Keyboard - Chord Progressions

Simplicity as a Starting Point

As a songwriter you may be attracted to the notion of writing something complex, something that really gets your audience thinking. Complex chords, intricate harmonies, thoughtful lyrics, melodies that surprise… it’s all part of what makes your 4-minute song something that will stimulate the imagination of your listeners. The problem with complexity in songwriting is […]

Bruno Mars - The Lazy Song

Making the Best Use of Motifs in Your Songwriting

For most songwriters, defining a hook is simple: it’s that catchy bit that makes up the main part of the chorus. It usually comes back over and over because that’s what choruses do — they reappear after every verse, and then again after the bridge. A hook is good if it has a melodic shape […]

Writing great song lyrics

Lyrics and the Natural Pulse

When lyrics sound like they’re not working, you’ll want to check out the up-and-down of the emotional content. Good lyrics start by being observational and narrative in nature, and then move to being responsive and emotional. And that holds true no matter what genre of music you call your own. Beyond that, the next most […]

Songwriter - editing music

The Partnership of Musical Elements Within Good Songs

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a blog post about song hooks, and how to diagnose problems you might be having with the hook for your song: “When Your Song’s Hook Isn’t Doing Its Job.” In that article I gave a list of four important characteristics of good hooks. “Hooks and Riffs: How They […]

Singer - Songwriter

On Being Influenced by Other Songwriters

Originality is everything in songwriting. Every time you sit down to write, you obviously need to be writing something that no one else has written before. It’s that need for originality that causes a kind of fear in some songwriters: the fear of accidentally plagiarizing someone’s song. In particular, some songwriters are afraid to spend […]

Songwriter - Pianist

When Your Song’s Hook Isn’t Doing Its Job

A hook has several defining attributes that all partner together to make it memorable and catchy: It’s main identifying characteristic is its shortness, making it easy to remember. It has a melodic component that frequently includes some sort of leap, usually upward (“Born in the U.S.A.”). It has a rhythmic component that frequently includes a […]