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 […]

Song energy

Song Energy Needs to Move Up and Down

When we think of the term musical energy, we might immediately think of loudness and tempo. But as a songwriter, you need to develop a slightly more sophisticated understanding of how musical energy works, and what it can do to make people want to listen to — and come back to — your songs. If you’re […]

Microphone

Songwriting Principles Are Often Clearer In Older Songs

Sometimes you’ll find that studying songs from a genre not your own is a really great way to expand on what you do. Songwriting principles usually apply across genres, and hearing a principle demonstrated in a different genre can act as a kind of metaphor for your own. The same thing happens when you study […]