Be Careful With Sadness in Sad Songs

There’s something about reliving bad moments in our lives that we find good, in a weird sort of way. Sad songs work for that reason, and in fact, a recent study shows that we love to be reminded of sadness in our lives, if those reminders happen in song. If you’re trying to make your […]

Guitarist - Songwriter - Lyricist

In Songwriting, Definitions Aren’t the Same as Meanings

If you want to know what a word means, you’ll look it up in a dictionary. So we say that a dictionary gives us the meaning. But not in the music world. Not to split hairs, but if you’re a songwriter, looking a word up in the dictionary gives you the definition, not the meaning. […]

Guitar, Pencil & Paper

What Causes Musical Boredom?

There’s probably nothing worse to you as a songwriter than discovering that people are bored with your songs. If you’re like most, you’d rather have a split between people loving and people hating your music. But boring your audience? That’s pretty bad. Your fans will likely be unmotivated to say why your songs are boring them, […]

The One and Only Reason That People Stop Listening

I remember a university prof years ago asking us fledgling students a question: What is the one thing that all pieces of music ever written have in common? You might think that it’s a pretty easy question. Obviously, all music involves sound, right? No. John Cage’s “4’33” is a work in which the performer (usually […]

Guitarist - songwriter

Writing Songs that Keep People Listening to the End

Good moments in music are good because they make us believe that even better moments are coming, and so we want to keep listening. The inverse of that is true as well: bad moments in music make us believe that nothing better is coming, and so we give up listening and click to hear something […]

Gotye

Improving Your Verse Lyric By Reading It Aloud

You’ll often hear that the verse is where you tell the story in your song. Most of the time, however, a song verse tells its story in a roundabout sort of way. There are the songs we call story songs – the ones that give a specific account of events in a sequence we’re used to when we […]