Musical instruments for songwriting

Using Different Instruments to Write Better Songs

If you use one particular instrument to write all your songs, you’re likely running up against a problem: all your songs start to sound the same. I just wrote about song similarity in my most recent post (“Working On Several Tunes to Avoid Excessive Song Similarity“), in which I suggest that one great way to […]

Working On Several Tunes to Avoid Excessive Song Similarity

If you’re still struggling with the fact that all your songs sound similar, the first step in dealing with it might be not to worry: a bit of similarity is not necessarily something that needs to be avoided. After all, if you listen to any hit group, you’re going to notice at least some similarities, and […]

Genesis - Wind & Wuthering

Downward-Moving Verse Melodies, and When They’re a Good Idea

When you look at a typical verse melody, it’s probably most common that you’ll notice that the typical direction is upward, particularly if you compare the first few notes to the final few before the chorus hits. It’s time well spent to look deeper, though, at how good verse melodies move, because where the voice […]

Concert audience

Bach and Today’s Songwriters – Not So Far Apart

Tonight I have the thrill of conducting a performance of J.S. Bach’s “St. John Passion,” so I’ve had my head a little out of songwriting world while concentrating on preparing for that performance. I’ve mentioned Bach often on this blog in the past. And mostly because the way Bach composed is not that far off from […]

Band in rehearsal

Dealing With “To Be Continued” in Songwriting

When I’m watching a drama on network television, I know that I have to deal with constant stoppages in the action. It’s those commercial breaks that pay the bills, and so they’re important. Those commercial breaks probably make TV executives very nervous: it’s during the breaks that I’m most likely to switch stations and try […]

Sam Smith - I'm Not the Only One

Creating a Verse and Chorus Over the Same Chord Progression

It sometimes amazes me how different a verse and chorus can be from each other. The classic example of this is probably Paul Simon’s “My Little Town“, which features a long meandering verse with a complex chord progression, syncopations and changing time signatures. The chorus changes character almost completely, offering a very short, catchy hook […]