Song energy

Song Energy Needs to Move Up and Down

When we think of the term musical energy, we might immediately think of loudness and tempo. But as a songwriter, you need to develop a slightly more sophisticated understanding of how musical energy works, and what it can do to make people want to listen to — and come back to — your songs. If you’re […]

Catfish and the Bottlemen

Pacing Your Chord Changes to Create Musical Energy

We use the term harmonic rhythm to describe the rate that chords change when compared to the number of melody notes. So let’s say you’ve written a song where the melody is primarily a stream of 8th notes. If you’re not sure what that means, think of the verse (and that prominent intro bass line) of […]

Eric Church

Creating Expectation in a Song Lyric

Lately I’ve been thinking and writing a lot about musical momentum… that quality that keeps people listening to a song. Without it, songs would just be one nice sound following another nice sound, and though it may seem strange to say, that’s not enough to keep people listening. There’s a sense of expectation that keeps people […]

John Lennon - Yoko Ono

Discovering the Power of Musical Momentum: John Lennon’s “Imagine”

In songwriting, momentum is that quality of music that causes us to want to keep listening to a song. Another term for momentum is musical energy, or forward motion. When created and used properly, momentum is a pleasant kind of “tension” in the music, where we sense that something needs to be resolved. If you’re stuck trying […]

Sarah McLachlan

The Main Differences Between Verse 1 and Verse 2

Figuring out the differences between verses and choruses can be tricky enough, but sometimes the biggest problem you’ll have is figuring out what to do with a second verse in your song. And because songs are all about momentum and musical flow, the danger with a weak verse 2 is that the musical flow can […]

Oscar Peterson Trio

Fixing Songwriting Errors Before Recording

If you ever listen to an old 1950s-era recording of jazz pianist Oscar Peterson, you’re probably hearing him with his trio which included Herb Ellis on guitar and Ray Brown on bass. No drummer at that time, but the three of them played with such a powerful sense of beat and rhythm that you don’t […]