The Who - Won't Get Fooled Again

Creating Strong Chord Progressions That Aren’t the Standard I-IV-V Variety

There are probably lots of ways to categorize chord progressions, but for songwriters, the most helpful way would be to think of them as either being fragile or strong. Those terms, fragile and strong, pertain to how clearly identifiable the key is. For progressions that wander about, with lots of interesting twists and turns, you’re probably […]

Alan Parsons Project

Using Musical Motifs as a Kind of “Signature”

You may have heard the word motif before and wondered what it is, and how it might apply to songwriting. It’s a term that’s somewhat similar to hook — and that’s a word you’re probably a lot more familiar with. A hook is a musical idea that repeats throughout a song, though we often associate it chiefly […]

Songwriting and writer's block

You’ve Got a Chorus Hook, But What Now?

It’s quite normal to come up with a catchy chorus hook as a first step in your songwriting process, since the hook contains elements that are easily sung, played and remembered. But once that hook has been developed, you might find that your creative mind lets you down: what do you do next? If you’re trying […]

Stevie Wonder

Creating Hooks in Pop Song Formats

For most songwriters, talking about “the hook” means talking about the chorus, at least the main part of the chorus melody that’s catchy and immediately identifiable. If someone asked you to sing the most identifiable part of Derek & the Dominos’ “Layla”, you’d start with the opening of the chorus (“Layla/ Got me on my […]

Guitar - Songwriter

A Goal-Oriented Approach to Songwriting as a Problem-Solving Technique

Occasionally I write about goal-oriented songwriting on this blog, but haven’t done so for quite a while, and I think it’s worth describing it and encouraging you in that direction from time to time. In songwriting, a goal-oriented approach means that you write one particular section of your song, and then you write the section […]

Pink - Nate Ruess

The Importance of Rhythm in a Good Song Hook

For a lot of people, a song hook is hard to define, but you certainly know it when you hear one. There are many different kinds of hooks (intro hooks, instrumental hooks, lyrical hooks, etc.) but by far the most common kind is the chorus hook. In fact, many songwriters, particularly in the pop genres, […]