Musical ideas

Good Songwriting, and the Demand for Uniqueness

I’ve had an approach to writing music that I’ve described on this blog before, which is that second ideas are often better than first ones. That shouldn’t be so surprising, since your second idea will usually take the first one as its model — whether consciously or subconsciously — and modify it. In most cases, that […]

Sam Smith - I'm Not the Only One

Creating a Verse and Chorus Over the Same Chord Progression

It sometimes amazes me how different a verse and chorus can be from each other. The classic example of this is probably Paul Simon’s “My Little Town“, which features a long meandering verse with a complex chord progression, syncopations and changing time signatures. The chorus changes character almost completely, offering a very short, catchy hook […]

Song melodies

3 Tips For Generating Melodic Ideas

Some songwriters have a flair for coming up with just the right tune. Most of the time, the best melodies are good because they partner so well with the lyric, and of course with the chord progression. But even with those elements in place, it can still be hard to write a great tune. So […]

How to Improvise Your Next Song

I wrote recently about the difference between theory and practice (“What’s Most Important: Theory or Practice?“) The best songwriters are the ones that know a bit of the theory behind what they do, and then spend a good amount of time “practicing” their art. The practical side of songwriting is the actual doing side. In pop […]

Band rehearsal

Creating Chord Progressions: Speeding Up the Process

Using a chords-first songwriting method usually means starting out by improvising on chords until something interesting pops into your mind. But one of the drawbacks to this process is that you can waste a lot of time simply trying to find chords that work well together. I’ve placed two charts below, one for major keys and […]

Writing Songs That Use an Ad Hoc Design

An ad hoc form is one that’s unique and specifically designed for one song. Here’s how to create one. ________________ Download “The Essential Secrets of Songwriting” 6-eBook Bundle. The songwriting manuals used by thousands of songwriters, all written by Gary Ewer ________________ When we talk about form in songwriting, we usually mean the arrangement of verses and […]