Songwriter with guitar

Giving Chorus Lyrics the Emotional Boost They Need

Sometimes you’ll hear a songwriter criticize their lyrics, saying that the chorus “falls flat.” That kind of criticism usually means that the chorus lyrics aren’t generating the kind of emotional response from the listener they were hoping for. You’ll notice that I say “generating”, because that’s exactly what a good chorus lyric does. It doesn’t […]

paper & pencil - songwriter

Reading a Lyric as Part of Your Songwriting Process

Have you ever tried just reading your lyric out loud, without thinking about the melody you’ve written to go along with it? Reading a lyric can give you a lot of musical ideas, and can also serve as a good tool for diagnosing songwriting problems. Time to fix what’s ailing your songs. Read “Fix Your […]

Rolling Stones

A Rare Tonic Note Creates Forward Motion in Your Songs

The tonic note is the one that represents the key of your song, and it has the main quality of feeling like “home”. When a tonic note happens, it sounds as if a musical phrase has, even just temporarily, ended, and the next one can begin. That’s a good reason why the tonic note happens […]

Adele

Delaying the Chorus by Using a Pre-Chorus

The conventional wisdom is that a song’s chorus should be happening by the time you get to the 1-minute mark, or even sooner. A chorus that happens after the 1-minute mark can work just fine, though, particularly if the song is in a slow ballad style. Deciding when it feels right for the chorus to […]

songwriting session

Why Studying Old Songs Helps You Write New Ones

You’ve probably noticed that great songwriters, when being interviewed about what they do, often talk about old songs. They’ll talk about the songs of their youth, and sometimes even further back. If you’re writing songs that you hope are on the cutting edge, songs that you hope sound fresh, new and innovative, it begs the question: […]

Carole King

Keeping Your Listeners Excited to Listen For the Full 4-Minute Experience

One of the most powerful and effective aspects of songwriting is creating a sense of expectancy. That term expectancy refers to a song’s ability to make you want to hear what happens next. Without that quality of expectancy, a song would have no ability to keep listeners listening. The best element to look at to see expectancy […]