Song energy

Song Energy Needs to Move Up and Down

When we think of the term musical energy, we might immediately think of loudness and tempo. But as a songwriter, you need to develop a slightly more sophisticated understanding of how musical energy works, and what it can do to make people want to listen to — and come back to — your songs. If you’re […]

Sad songs

Writing Sad Songs (and Why You’d Want To Do That)

There is research out there that tells us that people like listening to sad music. It doesn’t necessarily bring them down, and in fact can have an opposite, buoyant effect. That’s because as listeners, we want to feel something, and as long as whatever the sad song is about isn’t describing our own state of affairs […]

MIck Jagger / Keith Richards

Songwriting: Separating the Writing of Lyrics From the Writing of Music

The power and strength of your lyrics is an important part of how future audiences will rate you as a songwriter. It’s true that some fantastic songs have had pretty mundane lyrics. “I Love Rock ‘n Roll”, written by Alan Merrill and Jake Hooker, and made most famous by Joan Jett’s 1982 recording, is in […]

The Beatles

Finding New Songwriting Formulas

The thing that’s bad about a songwriting formula is the predictability of it. When you write to a formula, you’re working out a song based on the notion that “when I do this, I should then do that.” And if you write that way, every song you write is going to have an undesirable sameness. […]

Singer-Songwriter

Making Verse Melodies Sound Better By Thinking Ahead to the Chorus

If one of your songwriting struggles is to get the verse and chorus melodies to sound like good musical partners, you may be surprised to find that the answer may not be to make them similar. Sometimes good verse-chorus partnerships happen when those two melodies have very different structural qualities. When it comes to making […]

Bob Dylan

Your Songs: Do You Have Anything Interesting To Say?

If you’ve got the gift of gab, you’ve an an ability to engage others in conversation and to keep them interested. If you think about the people in your life that you love having a conversation with, the following statements are probably true: They find interesting things to talk about. They can speak eloquently. They […]