Nirvana in concert

In Good Songwriting, Opposites Matter

Most songs make use of contrasting characteristics as a way of keeping listeners interested. You might get a song with a verse that’s quiet, at least in comparison to the chorus. “Smells Like Teen Sprit” (Nirvana) is a good example, and practically any power ballad. If you’re looking for one set of eBooks that will […]

Phoebe Bridgers

What’s the Best Connection to Make Between a Verse and Chorus?

There are many songs that seem to show no particular relationship between the verse and the chorus, except for the fact that they both exist in the same song. Take a hit song like “Somebody That I Used to Know” (Gotye), and you’ll notice that the verse and chorus bear no obvious similarity. For the […]

The Doobie Brothers - 1976

Longevity and Songwriting

It’s a bit of a favourite activity for me to look at hit songs from years ago and try to figure out why some of them fade quickly from the musical radar (“Disco Duck“, by Rick Dees and His Cast of Idiots, No. 1 in 1976), while others never make it to No. 1, but […]

Songwriter - Guitarists

Learning From Songwriting Mistakes and Successes

Sometimes you’ll find that a song you’ve written will succeed even when it seems to violate some of the basic principles of good songwriting. It might be a melody that just lingers around one or two notes, when our instincts tell us that good melodies should have a nice up-and-down shape. Or it might be […]

Solving Musical Problems Is Best Done Before Production Happens

In 2005, when I wrote my first eBook, “The Essential Secrets of Songwriting”, I was planning to call it “The Essential Principles of Songwriting.” After some considerable thought, I reasoned that most people would be turned off by the word “principles”, and opted instead for “secrets.” To my mind, however, it conveys the same thing, […]

The Moody Blues - Nights in White Satin

Going From Simple to Complex In Your Songwriting Process

“Nights in White Satin” (1967) is one of The Moody Blues’ biggest hits. Most people know it in its “single” version — a bit over 4 minutes in length. But its full-length version, complete with orchestral introduction and interlude by the London Festival Orchestra, is a multi-sectional work of more than 9 minutes – a […]