Joni Mitchell

Imagery: A Big Picture From Few Words

The concept of imagery in lyric writing is a simple one: using words to create images or ideas in the mind of the listener. You could argue that practically all lyrics will do this, even if they’re not specifically thought of as being a good example of imagery. Are you trying to make your lyrics […]

Home recording Studio - Darren Perkins

The Overlapping Ranges of Verse and Chorus Melodies

In most songs, the chorus is considered to be, musically speaking, more energetic than the verse. There are lots of ways that the higher energy is attained, some of which are the producer’s responsibility: instrumentation, playing style, volume, etc. And some of ways to achieve higher energy are the songwriter’s responsibility: higher emotions in the […]

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 […]