Paul Simon

More Thoughts on Uniqueness, Conformity, and Artistic Value in Songwriting

Monday’s blog post, “Uniqueness is a Powerful and Necessary Element in Good Songwriting”, got me thinking a lot more about the challenges of writing something singular within a particular genre, and so think of this post as a kind of “Part 2” to that article: One thing that practically all artistic works have in common, […]

guitarist - songwriter

Does It Matter Which Process You Use to Start the Writing of Songs?

When a songwriter is asked the question, “How do you start a song?”, they usually mean, “Which element of a song (lyrics, melody, chords, etc.) do you work on as your first step?” That element then becomes the identifier for a particular songwriting process: a “lyrics-first process”, a “melody-first process”, and so on. No matter […]

Songwriter

Five Steps to Making Words Singable

Do you find it reasonably easy to write words (lyrics, poetry, etc.), but when you try to create songs with those words, everything sounds corny, random, and just plain bad? You read the words, and they sound just fine; you try singing them, and they sound a bit lame. The best songwriters are best because of […]

Songwriter - Guitarist

Fine-Tuning Your Songwriting

I’m a trumpet player, though these days I do more writing and conducting than trumpet playing. Back when I was starting out, I was in final rehearsals for a one-off orchestra I had been hired to play in. I noticed that the principal trumpeter had a small ring of brass — sort of doughnut-shaped –that […]

songwriter

How to Create Forward Motion Within a Song

Forward motion is a term that refers to the sense of musical energy in a song. In real terms, forward motion is what makes a listener want to keep listening to a song. In other words, the listener wants to believe that as good as the song is at this moment, it’s going to sound […]

Keyboardist songwriter

Chords or Melody: Where Should You Put Your Focus?

Some songwriters start their process by working out a good chord progression as a first step. From there, they automatically create a backing rhythm that brings that progression to life. Once they’ve done that, the mood it generates makes them feel comfortable coming up with bits of melody and lyric, and the song starts to […]