Guitar and Piano

How Bridge Chords Work in Most Songs

A bridge (or middle-8) is the section that usually follows the second chorus of a song. Back in the earlier days of rock & roll, that bridge was likely to be strictly an 8-bar section, but these days the definition has allowed for a lot more creativity. In general, though, you can expect a bridge […]

Guitar - songwriting

Getting Control of the Character of Your Songs

What do we mean by a song’s “character?” In most cases, we’re talking about the mood or feel that we pick up from it. And we have all sorts of words that might otherwise be described as “character” words: “gentle”, “edgy”, “aggressive”, “laid back”, “dark”, and so on. Whether we know it or not, a […]

The songwriting journey

Making Each Song You Write a Unique Musical Journey

Not all artforms are processed the same way in our brains. You might, for example, choose a particular painting to hang in your living room, one that you really like looking at. And you’re fine with seeing it “all the time.” Every time you go into your living room, there it is. It’s a nice […]

Joni Mitchell

Theme and Variations as a Songwriting Technique

A common musical form that classical composers have loved for centuries is theme and variations; a melody is repeated, changed in some way, but still similar enough to the original that it’s recognizable. It was a measure of a composer’s musical imagination, and fun for an audience to hear what might happen next with the […]

Sting - Every Breath You Take

After Verse and Chorus Chords, What To Do About the Bridge?

Most pop songs, and all the related genres such as folk, country, etc., use simple, strong chord progressions. In fact, when you go back and look at complex prog rock tunes from the early to mid-seventies, you might be surprised to see that chord choice is not nearly as adventurous as you might think. Complex […]

John Legend

Using Opposite Approaches For Your Verse and Chorus

As listeners of music, we like to hear contrasting ideas as a song progresses, even if we’re not consciously aware of it. In songwriting, a contrasting idea might mean something like this: one part of a melody that’s harmonized mainly with minor chords, followed by a section harmonized with mostly major ones. Contrast in a […]