Foster the People

Identifying Your Song’s Climactic Moment

Most songs have a moment that can be identified as being its climactic moment. More often than not, it’s somewhere toward the end. Climactic moments are sometimes easy to identify: “Bridge Over Troubled Water” (Paul Simon): You can hear the song constantly building, and, like many songs, is really a series of climactic moments, each […]

Catfish and the Bottlemen

Pacing Your Chord Changes to Create Musical Energy

We use the term harmonic rhythm to describe the rate that chords change when compared to the number of melody notes. So let’s say you’ve written a song where the melody is primarily a stream of 8th notes. If you’re not sure what that means, think of the verse (and that prominent intro bass line) of […]

Songwriter - Guitarist

The First Seconds of a Song – What’s Important?

In songwriting, the first notes a listener hears are vital ones. Listeners will continue with, or abandon, a song based on those first few seconds. It’s not just pop songwriters that deal with those tricky first few seconds. It’s been a challenge for composers for centuries. Once you’ve got a melody, how do you know […]

Rush - Spirit of Radio

Comparing Vocal and Instrumental Melodies

In theory, there shouldn’t be a lot of difference between a melody that’s meant to be sung and one that’s meant to be played. Particularly in the pop genres, both kinds of melodies will usually display the following characteristics: The melody will usually move mainly by step (i.e., adjacent notes in a scale) with occasional […]

Microphone

Songwriting Principles Are Often Clearer In Older Songs

Sometimes you’ll find that studying songs from a genre not your own is a really great way to expand on what you do. Songwriting principles usually apply across genres, and hearing a principle demonstrated in a different genre can act as a kind of metaphor for your own. The same thing happens when you study […]

Musical Energy

Using the Natural Energy of Music in Your Songwriting

When we talk about the energy of music, at least in strictly songwriting terms, we’re talking about the sense of the music being propelled forward. In this sense, I’m not necessarily talking about how powerful, loud or energetic the music sounds or feels; I’m talking about musical momentum. For example, when one section of a […]