Carpentry tools

Songwriting Lessons from the Unlikeliest Sources

I don’t know if you feel the same way, but sometimes I learn the best lessons regarding music by thinking of something completely unmusical. Metaphors speak loudly and meaningfully to me. I like building things out of wood. It’s something I love, even if I’m not doing it at a professional level. But with every […]

Songwriting - Songwriter - Formulas

Is a Songwriting Formula Really So Bad?

If you’re a mathematician or physicist, formulas play a large role in your professional life. Formulas in that context are simply a kind of equation, and without them you don’t really have a profession. Songwriters know the word formula very well. In a songwriting context, “formula” is a word that describes a process, or perhaps set […]

Sixpence None the Richer - Kiss Me

Where Should a Song’s Climactic Moment Occur?

Many songs have what could be called its “climactic moment”: a spot where musical energy seems to be at its peak. In many songs, it sits there at the beginning of the chorus (“Firework”), sometimes in the middle (“Let It Be”), and sometimes near the end. (“Wichita Lineman”). Sometimes finding that moment may not be obvious. […]

The Dolls - A Lover's Concerto

7 Quick Tips for Adding Chords to a Melody

If you like to start your songwriting process by working out bits of melody first, one of your biggest challenges might be the adding of chords. How do you work out a chord progression that supports your melody? It’s a bit amazing, when you think about it, that melodies can be so different, but chord […]

Synthesizer keyboard - songwriting

Why Saving Failed Songs Is So Important

It may seem illogical to save bits of songs that you’ve determined are failures. After all, if you’re trying to write a song and it’s not working out, surely that means that the ideas you’re creating are simply bad ones, and you should toss them and try new ideas. It really depends on what you […]

Peter Gabriel - Don't Give up

Where a Lyrical Cliché Might Work In a Song

One of the worst things you might do as a songwriter is to use clichés in your lyrics, but I’d like to make a small defence of this faux-pas, at least in certain situations. You’d think that a cliché is going to get your song sent immediately to the naughty chair called “Worst Songs Ever”, […]