Joni Mitchell

Imagery: A Big Picture From Few Words

The concept of imagery in lyric writing is a simple one: using words to create images or ideas in the mind of the listener. You could argue that practically all lyrics will do this, even if they’re not specifically thought of as being a good example of imagery. Are you trying to make your lyrics […]

Songwriter with guitar

Giving Chorus Lyrics the Emotional Boost They Need

Sometimes you’ll hear a songwriter criticize their lyrics, saying that the chorus “falls flat.” That kind of criticism usually means that the chorus lyrics aren’t generating the kind of emotional response from the listener they were hoping for. You’ll notice that I say “generating”, because that’s exactly what a good chorus lyric does. It doesn’t […]

Dan Hill

Working Downward Melodic Leaps Into Your Song Melodies

With song melodies, big melodic leaps can do a lot to inject some emotional energy into the lyric of the moment. The upward leap is common, probably more common than the downward leap. I’m not sure why that is, but downward leaps seem to require a bit more work to make them successful. There’s something […]

Adele

Creating Moods In a Song is More Than Major Versus Minor

It’s a stereotypical notion that major keys sound happy and minor keys sound sad. In reality, it takes a lot more than simply choosing major or minor. You can have sad songs in major keys (“Someone Like You” – Adele, Dan Wilson), and you can have happy songs in minor keys (“Happy ‘Cause I’m Going […]

Christina Perri

Writing the Best Bridge For Your Song

A bridge section, sometimes also called the middle eight, is an optional section that usually happens after the chorus’s second appearance in a song, or after the second verse or refrain for songs that don’t use a chorus. Songs With a Chorus Verse – Chorus – Verse – Chorus – Bridge – Final Chorus Repeats or Verse […]

Guitarist - Songwriter - Lyricist

How Much of a Lyric Needs to be Understood?

Some lyrics are stories, and so there’s a simple answer to the question of how much of a lyric needs to be understood: darn near all of it. The beauty of story lyrics is in the way you say things, and the imagery you use. There’s more to a song hook than meets the ear… a […]