Songwriting and Line Drawing

I’ve written a few articles on this blog about the notion of drawing a line that represents your melody (like this article I wrote a few years ago). It’s not just that it’s kind of neat to see your melody sketched out as a line; there is a real purpose and benefit from seeing your […]

Brian Wilson

Creating Musical Surprises In Your Chord Progressions

Chord progressions, even in music that sounds innovative or novel, are usually the most predictable part of a song’s design. A song might have lyrics that are hard to understand, and use odd instruments, time signatures or unpredictable melodic ideas, but chords are usually the most easily understood part. That’s why I often use landscape […]

Songwriter - Pianist

Chords That Eventually Find the Tonic

In music, the tonic chord is the one that represents the key. So for a song in C major, C is the tonic. To use a metaphor, it’s home. Progressions may meander around seemingly aimlessly, but once you play the tonic chord, you sense relaxation: you’re home. Are you a chords-first songwriter? Are you getting […]

Songwriter- Writer's Block

Looking For a New Tried and True

Tried and true refers to anything that is a proven success. In most things in life, you’re doing well to look for a tried and true method. These days we might call it a “life hack.” But no matter what it gets called, tried and true won’t let you down. Except… it can let you […]

Piano - songwriting

How to Create Interesting Moments Within Strong Chord Progressions

There are songwriters that like to use complex progressions that really take us on an intricate musical journey. But the fact is that most of the time, particularly in popular music genres (pop, country, folk, etc.), chord progressions are largely predictable. No songwriter I know likes to use the word “predictable” in describing any aspect […]

Imogen Heap

Grabbing Attention In Pop Songwriting

When songs are boring to audiences, don’t expect them to be able to say exactly why they’re bored. Most people can say what they like about a good song, but are less able to say specifically what isn’t working about a bad one. When a song sounds boring, it simply means that little or nothing […]