Computer - Music Studio

The Similarities Between a Building’s Structure and a Song’s Structure

What exactly is song structure, and how important is it to the success of a song? When we talk about structure with regard to, let’s say, a house you’re building, we can generate a good number of analogies, all of which, it could be argued, apply metaphorically to songwriting: A house has walls, beams and other […]

Leonard Cohen

Using Similar Rhythms Throughout a Melody Strengthens a Song

I’m often asked about motifs – how they work in typical songwriting, and if songwriters even need to be aware of them. Unlike a hook, which does its work in the foreground, a motif is a small building-block of music that works mainly in the background. That’s not to say we don’t typically hear motifs — […]

Daniel Merriweather - Adele

Making Melody Your Song’s Most Important Ingredient

Not every song is about the melody. For songs where the melody is kind of a neutral player, you’ll typically find that the rhythmic treatments, (especially background) will step up and take a leading role. In other words, the groove and feel become very important contributors. How you know that a melody is acting as a […]

Guitar and music paper - Songwriting

An Idea for Increasing Your Songwriting Output

For some songwriters the process that takes you from that initial idea to a completed song can be long, meaning that the number of good (finished) songs you write per month might be relatively low – maybe 1 or 2. Your instincts might tell you that the easiest way to become a more prolific songwriter […]

Tips for Writing a Verse-Refrain-Bridge Song

Writing a song that’s mainly a set of verses, each one ending with a pay-off line, has a simplicity that really works well. The pay-off line– a refrain — often sneaks into the song at first, without it being obvious that it’s operating as a powerful closer that’s going to keep coming back. Bruce Springsteen’s “All That […]

Guitar, paper & pencil, smartphone

Dealing With “I Can’t Finish a Song” Syndrome

We tend to think that the only people with any measure of musical ability are the ones that have a special gift for it. And while being a good musician requires a bit more than a passing understanding of how music works, musicianship is something that comes with being human. It’s in our DNA. The kind […]