Songwriter-Guitarist

Chord Progressions, and the Strong-Fragile Concept

Last week I received an email from a blog reader, with a question regarding chord progressions. It’s similar to one that I receive a lot, and so I thought perhaps I would post it here, along with my answer [slightly edited in spots for clarity], and hope that it might be helpful for those of […]

Why Sticking to the 3-4 Minute Song Length Still Makes Sense

There’s an interesting history behind why pop songs tend to be 3-to-4 minutes in length, and it has to do with the nature of the medium: typically, a 10-inch record spinning 78 times per minute, as you would have had when rock & roll was in its infancy. That usually meant that it was not […]

What Do You Love About a Good Melody?

Last week I wrote about the similarities between classical and pop music, and what today’s songwriters can learn from the classics. Today I want to look specifically at song melodies, and see to what extent the structure of a pop melody resembles that of a classical work. There is a book that is in great […]

Rock singer

Getting Attention Using Your Vocal Range

It’s interesting that music in pop genres has mainly favoured the tenor male voice. Most songs will sit in either the high baritone or tenor range. I say interesting, because I was reading recently about a recently-completed study that has examined how much we like or are drawn to high or low-pitched speaking voices. You […]

Recording Studio

The New World of Songwriting – But Not That Different, Really

Today’s world of pop music can be a very insular one, in the sense that many “discoveries” pop musicians make about what people like aren’t really new after all. I’ve posted an article from the New Yorker recently, called “The Sound Machine,” about how hits are written today. In that article, Jay Brown (president of Roc Nation) said: “You’ve […]

David Bowie - Changes

Uniqueness is Risky Business

No one could ever fault David Bowie for playing it safe. Even for Bowie fans, his songs, and particularly his lyrics, would often evade clear meaning. When your music moves to the edges of the avant grade, you’re often going to make as many haters as fans. If your songs, however weird they may sound to others, stand […]