The Beatles - Help!

Reversed Versions of Songs… a Writer’s Block Antidote?

Who knew that posting backwards versions of songs on YouTube was a thing? I came across a channel called “The Beatles Reversed”, and listened to a backwards version of “Help!” I’m not sure what the reason would be, and it should be noted that the channel has only 1.7k subscribers, so it doesn’t seem to […]

Guitar in a nature setting

Songwriting, and the Power of Holding Back

This blog article is a bit of a ramble, so I hope you’ll forgive me for letting my musical mind wander a bit! Sometimes when I look at a painting, I find myself wondering what I’m not seeing. It might be that the painting is a landscape — a winding river with a grassy hill […]

John Legend - Nervous

How Controlling Musical Energy Keeps People Listening

There are some songs, when you compare the start of the song to the end of it, make it obvious what we mean by musical energy. “Stairway to Heaven” is a great example: it starts very quietly, uses subdued acoustic guitar and recorders, with a nostalgic, mid-range vocal approach. The hook is probably the most […]

Tom Petty

Making Verse 2 Stand Out From Verse 1

For songs that use one of the verse-chorus formats, you’ll know that verses usually use the same melody but different lyrics. Occasionally you’ll find a song that uses different melodies in the verses — “I Know What I like (In Your Wardrobe)“, by Genesis for example, or a song with the same lyrics in subsequent […]

Tom Petty

Creating Musical Energy When You Use the Same Melody For Verse and Chorus

“The Essential Secrets of Songwriting” eBook bundle includes “Writing a Song From a Chord Progression”. Learn how to write great songs by starting with the chords, and then avoiding all the potential pitfalls of the chords-first songwriting process. Recently I wrote about the importance of musical energy in all songs, whether they’re loud or soft, and that […]

George Harrison

Musical Energy is More Than High Volume and Fast Tempos

In my songwriting eBooks, particularly “The Essential Secrets of Songwriting”, I list eleven different principles of songwriting — aspects of music that seem to be present in practically all songs, regardless of genre or other performance-related characteristics. One of those principles is this: “In general, the energy at the end of a song should equal […]