Bruno Mars - The Lazy Song

Making the Best Use of Motifs in Your Songwriting

For most songwriters, defining a hook is simple: it’s that catchy bit that makes up the main part of the chorus. It usually comes back over and over because that’s what choruses do — they reappear after every verse, and then again after the bridge. A hook is good if it has a melodic shape […]

Guitar, Pencil & Paper

Getting Ideas When a Line of Lyric is Missing

One bad line of lyric can make an entire verse or chorus sound lame. So what do you do when you’ve got a verse that you really like, except that there’s that one line that just seems to be elusive: you just can’t come up with anything. It might be that the line in question […]

Songwriting and Line Drawing

I’ve written a few articles on this blog about the notion of drawing a line that represents your melody (like this article I wrote a few years ago). It’s not just that it’s kind of neat to see your melody sketched out as a line; there is a real purpose and benefit from seeing your […]

Gotye - Eyes Wide Open

5 Tips For Writing a More Focused Lyric

It’s important to realize that what you’re dealing with in songwriting is getting an audience to feel something, more so than telling a story. True, your song will involve telling a kind of story– a lover who tosses you away, or perhaps a plea to the world for more kindness — but what it comes down […]

Focusing Lyrics With a Good Payoff Line

The purpose of a payoff line is to provide a point of focus for your lyric, and, by extension, a purpose for your song. It’s a kind of hook that is delivered by the lyric. When a listener hears a good payoff line, their subconscious reaction is, so that’s what the song’s really about. (Example: […]

Guitar and Piano - Creating a Melody and Bass Line

Songwriting: Working Out the Melody and Bass Line

The composer Mozart almost always composed by finding a catchy melody as a first step, and then finding a bass line that supported it. Filling in all the missing instruments was, for him, something closer to a final step in composition. We can infer two things from this kind of compositional process: He considered melody […]