Generating Momentum Is Job #1 in Songwriting

Momentum in the songwriting world comes from the sense that whatever is happening in the song right now is about to get better; whatever questions are being asked are about to be answered; whatever tension is being created harmonically is about to be resolved, and so on. Momentum, otherwise known as song energy or forward motion, […]

Make Your Lyrics Better: Find the Natural Pulse

Most song lyrics fall into one of two categories: 1) poetry, or 2) common narrative. My experience is that songwriters often worry too much about trying to create something poetic, when it’s not really necessary. You don’t need to be a T. S. Eliot or a Longfellow to write a lyric that gets the job […]

6 Ways of Dealing With That Dreaded Scourge: Writer's Block

No matter how proficient a songwriter you are, it will happen. You’ll go through a protracted period of time where the ideas just seem to dry up, and you can’t seem to get beyond a few unrelated musical thoughts that go nowhere. Writer’s block hits everyone, but the good news is that there are things […]

Limiting The Number of Ideas Within a Song

If you were to give a speech, you’d first establish what you should be talking about, limiting yourself to a small number of related ideas. You’d then present those ideas to an audience. Once you’ve presented the ideas in general terms, you’d develop and expand on them in (hopefully) interesting ways. You’d likely then finish […]

How to Generate Lyrical Excitement in Your Song's Bridge

In common usage, a bridge is the section of a song that usually comes after the second chorus: Verse 1 – Chorus – Verse 2 – Chorus – BRIDGE – Chorus – Chorus… You’ll sometimes see this section termed the “middle 8”, but the concept is the same: you’re looking for a way to provide […]

The Inspiring Impact of the Rising Bass Line

Lately I’ve been examining the effect that chord choice, tempo and melodic shape can have on lyrical meaning and mood. There’s another song attribute that can affect mood: the direction of the bass line. In particular, I want to look at the power of the rising bass line, because it can give your songs a […]