John Legend

Paying Closer Attention to the Rhythm of a Chorus Melody

I’ve aterritten a fair bit lately about making a verse more effective, either by creating an interesting key change, or by paying closer attention to how the verse connects to the chorus. In this post, I want to look more closely at the chorus itself, and address an issue when the chorus itself just doesn’t […]

Eric Clapton - Tears in Heaven

Dealing With Emotional Topics When Writing a Song

We know that songs work when they connect on an emotional level to listeners. But some topics are the kind for which the emotions are deep and extraordinarily powerful. More than simply singing about love, I’m talking about songs that deal with life-changing circumstances: A tragic, unexpected death of a close friend or family member (Eric […]

What do your songs say?

What Do Your Songs Say? What Do They Mean?

Songwriting is one of those art forms that presents a strange dichotomy of purpose to the world. On the one hand, we have audiences who insist that their favourite songs, by their favourite songwriters, need to have something vital and important to say. But those same audiences, whether they’re aware of it or not, need songs that: […]

Band in concert

Getting the Most Out of a Bridge Lyric

If you’ve been writing songs for a while, you’ll know that lyrics change in character as a song progresses. To generalize, you’ll notice the following: VERSE LYRICS: Verse lyrics set the stage, recount details of a story, describe characters, etc. It lays out the narrative, the storyline or general song topic. “Hooks and Riffs: How They […]

Peter Gabriel

What Do You Do to Incite an Emotional Reaction From Your Listeners?

I tweeted earlier today about an excellent interview with Peter Gabriel, “Life Lessons From a Rock Star.” I highly recommend you give that video a watch, as Peter, interviewed by philosopher Alain de Botton, discusses, at least in part, the notion of meaning in music. One of the first questions from Alain de Botton: What is […]

Rock singer

Getting Attention Using Your Vocal Range

It’s interesting that music in pop genres has mainly favoured the tenor male voice. Most songs will sit in either the high baritone or tenor range. I say interesting, because I was reading recently about a recently-completed study that has examined how much we like or are drawn to high or low-pitched speaking voices. You […]