Guitarist - songwriter

Fixing Your Songs When You Can’t Identify the Problem

One of the biggest challenges in writing good music is figuring out why the song you’re writing isn’t working. You feel that it started with such promise, but now everything sounds lame. Probably the best thing you can do for a song that isn’t working is the easiest thing: play it for someone. Preferably play […]

Piano keyboard and guitar

Tips for Songwriters: Avoiding Accidental Plagiarism

Given the few notes within an octave and the millions of songs that have been written using them, accidental plagiarism is a constant companion for most songwriters. Every time you come up with a great songwriting idea — especially something that you really like — you’re immediately wondering if you’ve stolen the idea from an […]

Guitar and Notepad - Songwriting schedule

An Incomplete Song Is Not a Failure

As a songwriter, when the song you’re working on seems to be going nowhere, it’s a source of great discouragement. You find yourself facing a day of reckoning: Do you keep going with it, or do you declare it a dud and toss it? There is another option: put it aside, and revisit it at some […]

Piano - songwriter - theory

Writing a Song With Unrelated Sections

You might assume that a verse should have some connection to the chorus that follows it — something that makes the verse and chorus sound like musical partners. Creating musical partners of various sorts is usually a goal in good songwriting. But (with the possible exception of the lyrics) it is possible to write a verse and […]

Singer-Songwriter

Pop Songwriting: Perfecting the Miniature Musical Form

Songs are short. Most of them, anyway. And by short, I mean usually less than four minutes. That may seem like an insignificant detail that’s hardly worth mentioning, but the shortness of songs is a kind of musical challenge: in a very short period of time, you need to offer the audience a complete musical […]

Adele

Creating Moods In a Song is More Than Major Versus Minor

It’s a stereotypical notion that major keys sound happy and minor keys sound sad. In reality, it takes a lot more than simply choosing major or minor. You can have sad songs in major keys (“Someone Like You” – Adele, Dan Wilson), and you can have happy songs in minor keys (“Happy ‘Cause I’m Going […]