Balancing the Strange With the Predictable

Download “The Essential Secrets of Songwriting” 6-book bundle, and FINE-TUNE your songwriting skills! ________________________ Most of the songs that become hits in any generation display a mixture of innovative elements with a dose of predictability. But in fact, the balance is very much toward the predictable. Most hit songs sound, in their day, like most […]

Expanding Your Songwriting World

Download “The Essential Secrets of Songwriting” 6-book bundle, and FINE-TUNE your songwriting skills! You’re a songwriter because you enjoy it. It’s your creative outlet, your way of putting your musical imagination to work. Whether you’re a member of a band, or you simply write songs for your own use and pleasure, songwriting is, for you, […]

Using a Pre-chorus to Build Anticipation

A verse needs to progress in such a way as to make the chorus feel like the next logical step. By this I mean that verse lyrics, melody and chords should be constructed to build certain tensions that are then resolved in the chorus. But sometimes, moving from the verse to the chorus can seem […]

Demanding Attention in the Songwriting World

Part of my job is to conduct performing groups, mostly choirs and orchestras these days. I find myself often using a phrase with performers of music which has particular relevance to the songwriting world: “Don’t let the fact that you’re the only sound going on in the room be the reason why people are listening.” […]

Make Your Lyrics Better: Find the Natural Pulse

Most song lyrics fall into one of two categories: 1) poetry, or 2) common narrative. My experience is that songwriters often worry too much about trying to create something poetic, when it’s not really necessary. You don’t need to be a T. S. Eliot or a Longfellow to write a lyric that gets the job […]

Creating and Using Palindromic Chord Progressions

Chord progressions are like clothes, in the sense that you usually want your shirt to coordinate with your trousers, and you similarly want your verse progressions to work with your chorus ones. One way we coordinate progressions is to use many of the same chords, but usually in a different order in the various sections […]