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. […]

John Newman - Love Me Again

How to Take a Verse Idea and Create a Great Chorus

A lot of the time, the musical ideas you conjure up will be chorus ideas, because it’s often easier to think up short, “hooky” fragments that will serve as a good chorus. They’re the kind of musical ideas that are short, repeatable, singable, and generally fun to perform. But sometimes a musical idea will pop […]

Studio singer

When Musical Elements Fight Within a Song

If writing music were easy, I doubt we’d stick with it. One of the reasons we write is because it’s not always easy. Sometimes, coming up with music that sounds great means working and reworking. It’s a process that takes time and experimentation. But that battle of getting music right is the “fun.” In some ways, the longer […]