Guitarist - songwriter on stage

Getting People Listening — and Keeping Them Listening

When you talk about form as it applies to a song, part of what you’re talking about is how one section differs from another. In fact, you could argue that the sections that comprise your song, and how they differ, are the most important aspects of form. In my experience, most songwriters’ eyes glaze over […]

Songwriter

Five Steps to Making Words Singable

Do you find it reasonably easy to write words (lyrics, poetry, etc.), but when you try to create songs with those words, everything sounds corny, random, and just plain bad? You read the words, and they sound just fine; you try singing them, and they sound a bit lame. The best songwriters are best because of […]

Creating Musical Ideas

What To Do When Lyrics Sound Forced

The best lyrics, whether they’re straight-forward (“Somebody That I Used to Know” (Gotye), for example), or complex (“Roundabout” – Jon Anderson/Steve Howe), share an important feature: they typically use words that you’d find in casual conversation. Take some time to look at the lyric sheets of your favourite songs, and no matter what genre you […]

Paul McCartney - John Lennon

The Differences Between Lennon’s and McCartney’s Melodies

Generalizing any aspect of a songwriter’s output is straying into dangerous territory. That’s particularly true of the music of Lennon and McCartney. They were arguably the most versatile writers of pop song of their generation, and probably even now. As soon as they wrote a hit, it was back to the drawing board to come […]

Singer - Songwriter

Locking Lyrics Into the Basic Beat of Your Song

When lyrics sound stiff or rhythmically awkward, it’s usually the case that the basic pulse and accents of the words and phrases aren’t being honoured by the pulse and feel of the music. One easy way to deal with this is to read your lyric aloud, getting a sense of the natural pulse of the […]

songwriter

The Advantages of a Lyrics-First Songwriting Process

In my last post, “Finding Your Best Starting Point”, I offered suggestions for how to build a songwriting process when you’ve got a small fragment of music as your starting point. One of those fragments might be a bit of lyric. For many songwriters, starting the process with lyrics can yield great results. There are […]