Bruce Springsteen

Allowing a Chorus to Grab Attention When the Verse Uses the Same Melody

A few articles back I gave some advice on what to consider when you’re trying to write a good chorus hook (“Creating Effective Song Hooks“). But what do you do when your verse and chorus use the same or very similar melody? How can a chorus hook do its job if the verse is using […]

Eric Clapton

A Change of Tempo Can Help You Blast Through a Creative Logjam

When you’re dealing with a creative block, you’ve probably discovered that making a big change in your songwriting process can be rewarding, and you’ve likely tried most of them: Speedwriting (stream of consciousness). Composing on a new (or otherwise unfamiliar) instrument. Partnering up with another songwriter. Changing key from major to minor, or vice versa. […]

Singer - Songwriter

The Best Song Lyrics Have Emotions That Arrive in Waves

Even if a song is about something emotional (love, deep friendship, death of a loved one, etc.), it doesn’t work so well to have that lyric be deeply emotional all the time. If all the audience hears is heart-wrenching feelings from beginning to end, it starts to dull its own effect. It’s far better to have […]

Adele

Creating Moods In a Song is More Than Major Versus Minor

It’s a stereotypical notion that major keys sound happy and minor keys sound sad. In reality, it takes a lot more than simply choosing major or minor. You can have sad songs in major keys (“Someone Like You” – Adele, Dan Wilson), and you can have happy songs in minor keys (“Happy ‘Cause I’m Going […]

Foster the People

Identifying Your Song’s Climactic Moment

Most songs have a moment that can be identified as being its climactic moment. More often than not, it’s somewhere toward the end. Climactic moments are sometimes easy to identify: “Bridge Over Troubled Water” (Paul Simon): You can hear the song constantly building, and, like many songs, is really a series of climactic moments, each […]

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 […]