Imogen Heap

Finding Opposites Within Your Songs

There’s an analogy to be found that applies well to songwriting when you look at someone walking: as the right leg moves forward, the left leg moves back. If you haven’t noticed that before, you haven’t been paying attention. 😉 In music, a similar thing happens, though you may have to look a little harder […]

Shawn Mendes

The Same Melody From Different Angles

This is something that doesn’t necessarily occur to casual listeners to pop music: the number of times we hear a melody that’s really just the same short 4- or 5-note cell that gets repeated over and over with different chords underneath. Like starting the songwriting process by working out the chords first? There are benefits […]

Guitar - chords - songwriter

Fitting Melodies to Chords, and Vice Versa

Melody notes only sound right if the chords underneath them fit properly. If you’re a chords-first songwriter, you need to say it the other way — chords only sound right if the melody you eventually write fits them. But in any case, good songs are a partnership between melodies and chords, and then they need to […]

Songwriter-Guitarist

7 Ways Chord Progressions Affect the Mood of Your Music

If you’re like many songwriters, coming up with a solid progression that supports the mood of your song is an important first step in the songwriting process. The process usually looks bit like this: Improvise (either on guitar or keyboard) some chords that work well together. Find a catchy rhythm that makes those chords sound […]

Keyboardist songwriter

Instrumental Music: What Do You Want Your Listeners to Hum?

A number of years ago when I was looking to buy a house, the real estate agent I was using was explaining some of the terminology to me. I found it humorous, for some reason, to find out that the term “improvement” was used to describe the house I was considering. As I understand it, […]

Guitarist - Songwriter

When a Song Fails, It’s Usually For One of These Reasons

In the long run, it’s probably more important to know why a song fails than why a song succeeds. When a song is great, your most important job is to move on and get the next tune happening. But when a song fails, you could be doomed to repeat that failure — if it’s failing […]