Writing Songs That Use Three Simple Melodies

I’ve recently returned to listening to an album that really impressed me when it was released in 2015: “Carrie & Lowell,” by American singer-songwriter Sufjan Stevens. I hope you take the time to give it a listen. What I love the most about it is its transparency of sound. With simple guitar and keyboard accompaniments, […]

Sketching Ideas Before the Songwriting Begins

How often does sketching become part of your songwriting process? And what does that term mean to you? In most of the creative art forms, sketching is vital. Whether you’re a novelist creating character sketches, a choreographer sketching out a dance routine, or an artist getting ideas for a new painting, sketching has two main purposes: […]

Copying Professional Songwriters as a Songwriting Technique

I’ve frequently written about the value of writing music that sounds like your songwriting hero, but it begs an important question: Aren’t you just running the risk of plagiarizing something they’ve written? And it begs a second more important question: Why is that even good advice? Why would you write to purposely sound like someone […]

Elton John

Sometimes Principles Confuse Us

Lately it seems that I’ve been getting a lot of comments, both through email and in the comments section at the ends of various posts, questioning some of the various songwriting principles I write about. Mainly, a comment will go something like this: “You say that chorus progressions are shorter than verse progressions, but I […]

Singer-Songwriter - Recording Studio

Songwriting, the Warts and All

It seems that the era of one song-one songwriter is quickly passing us by. There really aren’t many hit songs that are written by one songwriter anymore. Part of the reason for that is that how we assign credit has changed. In the 60s, for example, you might, as part of the band, suggest a different […]

Peter Gabriel - Car

3 Big Tips For Making More Interesting Chord Progressions.

Every once in a while I take a look at the visitor stats for my blog, and especially take note of which pages — and in particular the topics — are the most popular. Typically it’s been articles about chords that get the most attention – usually 6 out of the 7 top posts. So […]