Guitarist - songwriter

5 Chord Progressions That Build Musical Momentum

In music, momentum is anything that builds energy. Every possible element within a song has the potential to affect momentum, and songs are good if all of those elements partner well. You can hear energy and momentum growing in a song in any number of ways, including: if the music becomes louder; if the music becomes faster; […]

Benjamin Francis Leftwich

Contouring Your Instrumentation to Create Energy Peaks

When we think about a song’s energy level, particularly as it pertains to the instrumental choices, we often think about how much energy we can generate by adding instruments into the mix. That’s a pretty instinctive approach, and it has worked in almost every genre, in any era. Eighties’ power ballads took this to extremes. […]

Concert audience

How Tension and Release Makes Audiences Want to Listen

What does the word energy mean in music, and what role does it play? There are several possible ways to use that word when discussing music, and songwriting in particular. Energy might involve any, or a combination of, the following: Loudness; we think of louder music as being more energetic. Tempo; energetic music is often faster. Instrumentation; in […]

Lady Antebellum

Why a Good Chorus Usually Surpasses a Good Verse in Importance

Most songs, if they are one of several possible verse-chorus formats, usually start with a verse, and before the 1-minute mark will move on to the chorus. The timing involved with this — i.e., the fact that we usually hear the chorus at or before the 1-minute mark, as you hear in a song like […]

Frustrated songwriter

Controlling An Audience’s Mood With Your Songs

How do you make people think something with music? It’s amazing that simply hearing the air vibrate can do that, but such is the strength of being a member of the human race. I’ve mentioned on this blog before that some songwriters, like Paul Simon, like to compose music (melody and chords) and then decide […]

Guitar - Songwriting

How Common are Key Changes in Songs?

When we talk about a song’s key, we’re usually talking about the key of the chorus. That’s because it’s not that unusual for various parts of songs to have different key centres. The chorus, the part that gets the most attention, is the section we usually think of when assigning an overall key to a song. […]