Outline of a guitar

The True Nature of Contrast in Songwriting

We tend to over-simplify what we mean by contrast in a good song, and thereby misunderstand its power. Contrast, in musical terms, means considering musical opposites: loud versus soft, high versus low, and so on. When we over-simplify contrast, we simply think that the contrast principle requires us to mix loud and soft sounds, high and […]

Emotional audience

What Does a Songwriter Need to Know About Musical Structure?

There’s nothing like the word “structure” to turn off an artistically-minded musician. When a song sounds good, we don’t necessarily think about its structure. We just revel in the fact that it just sounds great. But when songs sound good, it’s at least in part due to its structure. So what exactly do we mean […]

Eagles - Life in the Fast Lane

Avoiding the Problem of Disorganized Song Lyrics

It’s an important principle of all music that the energy we perceive at the end of a song should usually exceed the energy at the beginning. That increase in musical energy keeps audiences listening. But the build in energy is not usually a straight line. It’s an ebb-and-flow quality, and it usually takes the following […]

Songwriter-Guitarist tuning

Deciding If Your Song Needs a Bridge (Middle-8)

A bridge is the section of a song that typically comes after the second chorus in verse-chorus songs. In verse-only songs, like “I Should Have Known Better” (Lennon & McCartney), the bridge will usually come after the second verse. For many songwriters, the question of whether or not to use a bridge (or any other […]

Songwriter in Home Studio

Are Songwriting Principles Genre-Specific?

In songwriting, a principle is a statement that attempts to explain why some aspect or element of music works the way it does. Principles are not rules, because a rule implies that it must (or at least should) be done a certain way in order for the music to be successful. But a principle makes […]

Guitar and music paper - Songwriting

How Contrast Works – How It Makes Songs More Interesting to Listen To

The following is an excerpt from the ebook manual, “The Essential Secrets of Songwriting, 4th Ed.” It’s an eBook that covers every aspect of how good songs work, with sound samples that let you hear the concepts at work so that you can apply them to your own songs. This excerpt, from “Chapter 3: Designing […]