songwriter - guitarist

Too Much of a Good Thing

This post contains some additional thoughts on my previous post about motifs. As you know, a motif is a repeating figure (melodic, rhythmic, or any other musical fragment) that adds strength to the structure of a song. But it begs the question: is it possible for a song to feature too many repeating things? When is […]

songwriter's challenges

Starting Songs: Building On that First Idea

A common stumbling block for songwriters is: how to continue a song once that initial song idea has been created. It can feel very discouraging, because often that first song idea happens easily, and you feel excited for what’s to come. And then… nothing. I wrote about this a week or so ago, and in […]

Songwriting Collaboration

Some Thoughts on Songwriting Collaborations

I was reading an online article about songwriting recently — a kind of “top ten ways to write great songs” sort of site — and one of the bits of advice was this: since practically all songs you find on the Billboard Hot 100 these days are the results of songwriting collaborations, you should definitely […]

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 […]