Little Richard

Why Pattern Recognition is So Important in Good Songwriting

Psychologists will tell you that pattern recognition is a bit of an area of expertise for most humans. Our brains just seem to be wired to seek out any and all occurrences of patterns. We get a kind of pleasure from seeing and experiencing patterns. So many songs in the pop genres succeed or fail […]

Bob Marley

Solidifying Chorus Rhythms to Help the Chorus Hook

Try this little experiment the next time you’re listening to music on the radio. Put your radio in an automatic scan mode, where it moves through the dial, stopping on radio stations as it finds them, and then plays 7 or 8 seconds before moving on. As it stops at each new station (and assuming […]

Songwriting Inspiration

Four Ways to Make a Song More Memorable

A number of years ago Paul McCartney was asked in an interview about writing songs, and particularly, “What if you can’t remember what you came up with in your previous songwriting session?” McCartney’s answer was something like, “Well, John and I thought that if we couldn’t remember it, it probably wasn’t very good in the […]

Tom Petty

How Making a Line Drawing of Your Melody Makes It Better

The best song melodies are the ones that have a definable shape. You may not have ever thought of a melody in terms of its shape, but all that means is that good melodies: use recognizable, memorable patterns, and… can be described generally when it comes to its overall design. Let’s look at those two […]

Brian Wilson - Tony Asher

How a Song’s Chorus Makes Use of Musically Strong Elements

When you listen to a song just for entertainment, you’re not usually aware that parts of the song are musically ambiguous in some way, while other parts are clear and strong. Let’s say, for example, that you start your song by writing a verse that uses this short progression: C-Bb-C-Bb-C-Bb… There’s a kind of ambiguity associated […]

Band in rehearsal

The Importance of Musical Patterns in Good Songwriting

As humans, perhaps one of our strongest skills is recognizing patterns when we hear or see them. Pattern recognition gives us great enjoyment when we listen to music. Here’s what I mean: When listening to a song, most people cannot say what key they’re hearing. Most could never identify any specific note of the melody. […]