George Harrison

From a Minor Key Verse to Its Parallel Major

You may be familiar with the term relative major — that’s the major key that uses the same key signature as a particular minor key. It’s a very common key relationship in pop songs, because if you’ve written a song that uses a minor key verse, and you decide to switch to major for the chorus, […]

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 […]

guitar, pencil and notepad

Honing Your Lyric-Writing Skills

If you find lyrics are the hardest part of songwriting, the best way forward is to try to emulate the greats. Whenever I hear songwriters describing the difficulties they have with lyrics, it’s almost always that they feel that they’re “lame.” In other words, it’s not so much that they don’t know what to write […]

Christina Perri

Writing the Best Bridge For Your Song

A bridge section, sometimes also called the middle eight, is an optional section that usually happens after the chorus’s second appearance in a song, or after the second verse or refrain for songs that don’t use a chorus. Songs With a Chorus Verse – Chorus – Verse – Chorus – Bridge – Final Chorus Repeats or Verse […]

Brian Wilson - Tony Asher

How a Song’s Chorus Makes Use of Musically Strong Elements

When you listen to a song just for entertainment, you’re not usually aware that parts of the song are musically ambiguous in some way, while other parts are clear and strong. Let’s say, for example, that you start your song by writing a verse that uses this short progression: C-Bb-C-Bb-C-Bb… There’s a kind of ambiguity associated […]

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 […]