Songwriting Principle No. 6: All Song Elements Must Work TOGETHER

Many songwriters become fixated on one aspect of a song, to the detriment of the others. In my experience, more songwriters worry about their chord progressions than anything else. If you find chords hard to come up with, that fixation may make sense. But the most important element of a song may not actually be any […]

Songwriting Principle No. 3: Chord Progressions- What Makes a STRONG One?

You might think that when I talk about “strong” progressions I’m really talking about “good” ones, but that’s not what I’m referring to. A strong chord progression has a particular set of characteristics that contrast with the other category: fragile progressions.Good songs use a combination of strong and fragile progressions.  So what is the principle […]

Songwriting Principle No. 2: Energy Propels Your Song Forward

When we speak of the energy of a song, it’s probably obvious what we’re talking about. In short, it’s that unseen force within a songthat causes our body to move with the music. All songs have energy, even the very quiet, serene ones. The successful song does not deal so much with how much energy a […]

Songwriting Principle No. 1: Contrast Makes or Breaks Your Song

When I wrote “The Essential Secrets of Songwriting”, I researched long and hard about what makes good songs; why some songs work so well, while others seem to fall flat. In my preparation for writing the book, I developed a list of what I considered to be the primary principles of successful songs. There are eleven of […]

Use Slash Chords to Make Chord Progressions More Interesting

Simply put, inverting a triad (chord) means to put a note other than the root of a chord as your bottomost note. You might know them as “slash chords.” Used well, inversions can give direction to your chord changes, and make them sound like they’ve got a real purpose for being there. Here’s how it works: If you’re following a […]

Writer's Block – What To Do When Your Songwriting Ideas Dry Up

It’s a situation that hits every songwriter, no matter how good, no matter how experienced: writer’s block. You strum away on your guitar or try different chord combinations on the piano, to no avail. And it can leave you feeling that writing a song is about as far from fun as a visit to the dentist. […]