Band rehearsal

5 Powerful Minor Key Progressions

Most of us succumb to a kind of “muscle memory” when it comes to writing music. We tend to favour certain styles, certain tempos, even certain keys. To a degree, this isn’t a bad thing, and it’s to be expected. The fact that we favour this or that way of writing is what having a […]

Piano - Songwriting

Giving Your Song a New Identity

Have you ever written one of those songs that just doesn’t work, no matter what you seem to do to it? Of course, the most common solution is to put it aside, maybe forget about it, and get on with your next one. Before you give up entirely on that song that isn’t measuring up, […]

Major Key Brightness in a Minor Key Verse

It’s a common technique for songwriters to write a verse that sits mainly in a minor key, and then switch to a major key for the chorus. The main reason for this kind of minor-to-major relationship working so well is that it considerably brightens the sound of a song. If you think of the verse […]

Alabama 3

Writing a Song that Moves From Dorian Mode to Major Key

As you likely know, it’s not unusual for songwriters to create songs where the verse is in a minor key or mode (often aeolian mode), and then switch to a major key (usually the relative major) for the chorus. A classic example is Carol King’s “You’ve Got a Friend“, the verse of which is in […]

Frustrated songwriter

Controlling An Audience’s Mood With Your Songs

How do you make people think something with music? It’s amazing that simply hearing the air vibrate can do that, but such is the strength of being a member of the human race. I’ve mentioned on this blog before that some songwriters, like Paul Simon, like to compose music (melody and chords) and then decide […]

R.E.M. Everybody Hurts

Why Sad Music Makes Us Feel Happy

As a songwriter, it wouldn’t be unusual to devote a lot of time to thinking about how to make your audience happy. You’re probably opting for fast tempos, major chords, and lyrics with an upbeat message. But you might be missing something: the positive effect that writing sad music can have on your audience. In 2013 […]