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 […]

Guitarist - songwriter

Musical Energy as a Songwriting Concept

Musical energy is a term that a lot of musicians use but find hard to define. You might use the word energy in a very nebulous sort of way, where it’s synonymous with intensity. With that usage of the word, most listeners of music would know what you mean if you said, “I really like the energy of this song.” They would […]

Guitar - Piano

Songwriting Round-Up: 5 Most Common Mistakes to Avoid

Every now and then I clean up my Inbox and give a quick re-read of the emails I’ve received from songwriters for the past while. Those emails serve as a reminder to me of what issues up-and-coming songwriters are dealing with, and the best way to solve them. Here’s a quick summary, in no particular order, […]