Which Methods for Starting a New Song?

Songwriters are correct to think a lot about how to start the songwriting process. How you start often has a strong influence on where things end up. But songwriters typically worry, not so much that they’re starting the wrong way, but more that they’re possibly missing out on a better way. You need to look […]

Singer - Guitarist

Why Writing Songs About Your Feelings Never Works

A song is working well if the listener can put themselves in the shoes of the singer. Whether that means that you identify with the lyric, or simply love the way the guitar solo sounds, the listener needs to make a personal connection to some aspect of the song. It’s why air guitar is a […]

creating a new song melody

Writing New Song Melodies Based On Old Ones

You’d be forgiven for thinking that all the good melodies have been taken. Since most songs are tonal (i.e., they exist in a key), that means that the majority of them are comprised of seven different pitches, all arranged in different ways. It makes you wonder, how many melodies can possibly be concocted by using seven pitches? Well, […]

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”, […]

Recording Studio

The New World of Songwriting – But Not That Different, Really

Today’s world of pop music can be a very insular one, in the sense that many “discoveries” pop musicians make about what people like aren’t really new after all. I’ve posted an article from the New Yorker recently, called “The Sound Machine,” about how hits are written today. In that article, Jay Brown (president of Roc Nation) said: “You’ve […]

Glen Frey

Writing Multi-Part Verse Melodies

You can define a multi-part verse melody in many ways, but the kind of melody I’m talking about is the kind you might find in a song like Eagles’ “Take It Easy” (Jackson Browne/Glenn Frey), which is a verse-only song where the verse consists of several short phrases joined together to make one complete melody. I’ve been thinking […]