When You Can’t Tell If You’re Hearing a Verse, a Chorus, or Something Else

Constructing songs so that we hear verses, choruses, bridges, and so on, is a good and easy way to ensure that your music incorporates contrast. Even before hearing a particular song, we know that the chorus is likely to be higher in pitch, that the chorus chords will probably be stronger and shorter than the verse, […]

Toggling Back and Forth Between Fragile and Strong

I use the word “fragile” when talking about certain kinds of chord progressions. “Fragile” usually means that the tonic chord less than obvious. In that context, here’s a list of chord progression characteristics that might result in a “fragile” progression: “Fragile” may mean that it uses a lot of chords that don’t exist naturally in the song’s key. For […]

Gregorian

The Seemingly Eternal Characteristics of Good Song Melodies

If you were to ask me to describe what makes a good song melody, I’d probably tell you this: On the whole, when you look at songs that have made their mark and have been held up as iconic representations of their genre, the following is usually true: They move in a mainly stepwise way. […]

Lady Gaga - Till It Happens to You

The Musical Choices in “Til It Happens to You”

You really have to admire the producers of “Hunting Ground,” the 2015 documentary about rape on college campuses, for presenting a difficult topic with such unblinking honesty, courage and power. Just watching the film trailer will change you, assuming you didn’t already know the scope of the problem. Lady Gaga teamed up with hit songwriter […]

How Symmetry Works in a Typical Song

Gary Ewer’s “The Essential Secrets of Songwriting” eBook Bundle packages” cover every aspect of how to write great music. They include“From Amateur to Ace: Writing Songs Like a Pro” Read more.. __________ As humans, we’re pattern-seekers. We like seeing things repeat, and we love when we see symmetry: mirror images. Bookends on a shelf are a good example […]

Don't Let the Quest For a Polished Demo Distract You

These days, so-called “demos” tend to sound almost like finished products. You only have to go back one generation to find that demos used to be pretty rough around the edges, meant to give a general sense of the possibilities. The performers, along with a smart producer, could turn that mess into gold. I try to […]