Drake in the studio

Writing Longer in a World of Shorter Songs

In today’s pop music world, songs are getting shorter. Back in the ’50s and ’60s, most songs were under three minutes in length. “Lonely Boy“, recorded by Paul Anka in 1959, was 2’30”, and that was typical. Starting in the later ’60s and into the ’70s there was a slow increase in the length of […]

songwriter

How to Create Forward Motion Within a Song

Forward motion is a term that refers to the sense of musical energy in a song. In real terms, forward motion is what makes a listener want to keep listening to a song. In other words, the listener wants to believe that as good as the song is at this moment, it’s going to sound […]

Pensive songwriter

7 Common Songwriting Mistakes, and How to Avoid Them

Songwriting is problem-solving. For every song you’ve ever written that really works well, you’ve probably solved dozens or more problems that have taken you from the initial concept through to the finished product. Over the past couple of decades I’ve helped songwriters solve issues related to their songwriting, either working directly via in-person or online […]

Piano and guitar - songwriter

The Unfinished Song: Turning Frustration Into Success

These days you might be listening to Handel’s “Messiah,” and even if you don’t know that work, you no doubt know his “Hallelujah Chorus” which ends the second part of the oratorio. “Messiah” is a lengthy work consisting of fifty-three movements, and listening to the entire piece will take you more than two hours. (Most […]

Foreigner - I Want to know What Love Is

What a Melody Should Do In a Song’s Pre-Chorus Section

A pre-chorus is an optional section that sits between the verse and chorus. There are several reasons why you might choose to use a pre-chorus in a song, the most common reasons being any combination of the following: The verse is quite short. The verse melody is very repetitive. The beginning of the chorus is […]

Yes - Concert Tour

The Pros and Cons of Using Songwriting Formulas

In songwriting, you’re probably using a formula if you find yourself thinking, “After I write something like this, I should follow it up with something like that..” A songwriting formula is a way of simplifying the process, as well as giving your listeners something predictable. The predictable nature of songwriting formulas is what songwriters dislike about them. […]