Paul McCartney

When the Verse Melody Becomes the Bridge

Here’s something interesting: the melody that Paul McCartney uses as his verse melody for “You Never Give Me Your Money” (“Abbey Road” album) serves, for all intents and purposes, as a bridge melody for “Carry That Weight.” True, the fact is that its appearance as a bridge melody is overshadowed by the fact that its main […]

John Lennon

Song Melody Tricks We Can Take From “Norwegian Wood”

“Use Your Words! Developing a Lyrics-First Songwriting Process” is FREE with your purchase of “The Essential Secrets of Songwriting 10-eBook Bundle. $37 USD. Immediate Download. The melody for John Lennon’s “Norwegian Wood” is a beauty. There’s really not much to it, but you can argue that the best song melodies are like that: unassuming, almost […]

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 […]