Singer - Band Rehearsal

Here’s Why Your Song’s Pre-Chorus Isn’t Working

It’s easy to understand why a song uses verses and choruses. The chorus tells the listener the essence of the song. The verse explains the situation behind the emotions of the chorus. That part is usually pretty cut-&-dried. But there are other miscellaneous sections your songs might use. And a commonly-used section (also a commonly-misunderstood […]

Keyboard player - songwriter - chord inversions

Everything You Need to Know About “Slash Chords” (Inversions)

When you play through chord progressions for songs you know, you’ll occasionally come across ones that involve a slash: F/A, C/G, Dm7/F, etc. These kinds of chords are called inversions, known colloquially as “slash chords” because of that slash. As you probably know, the letter name before the slash is the actual chord that you should […]

Microphone - Writing a melody

Is the Chorus You Just Wrote Really a Verse?

Do you ever feel that your chorus has problems, but no matter what you do you can’t seem to get it to work? When that happens, the problem often seems to be that the chorus doesn’t sound like a chorus. You expect a certain kind of musical punch to come from a chorus, but figuring out […]

Sixpence None the Richer - Kiss Me

Where Should a Song’s Climactic Moment Occur?

Many songs have what could be called its “climactic moment”: a spot where musical energy seems to be at its peak. In many songs, it sits there at the beginning of the chorus (“Firework”), sometimes in the middle (“Let It Be”), and sometimes near the end. (“Wichita Lineman”). Sometimes finding that moment may not be obvious. […]

John Mellencamp - Peaceful World

Two Simple Tricks to Make Your Song Stand Out From the Rest

Visit the Online Store for all your songwriting materials, including “The Essential Secrets of Songwriting” eBooks, plus the video-based “Easy Music Theory” course. Songwriters have a tricky relationship with predictability. A successful song is usually one that is innovative enough to stand out from all other songs, but similar enough to everything else (i.e., predictable enough) that […]

Song Form

Does a Song Need More Than Verses and a Chorus?

At a minimum, most songs these days will use a verse-chorus or verse-refrain structure. Songs might be constructed of verses and nothing else, such as Amanda McBroom’s “The Rose”, made most famous by Bette Midler. Many old 12-bar blues songs are basically a verse and nothing else, though many will use a repeating refrain to […]