Singer songwriter

Humming to Fix a Melody

The quality of a song’s melody rates pretty high when it comes to listing elements of a song that are most easily recognizable by people. It’s what we hum, so it’s important. How hummable are your song melodies? Here’s something you should try with any song for which you’ve spent any time at all working […]

Writing great song lyrics

Lyrics and the Natural Pulse

When lyrics sound like they’re not working, you’ll want to check out the up-and-down of the emotional content. Good lyrics start by being observational and narrative in nature, and then move to being responsive and emotional. And that holds true no matter what genre of music you call your own. Beyond that, the next most […]

Songwriter - editing music

The Partnership of Musical Elements Within Good Songs

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a blog post about song hooks, and how to diagnose problems you might be having with the hook for your song: “When Your Song’s Hook Isn’t Doing Its Job.” In that article I gave a list of four important characteristics of good hooks. “Hooks and Riffs: How They […]

Chord Progressions: Uniqueness is Not All That Necessary (Or Possible)

There are certain progressions — certain combinations of chords — you’re more likely to see in songs written by a 21st century pop songwriter than you might with a Classical musician. But check out these two progressions and try to figure out which one was used by Romantic era composer almost 150 years ago, and […]

Songwriter - Pianist

When Your Song’s Hook Isn’t Doing Its Job

A hook has several defining attributes that all partner together to make it memorable and catchy: It’s main identifying characteristic is its shortness, making it easy to remember. It has a melodic component that frequently includes some sort of leap, usually upward (“Born in the U.S.A.”). It has a rhythmic component that frequently includes a […]

How Interesting Your Chords Are Isn’t the Most Important Part of a Song

However you start the songwriting process, you’re likely starting with the aspect of music with which you feel most comfortable. Start with lyrics? You probably find words easy to combine and finesse. Start with chords? You likely feel most comfortable setting the mood and colour of the music. If you’re a chords-first songwriter, you’re probably […]