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 […]

Musical Energy

Using the Natural Energy of Music in Your Songwriting

When we talk about the energy of music, at least in strictly songwriting terms, we’re talking about the sense of the music being propelled forward. In this sense, I’m not necessarily talking about how powerful, loud or energetic the music sounds or feels; I’m talking about musical momentum. For example, when one section of a […]

Eagles - Life in the Fast Lane

Avoiding the Problem of Disorganized Song Lyrics

It’s an important principle of all music that the energy we perceive at the end of a song should usually exceed the energy at the beginning. That increase in musical energy keeps audiences listening. But the build in energy is not usually a straight line. It’s an ebb-and-flow quality, and it usually takes the following […]

Songwriter in Home Studio

Are Songwriting Principles Genre-Specific?

In songwriting, a principle is a statement that attempts to explain why some aspect or element of music works the way it does. Principles are not rules, because a rule implies that it must (or at least should) be done a certain way in order for the music to be successful. But a principle makes […]

Now, Now - SGL

Getting the Most Out of a Song’s Hook

For most songs in the pop genre, the bit that you really love will be some short, catchy fragment. That fragment — the hook — is the bit that you’ll remember forever about that song. Long after you’ve forgotten almost everything else, you’ll remember that hook. “Hooks and Riffs: How They Grab Attention, Make Songs Memorable, […]