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, […]

Changing Up the Form of Your Song

When we talk about the form of a song, we’re usually talking about the arrangement of its basic elements such as verse, chorus and bridge. That word form, though, can refer to other things: aspects of the lyric, the design of a melody, or how keys are established and changed as a song progresses. Listeners to […]

Johanna Warren - Singer-Songwriter

Two-Part Verse Structures: “Everyone I Know” (Johanna Warren)

I’ve only very recently discovered the music of Johanna Warren, a singer-songwriter from Portland Oregon. The stunning beauty of her music is addictive; it seems impossible to stop listening once you get started. First, check out her Bandcamp site where you can stream her albums. You won’t be disappointed. The aspect of her songwriting that […]

Guitar and music paper - Songwriting

Why Simplicity Works So Well In Songwriting

It’s something you hear a lot with regard to songwriting, but with other creative arts as well: Simplicity is a virtue. Don’t get me wrong – I love complexity in music, and I always have. But once in a while I’m reminded of how powerful a song can be when: melodic lines are clear chords […]

Songwriting and Line Drawing

I’ve written a few articles on this blog about the notion of drawing a line that represents your melody (like this article I wrote a few years ago). It’s not just that it’s kind of neat to see your melody sketched out as a line; there is a real purpose and benefit from seeing your […]

Guitar and Piano

How Bridge Chords Work in Most Songs

A bridge (or middle-8) is the section that usually follows the second chorus of a song. Back in the earlier days of rock & roll, that bridge was likely to be strictly an 8-bar section, but these days the definition has allowed for a lot more creativity. In general, though, you can expect a bridge […]