Guitarist - Drummer

Tips for Writing a Great Song Hook

Even non-musicians have an idea of what the hook of a song is: it’s the short, memorable bit that comes immediately to mind when you ask someone, “Hey, do you know the song ____?” Back in the 70s, if you asked someone, “Hey, do you know the song “Stayin’ Alive”, they’d immediately sing, “Ah, ah, […]

Songwriter - Guitarist

Tips and Tricks for Starting Songs

If you find it hard to finish songs, this may be the cause: You haven’t started properly. You’re too focused on pulling all the elements of a good song together, and you don’t yet have one good main idea. You’re starting too big. You vamp away on two or three chords, and hope a song happens. If […]

Adele

The Structure of Good Verse Melodies

It’s hard to think about song melodies without also thinking about the chords that we put underneath them. They go hand in hand. Historically (as in hundreds of years ago) music was all about the melody. Eventually (in the early 1600s) it was melody and bass line, with chords starting to fill in the middle. […]

music, photography rule of thirds

Applying the Rule of Thirds to Songwriting

When you talk about thirds to a musician, you’re usually talking about the space between two notes, like C to E, or D to F, and so on. In photography, the so-called “rule of thirds” is completely different: it refers to dividing an image into thirds using two vertical lines and two horizontal lines. If […]

Genesis

Songwriting: Lyrical Hooks and Clichés

I’m a fan of Genesis, but enjoyed the older incarnation of that group more than the one in the mid-80s. That’s not a criticism at all because I think Genesis wrote brilliant pop music. I just happen to like their older prog rock style. Genesis wrote and recorded “Tonight, Tonight, Tonight” for their 1986 “Invisible […]

Now, Now - SGL

Getting the Most Out of a Song’s Hook

For most songs in the pop genre, the bit that you really love will be some short, catchy fragment. That fragment — the hook — is the bit that you’ll remember forever about that song. Long after you’ve forgotten almost everything else, you’ll remember that hook. “Hooks and Riffs: How They Grab Attention, Make Songs Memorable, […]