Keyboard and Headphones

Songwriting Simplicity is Good; Mindlessness Not So Much

If you ask someone my age (a child of the 1960s, a teen of the 1970s) what they think of today’s pop music, you’ll probably get an earful. Most negative opinions of today’s music will come down to the fact that songs today seem uninspiring, noisy and mindless. “The melodies aren’t interesting”; “The chords are […]

Derek & the Dominos - Layla

How Many Unique Elements Make a Good Song Tune?

Pop songs are typically 3 or 4 minutes in length. And because this is not a long bit of time we’re talking about, it can be a problem if you put too many ideas together when you write that song. Think of it as a kind of musical “economy.” You’ll use one melody for the […]

Tom Petty

How Making a Line Drawing of Your Melody Makes It Better

The best song melodies are the ones that have a definable shape. You may not have ever thought of a melody in terms of its shape, but all that means is that good melodies: use recognizable, memorable patterns, and… can be described generally when it comes to its overall design. Let’s look at those two […]

Simon & Garfunkel

Writing a Rock Anthem – The Important Characteristics

It’s hard to define what a rock anthem is. It’s the sort of song form that you recognize when you hear it, though. The most important quality of an anthem is probably universality: the notion that everyone could join in and sing the chorus together, and feel a sense of camaraderie and celebration for doing […]

songwriting frustration

Moving Beyond That One Good Song Idea

It’s a common problem for most songwriters at one time or another: you come up with something that’s really catchy, and sounds like the start of a killer song. But then… nothing. You just can’t seem to move beyond that catchy fragment of music. What can you do? On track to make songwriting a full-time […]

songwriter

Troubleshooting a Song That’s Missing the Mark

If you’ve written a song that seemed to start with great promise, but now that it’s finished it sounds downright boring, it may be hard to put your finger on exactly what the problem is. But solving the problem is crucial, because it’s possible that you’re doing something wrong that’s been affecting all the songs […]