Nirvana in concert

In Good Songwriting, Opposites Matter

Most songs make use of contrasting characteristics as a way of keeping listeners interested. You might get a song with a verse that’s quiet, at least in comparison to the chorus. “Smells Like Teen Sprit” (Nirvana) is a good example, and practically any power ballad. If you’re looking for one set of eBooks that will […]

Guitar - songwriting

Getting Control of the Character of Your Songs

What do we mean by a song’s “character?” In most cases, we’re talking about the mood or feel that we pick up from it. And we have all sorts of words that might otherwise be described as “character” words: “gentle”, “edgy”, “aggressive”, “laid back”, “dark”, and so on. Whether we know it or not, a […]

Composing Your Own Descant Melody

Every year I have the best of intentions to write a post or two regarding writing holiday music, good and early so that songwriters can actually use the information! And then, usually due to my own busy schedule this time of year, I don’t get it done. But I thought I’d write this quick one […]

Countermelody: A Nice Alternative to Simple Backing Vocals

When you listen to verse 2 of Simon & Garfunkel’s “Scarborough Fair/Canticle, you’re hearing the main melody, but you’re also hearing, in addition to some simple backing vocals,  a secondary melody in the background. Do you find that writing a great melody is your biggest challenge? In great songs, it’s not just about the tune […]

8 Tips to Guide Your Search for Chord Substitutions

If you’re bored with the chord progression you’ve come up with for your latest song, you’ll naturally want to spend some time looking for chord substitutions that sound more interesting. But if you find that choosing new chords is a matter of random hunting, you can waste a lot of time. With a few tips, […]

Simple Song Design Using Big Star's "Thirteen"

Big Star’s “Thirteen” could have been written today, and in fact you can use it as a model for your next song. ____________________ “The Essential Secrets of Songwriting” 6-eBook Bundle now includes a free copy of “From Amateur to Ace: Writing Songs Like a Pro.” ____________________ I was recently reminded of the band Big Star recently […]