keyboard player and songwriter

Making Sure Your Melody and Chords are Cooperating

Evaluating your songs objectively is crucial to songwriting success. “Fix Your Songwriting Problems – NOW!” puts the magnifying glass on 7 of the most common problems that songwriters typically face, and offers great solutions to try. Creating a song melody that is effective means writing one that is: well supported by the chords underneath it; […]

Songwriter - Guitarist

Songwriting, and the Benefits of Writing With Minimal Help From a Computer

Most of my writing these days is for vocal/choral groups. Sometimes that means writing for piano as an accompanying instrument, and sometimes I’m writing for full orchestra. Some of them are original compositions, and some are arrangements of already-existing songs (public domain folk songs, for example). But in any case, I practically always start by […]

Alicia Keys

Orchestrating Your Songs to Expand Your Sound Palette

If you still write songs in the traditional way — sitting on the edge of your bed with a guitar and working it all out — you probably perform your songs with your band, or perhaps as a solo performer, with guitar or keyboard as your main instrument. Lately I’ve been giving Peter Gabriel’s album […]

Piano and guitar - mixolydian mode

The Beauty of Chord Progressions in the Mixolydian Mode

A modal scale, for the purposes of what you’ll need to know for good songwriting, is one that starts and finishes on the non-tonic note of a major scale. That may seem like a mouthful, but here’s all it means: If you play a C major scale, you’re playing the notes C-D-E-F-G-A-B-C. But let’s say […]

Christmas guitar chords

Borrowing Chords From Christmas Carols to Create Your Own Song

Melodies and lyrics are protected by copyright, unless they’re old enough to have passed into public domain. But chords? You can usually use chord progressions from already-existing songs, even if that song is newly composed and under copyright protection. Looking for lists of progressions you can use in your own songs? “The Essential Secrets of […]

Guitar and Piano - Creating a Melody and Bass Line

Songwriting: Working Out the Melody and Bass Line

The composer Mozart almost always composed by finding a catchy melody as a first step, and then finding a bass line that supported it. Filling in all the missing instruments was, for him, something closer to a final step in composition. We can infer two things from this kind of compositional process: He considered melody […]