Guitar - songwriting

How Long Should It Take To Write a Good Song?

It’s understandable to get a bit worried if you find that, after weeks of working away on a song, you’re still not finished. You might find that every time you fix one thing, something else sounds a bit off, and the cycle of editing keeps going on and on. As a songwriter, you’ve no doubt […]

Songwriting and Controversial Topics

Dealing With Controversy in Your Songwriting

Today I say, only half-jokingly, that I had better not hear a songwriter, particularly an American one, tell me that they just can’t think of anything to write about. The subject of the day — Donald Trump’s rise to the presidency — may be difficult to handle, but you sure can’t beat it for providing everything a […]

Guitarist - songwriter

Solving the Problems of Chords-First Songwriting

Chords-first songwriting is a bit of a modern invention. For the great master composers (Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, etc.), composing was almost always about the melody, and so the process of writing music would start there. That’s not to say that composing music was strictly a melody-first process for them after which they’d come up with […]

Keyboard & Guitar

Avoiding the Constant Return to the I-Chord

If you’re looking for ways to make your progressions a bit more interesting without being too weird, there’s a simple modification you should consider: simply avoid overusing the I-chord. In a standard I-IV-V-I progression (C-F-G-C) the I-chord is the tonic chord. It’s the one that represents your song’s key. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with its use, […]

Singer-Songwriter

Songwriter’s Ego: What’s a Healthy One?

We often use the word ego in a negative sense. After a conversation with someone, for example, you might wryly note to yourself, “Well, he has a healthy ego!” And we don’t usually mean it with a positive connotation. In that negative sense of how we usually use the word, we typically mean that the person has an […]

The Musical Cohesion That Comes From Motifs

If you’ve written a hook, and most if not all of the following aren’t true, you’ve not really written an effective one: It’s got a short and easy-to-remember melody. It incorporates a catchy rhythm. It uses a relatively simple, short chord progression. It usually appears, disappears, and reappears throughout a song. It’s fun to sing. When […]