Copyright

When a Chord Progression Might Be Protected by Copyright

If you like starting your songwriting process with chords, you’re usually OK to take pretty much any chord progression you hear in anyone else’s song. That’s because chord progressions, on their own, are not protected by copyright. But having said that, there’s a caution here that you should consider when you do, in fact, use someone else’s […]

Derek & the Dominos - Layla

How Many Unique Elements Make a Good Song Tune?

Pop songs are typically 3 or 4 minutes in length. And because this is not a long bit of time we’re talking about, it can be a problem if you put too many ideas together when you write that song. Think of it as a kind of musical “economy.” You’ll use one melody for the […]

Songwriter

With Songwriting, the Title is the First Step to Hooking a Listener

If you look at an article from a newspaper, the first thing you see is the headline. Headlines are written to grab a reader’s attention. It’s fair to say that newspapers will gain or lose readers based on the quality, accuracy and attractiveness of a headline. In the news world, the headline gives a summation […]

Song Form

What Songwriters Need to Know About Song Form

Form is one of those words that can cause songwriters’ eyes to glaze over. It sounds like a term that’s only going to help other people understand what you’ve written, but not help the songwriter so much. Got a melody but don’t know how to add chords to make it come alive? “How to Harmonize a […]

Led Zeppelin

The Best Songs Are Partnerships of Ideas

Make a little list of what you consider to be the best songs you know, and you’ll probably see one thing that is in common: each song represents a partnership of ideas. What does that term “partnership of ideas” mean? It refers to the fact that all the various components of a song — the […]

Headphones and keyboard

How Objective Listening Improves Your Songwriting

The more curious you are about the songs you hear, the more likely it is that you’ll improve your own songwriting technique. If you’re the kind of person who always wonders, “What was that chord?”, “How did they do that?”, or “What’s going on at that spot in the song?”, you’re also likely to be […]