Songwriting - Editing Lyrics

The Power (and Necessity) of Editing Your Songs

The best editing in the creative arts makes things shorter, not longer. That’s not a rule, and it’s not exclusively true, but it’s almost always the case. Pop songs tend to be 3-4 minutes in length. That’s usually because of the subject matter. People think it’s because we don’t have attention spans that will allow […]

Songwriter - Pianist

Chords That Eventually Find the Tonic

In music, the tonic chord is the one that represents the key. So for a song in C major, C is the tonic. To use a metaphor, it’s home. Progressions may meander around seemingly aimlessly, but once you play the tonic chord, you sense relaxation: you’re home. Are you a chords-first songwriter? Are you getting […]

Guitar - songwriting talent

What Talents Do You Need To Be a Songwriter?

You might think that the answer to this question, “What talents do I need to be a songwriter?” would start with an examination of basic musical abilities: the ability to sing in tune, and of course to be creative. But I think the first step toward being a good songwriter is not a talent at […]

Singer - Songwriter

Creative Exhaustion

What we call writer’s block has many possible causes, but most of them related to fear, and in particular a fear of failure. But fear is not often the first step in a creative block. For many songwriters, it’s creative exhaustion. Chapter 5 of “The Essential Secrets of Songwriting” shows how melody and lyric need to work […]

Maroon 5

Smoothing Out the Connections Between Song Sections

In good songs, there is a sense of connection — or perhaps communication, in a way — between its various sections. You hear the chorus, and it sounds like the logical follower for what the verse offered. So how do we ensure that each section of a song feels connected to what came before it? […]

Songwriting with guitar

Song Lyrics: Having Two Favourite Processes

Do you find that you constantly get stuck at the lyric-stage of songwriting? When everything you write sounds wrong, it can leave you with practically no new direction to try. Compare that problem to a similar problem with writing melodies. If your melodies aren’t working, more improvisation should get you finally moving in the right […]