Guitarist - songwriter

Songwriting: Creating Instant Gratification

One thing all pop music subgenres have in common, with the possible exception of progressive rock, is that the songs are short. Most of the time you need to offer your audience a complete work of artistic expression that lasts four minutes or less. In the creative arts, that’s not very long. Back in the […]

Band in rehearsal

Getting Chords to Support the Mood of the Lyric

As a songwriter you likely already know the importance of having a strong partnership between the melodies you write and chords underneath them. That partnership between melody and chords is a crucial one. But don’t forget that lyrics are an important member of that partnership. And in that regard, the chords you choose can have […]

Piano and guitar - songwriter

Chord Advice For Starting a Song’s Bridge

One of the reasons that you might add a bridge to your song is that it can make it just a bit longer, if all you’ve got is a couple of verses. So if, by the time you’ve reached the end of your second go-through of the chorus, you feel that your song would sound […]

Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers

Using Melodic Direction to Act as Musical Glue

Though for the best part of my music career I analyze songs and pull them apart to better understand them, I’m just like any other consumer of music: I want to be entertained. That means when I listen to music, I’m not always critiquing. Sometimes, like you, I just want to sit back and enjoy what […]

James Taylor

Stealing (Not Stealing) Songs

A number of years ago I wrote a blog post called “Deliberately Sounding Like Your Songwriting Hero.” In it, I advocated pretending that you were your favourite songwriter, trying to write a song that would sound to everyone else that it was written by that person. The reason was a simple one: It would focus […]