Shawn Mendes

Building a Sense of Anticipation in Your Melodies

Recently I wrote about the musical power that comes from starting progressions on a chord other than the tonic chord. By avoiding the tonic, the listener subconsciously wants to hear it, and so it creates a very powerful sense of musical energy: the listener is willing to wait to hear the tonic eventually happen. Songwriters […]

Songwriter - lyricist

The Conversational Nature of Good Song Lyrics

I’m really pleased to notice (or at least I think I notice) that the quality of lyrics has been becoming an important sought-after aspect of good mainstream songwriting. It seems only a few years back that everyone was talking about chord progressions. The term “killer chord progression” was one I’d hear in many musical conversations. Trying […]

Finding the Story From a Line of Lyric

Do you ever find that you randomly come up with a killer line of lyric, something that’s clever, poetic, rhythmic and imaginative all rolled up in one great phrase… but nothing else happens? And try as you might, you just can’t come up with more lyric to add to it? Starting June 22, 2018, “Creative Chord […]

Sigrid - Don't Kill My Vibe

Using Melodic Range to Create Musical Energy

If you’re not sure what’s meant by a phrase, think of it as a part of a sentence up to a comma or a period, where the sentence seems to pause, either temporarily or permanently, like this 2-phrase unit from Robert Frost’s poem, “Stopping By Woods On a Snowy Evening”: Whose woods these are I […]

Pink - Funhouse

7 Steps For Writing a Well-Structured Song Lyric

A good lyric tells a story, whether that’s an actual “first this happened, then that happened” kind of lyric (like the stereotypical “A Boy Named Sue” – Johnny Cash), or whether the story happens indirectly, and we piece the details together, like Pink’s “Funhouse” (Pink, Tony Kanal, Jimmy Harry). A lyric where the story is […]

Guitar

Making Use of Musical Momentum

If you’re familiar with Maurice Ravel’s “Bolero”, you will know that it is comprised of a 32-bar long melody in two 16-bar parts which repeats, over and over again, with the only change being the orchestration of the melody. There is no other musical development. No change of key, no change of tempo, no competing […]