important that every element within a song show a degree of contrast. For example, you can […]

Piano and guitar - songwriter

Chord Advice For Starting a Song’s Bridge

One of the reasons that you might add a bridge to your song is that it can make it just a bit longer, if all you’ve got is a couple of verses. So if, by the time you’ve reached the end of your second go-through of the chorus, you feel that your song would sound […]

Song instrumental

What a Bridge Might Look Like In Your Song

The bridge of a song typically happens after the second chorus. There are lots of reasons you might use a bridge: To introduce a new melody. To introduce a new key area. To complete the lyric (where the bridge is followed by chorus repeats.) To extend the length of your song. Most of the time, […]