Brian Wilson - Tony Asher

How a Song’s Chorus Makes Use of Musically Strong Elements

When you listen to a song just for entertainment, you’re not usually aware that parts of the song are musically ambiguous in some way, while other parts are clear and strong. Let’s say, for example, that you start your song by writing a verse that uses this short progression: C-Bb-C-Bb-C-Bb… There’s a kind of ambiguity associated […]

Carole King

Keeping Your Listeners Excited to Listen For the Full 4-Minute Experience

One of the most powerful and effective aspects of songwriting is creating a sense of expectancy. That term expectancy refers to a song’s ability to make you want to hear what happens next. Without that quality of expectancy, a song would have no ability to keep listeners listening. The best element to look at to see expectancy […]

Music concert microphone

Imagining Song Melodies

Writing the chorus part of a song is usually a very different process than writing the verse part. With choruses, you’re usually coming up with a little package of music — some chords, a backing rhythm, a catchy melodic bit and then some lyrics. That musical package is what we call the chorus hook, and […]

guitarist - songwriter

Songwriting, and Mastering the Short Musical Journey

Symphonies and operas are probably the longest complete works in our musical history. By the time you get to the end of the Romantic era (i.e., the end of the 19th century), a typical symphony (or symphony-like work) could be over an hour long. By contrast, songs in the pop genres (pop, country, rock, etc.) […]

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 […]