music, photography rule of thirds

Applying the Rule of Thirds to Songwriting

When you talk about thirds to a musician, you’re usually talking about the space between two notes, like C to E, or D to F, and so on. In photography, the so-called “rule of thirds” is completely different: it refers to dividing an image into thirds using two vertical lines and two horizontal lines. If […]

Bass player

The Best Way to Use Pedal Point in Your Chord Progressions

Songwriters can be forgiven for looking for new and exciting chord progressions. There’s a fear that if you use a progression that’s been used before, it will sound either boring or overused, and lacking in originality. The truth is that as long as the chords are properly supporting the notes of the melody, even mundane […]

Songwriting tools for lyricists

Songwriting and Finding the Story

One of the biggest differences between writing a song and writing a book is the number of words you’ll use. A novel might use 80,000 or more words to describe a story, but with a song lyric you really only get a tiny fraction of that; maybe 100 words or so. So with novels, the […]

Finding Alternatives to the Standard I-IV-V-I Progression

The typical 3-chord song has been the workhorse of early rock and roll. Go back to the 50s, and it’s the mainstay of most songs. By 3-chord songs, we’re talking usually about this progression: I  IV  V7  I  (C  F  G7  C) And then, of course, the writer might throw something else in, particularly in […]

Paul Simon

Giving Your Songs A Noticeable Point of Focus

When you look at paintings, you’ll notice that most of them have a noticeable point of focus — the area of the canvas that your eye gets drawn toward. Music is not much different; in most songs, you’ll notice that there’s a point of focus. The only difference is that in songs, you usually have […]

3 Pointers for Calculating a Melody's Climactic High Point

We know that melodies that just aimlessly wander will kill a song by making them impossible for listeners to remember. Obviously, songs need a captivating contour in order to be successful. Part of that contour is the placement of a climactic high point. This is a part of the melody that seems to be a […]