Joni Mitchell

Theme and Variations as a Songwriting Technique

A common musical form that classical composers have loved for centuries is theme and variations; a melody is repeated, changed in some way, but still similar enough to the original that it’s recognizable. It was a measure of a composer’s musical imagination, and fun for an audience to hear what might happen next with the […]

Bridging the Gap Between Classical and Pop Songwriting

There are many differences between classical music and pop music. Some of those differences are easy to hear. For example, pop music often relies on rhythmic syncopations and obvious rhythmic grooves, while classical music tends to use syncopation sparingly, and not in a way that sets up a groove. You’ll also notice that pop music tends to […]

Songwriting Tips & Tricks: Generating Ideas By On-the-Spot Improvising

Improvising happens in every genre of music you can name, some genres more than others. A jazz concert will likely feature improvisation as a key element in practically every song. In that case, we usually mean a sax player or guitarist that might take a solo. But improvisation, of course, happens in every sub-genre of pop music, […]

Lou Reed

Why We Love Bad Singers

A few listener reviews of some of pop/rock music’s big names: Regarding Neil Young: “For as far back as I can remember I’ve disliked this guy. His whiney voice is like nails on a chalkboard.” Regarding Bob Dylan: “Like if a wistful Lee Marvin swallowed a kazoo.” (by Ted Pillow.) Regarding Lucinda Williams: “Out of […]

330-Year-Old Chord Progressions Work Just Fine

If you’re relying on instincts alone, you could be missing out on great opportunities to take your songwriting to a much higher level. Let “The Essential Secrets of Songwriting” eBook Bundles show you how to polish your technique. Get today’s special deal.. ______________ It still amazes me how chord progressions from today’s pop music sound pretty much the same as […]

Learning From the Greats: Rodney Crowell

Get “The Essential Secrets of Songwriting” 6-eBook Bundle, along with a FREE copy of “From Amateur to Ace: Writing Songs Like a Pro”. Read more.. _____________ There’s an article/interview in American Songwriter magazine with Rodney Crowell, country singer-songwriter, that was done back in 1989. It’s a reminder that not much changes in the world of hit songwriting, and […]