songwriter

Your Favourite Part: Does Your Song Have a WOW Moment?

For every song you know, you likely can name a favourite part — something specific about that song you really like. Sometimes, it may just be a single word, and the way the singer performs it. It might be a specific line in a guitar solo, or even just one note in that solo. If […]

John Legend

The Benefit of Leaving Lyrics to the Last Step

It’s a good idea to come up with a song topic and perhaps a few snippets of lyric fairly early in the songwriting process. Having the topic gives you a direction for your musical mind, and every line of lyric you generate adds to your song’s character. Thousands of songwriters are using “The Essential Secrets […]

songwriter - guitarist

Too Much of a Good Thing

This post contains some additional thoughts on my previous post about motifs. As you know, a motif is a repeating figure (melodic, rhythmic, or any other musical fragment) that adds strength to the structure of a song. But it begs the question: is it possible for a song to feature too many repeating things? When is […]

Big Star - Thirteen

Writing Melodies to Match the Mood of Your Lyrics

Once in a while I look back in my blog archive just to remind myself of the kinds of things I was writing about a few years ago. I came across an analysis I did in 2013 of the song “Thirteen”, by Big Star, which they wrote and recorded in 1971. That’s a song that still […]

songwriter's challenges

Starting Songs: Building On that First Idea

A common stumbling block for songwriters is: how to continue a song once that initial song idea has been created. It can feel very discouraging, because often that first song idea happens easily, and you feel excited for what’s to come. And then… nothing. I wrote about this a week or so ago, and in […]

Guitar and piano

Revoicing Your Chords to Find Better Melodies

Historically, music was all about melody, not chord progressions. In fact, if you go back in time a few hundred years, let’s say to the 1400s or 1500s, the concept of “harmony” was a bit different from what we have today. In those days, “harmony” was what happened when various melodies were played at the […]