Songwriting guitarist

Songwriting: Knowing the Principles Helps You to Avoid Random Success

Songwriting success is great. Random success isn’t, because it means a lack of consistency. Lately I’ve been writing about the importance of songwriting principles. While a rule is something that must be followed, a principle does nothing more than guide the songwriter. Most of the time those principles exist because it’s the way we like to hear music. When we […]

Guitar and paper for songwriting

Ignoring Rules – Following Principles

It’s common to hear questions posed by those who are relatively new to the world of songwriting that start with the phrase: “Can I…”, or “Is it OK to…” “Can I start and end a song in different keys?” “Can I change tempo in the middle of a song?” “Is it OK to write pop […]

Songwriter in Home Studio

Are Songwriting Principles Genre-Specific?

In songwriting, a principle is a statement that attempts to explain why some aspect or element of music works the way it does. Principles are not rules, because a rule implies that it must (or at least should) be done a certain way in order for the music to be successful. But a principle makes […]

Folk Singer - Songwriter

Copying Your Own Songwriting Success

There’s nothing quite like the warm feeling you get when your audience loves your latest song. And naturally, you want to be able to copy your success; who wouldn’t? Replicating your own success is important in the sense that in songwriting, consistency is everything. The industry isn’t much interested in songwriters who write one good […]

guitarist - songwriter

When Practice Might Not Make Perfect

We use the expression “practice makes perfect” to remind ourselves that simply knowing something isn’t enough. Once armed with knowledge, you need to put it to work for you. And that’s the practice part. In school you learned the basic concepts of mathematics. Once you acquired that knowledge, your teacher gave you endless exercises to help you […]

Elton John

Sometimes Principles Confuse Us

Lately it seems that I’ve been getting a lot of comments, both through email and in the comments section at the ends of various posts, questioning some of the various songwriting principles I write about. Mainly, a comment will go something like this: “You say that chorus progressions are shorter than verse progressions, but I […]