Joni Mitchell

Controlling the Mood of a Song

Mood is one of the first things that’s conveyed by music. Listeners pick up the mood via the partnership of all the various song components, but mostly through: key choice (major versus minor); tempo; melodic shape; instrumental choices and effects; lyrics. I purposely placed lyrics at the bottom of that list, even though the lyrics […]

Yes - Roundabout

How Simplicity Makes for Good Songs

Some of the best songs ever written have a noticeable core of simplicity about them. Songs where the melody is easy to remember and easy to hum means that audiences are more likely to hum it as they go about their day. Simplicity is part of the reason that we find it so easy to […]

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 […]

Musical instruments for songwriting

Using Different Instruments to Write Better Songs

If you use one particular instrument to write all your songs, you’re likely running up against a problem: all your songs start to sound the same. I just wrote about song similarity in my most recent post (“Working On Several Tunes to Avoid Excessive Song Similarity“), in which I suggest that one great way to […]

Singer - Open mic

Music From a Different Angle Can Help Cure Writer’s Block

If you find that you just can’t finish any song you start these days, give yourself a break from writing before the frustrations get too deep. It’s often a good time to involve yourself in music, but from a completely different angle. If most of the music you write comes about by playing around with […]

Paul Simon

Giving Your Songs A Noticeable Point of Focus

When you look at paintings, you’ll notice that most of them have a noticeable point of focus — the area of the canvas that your eye gets drawn toward. Music is not much different; in most songs, you’ll notice that there’s a point of focus. The only difference is that in songs, you usually have […]