Piano and guitar - songwriter

The Unfinished Song: Turning Frustration Into Success

These days you might be listening to Handel’s “Messiah,” and even if you don’t know that work, you no doubt know his “Hallelujah Chorus” which ends the second part of the oratorio. “Messiah” is a lengthy work consisting of fifty-three movements, and listening to the entire piece will take you more than two hours. (Most […]

Paul Simon

Weaving Lyrics Together With a Simple Metaphor: Paul Simon’s “Kathy’s Song”

The best lyrics are the ones that sound conversational when you read them. By sounding conversational, the ideas you’re conveying are going to have the best chance for touching the heart of the listener. Conversational lyrics touch the heart because they’re more likely to use simple, everyday words, the kind that are usually the most […]

Piano and guitar

Top 5 Tips for Chords-First Songwriting

If you like starting the songwriting process by figuring out a good chord progression, you probably like how chords very quickly convey a mood. And once you’ve got that mood, you find that other things fall into place quickly, especially a song topic, tempo, rhythmic treatment, and so on. But there are some potential problems […]

Pentatonic Melodies are Usually the Easiest to Harmonize

If you’ve been trying your hand at starting the songwriting process by writing a melody, I applaud you. It may seem tricky at first to create a melody when you haven’t come up with chords first, but once you get the hang of it, you (and your fans) will appreciate the quality of your melodies. […]

Songwriting and writer's block

You’ve Got a Chorus Hook, But What Now?

It’s quite normal to come up with a catchy chorus hook as a first step in your songwriting process, since the hook contains elements that are easily sung, played and remembered. But once that hook has been developed, you might find that your creative mind lets you down: what do you do next? If you’re trying […]

Keyboard player - songwriter - chord inversions

Back and Forth Between Major and Minor Within the Same Chord Progression

Contrast is a big part of what makes great songs great. Even if that contrast is something as simple as loud versus soft (instrumentation) or low versus high (melodies), contrast is crucial to keeping audiences interested. Within chord progressions, contrast usually happens when differentiating between major and minor. Songs might feature a minor verse, and […]