Nirvana in concert

In Good Songwriting, Opposites Matter

Most songs make use of contrasting characteristics as a way of keeping listeners interested. You might get a song with a verse that’s quiet, at least in comparison to the chorus. “Smells Like Teen Sprit” (Nirvana) is a good example, and practically any power ballad. If you’re looking for one set of eBooks that will […]

Writing Songs That Use Three Simple Melodies

I’ve recently returned to listening to an album that really impressed me when it was released in 2015: “Carrie & Lowell,” by American singer-songwriter Sufjan Stevens. I hope you take the time to give it a listen. What I love the most about it is its transparency of sound. With simple guitar and keyboard accompaniments, […]

Studio singer

How Similar Must the Verse and Chorus Be Within a Song?

For most songs, the verse and chorus melodies are different. That’s the most common circumstance. But there are times, you will notice, when you’ve written a verse and a chorus that sound fine on their own, but don’t seem to work together. On the face of it, it seems that there doesn’t need to be […]

Ten of the Most Important Things a Songwriter Should Remember

There are things a songwriter should remember because they’ll result in better songs. There are other things that will result in a happier you. From time to time, you need to sit back and bring those things to mind. I write music almost every day. Sometimes they’re arrangements of already-existing songs (folk songs, for example). […]

John Legend

Using Opposite Approaches For Your Verse and Chorus

As listeners of music, we like to hear contrasting ideas as a song progresses, even if we’re not consciously aware of it. In songwriting, a contrasting idea might mean something like this: one part of a melody that’s harmonized mainly with minor chords, followed by a section harmonized with mostly major ones. Contrast in a […]

Gotye - Easy Way Out

How Much Contrast Does a Good Song Need?

We know that creating contrast is an important principle in the structure of good songwriting. Contrast is naturally sought by listeners, and they’re not usually aware that they’re seeking it. When melodies are low, we assume they’ll move higher. When music is soft, we expect that something louder is going to happen. If you listen […]