Chord Progressions: Uniqueness is Not All That Necessary (Or Possible)

There are certain progressions — certain combinations of chords — you’re more likely to see in songs written by a 21st century pop songwriter than you might with a Classical musician. But check out these two progressions and try to figure out which one was used by Romantic era composer almost 150 years ago, and […]

Guitar in a nature setting

When You’re Stuck in Ballad Mode

If you listen to early Bee Gees tunes, you’ll notice how much they favoured slow tempos. Everything (well, almost everything) seemed to be a ballad. That’s not a criticism of their compositional prowess. But they were definitely, at least mostly, in ballad mode in their pre-disco days. Check out their 1971 album “Trafalgar” and you’ll […]

Jealous musician

Can Jealousy Get You Through a Bout of Writer’s Block?

When you’re experiencing a creative block of some sort, one where writing is causing considerable frustration, a good solution is often to simply step away for a few days and let your creative mind have a bit of a rest. And during that stepping away, it’s good to keep yourself immersed in music. There are […]

Use Your Words! Developing a Lyrics-First Songwriting Process

Tips For Developing a Poem-First Songwriting Process

The following is an excerpt from Chapter 3 of “Use Your Words! Developing a Lyrics-First Songwriting Process.” That eBook is currently a free add-on to “The Essential Secrets of Songwriting 10-eBook Bundle.” Poems don’t always make good lyrics, if only because the emotional ups and downs of a poem are often subtler than is required […]

Songwriter's materials

The Prolific Songwriter

There’s a list online of classical music’s most prolific composers, and at the top of that list is the Austrian composer Simon Sechter (1788-1867), who wrote more than 5000 fugues, as well as operas, masses and oratorios. Sechter is certainly not a household name. And it seems rather sad that his Wikipedia entry says, “His […]

Keyboardist songwriter

Instrumental Music: What Do You Want Your Listeners to Hum?

A number of years ago when I was looking to buy a house, the real estate agent I was using was explaining some of the terminology to me. I found it humorous, for some reason, to find out that the term “improvement” was used to describe the house I was considering. As I understand it, […]