songwriter improvising melodies and chords

Improving Your Ability to Imagine Melodies

If the songs you write come about as a result of improvising — either by yourself or with other songwriters/players — you probably find that the various components of a song come together in layers. A bit of this, a bit of that, and it all eventually glues together. If you’re writing songs by yourself, […]

Taking the Time Component Out of Your Song

Time is the one thing all music has in common. Whether we’re talking about a symphony, a pop song, a jazz ballad — whether it’s hip hop, ska, r&b — all music takes time. A start, a middle, and an ending. When we’re writing a song, we’re (either consciously or subconsciously) always considering some aspect […]

Singer-Songwriter - Recording Studio

Opting for a Refrain Instead of a Chorus

In common usage within the pop genres, a refrain is a closing line at the end of a verse, usually used in place of a chorus. A classic example is Bob Dylan’s “The Times They Are a-Changin’”. “Chord Progression Formulas” shows you how to create dozens of great progressions practically instantly by using some powerful […]

Guitar and music paper - Songwriting

Keep Looking: Second Ideas are Often Better Than First Ones

If you’ve had that happy circumstance where, while trying to write a song, you get some amazing ideas that appear all at once, and you manage to write that new song in one siting, within a half hour or so, I think that’s wonderful. It’s also rare. If hooks seem elusive when you’re trying to […]

Song melodies

3 Tips For Generating Melodic Ideas

Some songwriters have a flair for coming up with just the right tune. Most of the time, the best melodies are good because they partner so well with the lyric, and of course with the chord progression. But even with those elements in place, it can still be hard to write a great tune. So […]

Fitting Parts Together to Create a Song

Most of the time, you write songs where all the sections (verse, chorus, etc.) are written as part of the same process. You might write a chorus hook, and then you work on a verse that will partner well with it, and so on. But you likely have bits of songs that you’ve written over […]