Tom Petty

How Making a Line Drawing of Your Melody Makes It Better

The best song melodies are the ones that have a definable shape. You may not have ever thought of a melody in terms of its shape, but all that means is that good melodies: use recognizable, memorable patterns, and… can be described generally when it comes to its overall design. Let’s look at those two […]

Feist - 1234

Creating a Song From 3 Short Melodic Ideas

Here’s an alternative to always thinking in the verse-chorus format: try creating three short melodic fragments, all in the same key, and then putting them together to create a complete song. Don’t worry or think about which one is the verse or chorus. If you want a real example of what I’m talking about, you […]

Piano - songwriter - theory

Writing a Song With Unrelated Sections

You might assume that a verse should have some connection to the chorus that follows it — something that makes the verse and chorus sound like musical partners. Creating musical partners of various sorts is usually a goal in good songwriting. But (with the possible exception of the lyrics) it is possible to write a verse and […]

Songwriter with guitar

Charting Trends In Your Songwriting Style

Here’s an idea that might help you get a clear picture of the kinds of songs you like to write, as well as making it easy to identify other characteristics in your songwriting style: make a chart. There are probably lots of ways to do this, but here’s one that is easy, and can be […]

Yes - Roundabout

How Simplicity Makes for Good Songs

Some of the best songs ever written have a noticeable core of simplicity about them. Songs where the melody is easy to remember and easy to hum means that audiences are more likely to hum it as they go about their day. Simplicity is part of the reason that we find it so easy to […]

Singer-songwriter-guitarist

Dealing With Excessive Predictability In Your Songwriting

Predictability is not the horrible monster of songwriting. Even songs that sound unique, complex or startling are often following a template established by someone else’s song, with just a touch of innovation thrown in; it doesn’t take much innovation to make a song sound unique. If you like starting songs by working with a chord […]