Shawn Mendes

Building a Sense of Anticipation in Your Melodies

Recently I wrote about the musical power that comes from starting progressions on a chord other than the tonic chord. By avoiding the tonic, the listener subconsciously wants to hear it, and so it creates a very powerful sense of musical energy: the listener is willing to wait to hear the tonic eventually happen. Songwriters […]

Guitarist - songwriter

Improve Your Songwriting By Improving Your Instrumental Abilities

Does this describe your own songwriting situation: You sit down with your guitar and start to strum, trying to come up with ideas for a new song. You find your fingers moving to the same chords — the ones your fingers usually like. While you’re strumming, you become aware that you’re using the same basic […]

Guitar and Piano

Starting Chord Progressions Away From the Tonic Chord

In music, the tonic chord is the chord that represents the key of the song: C  Dm  Am  G  C In that progression, the key is C major, and C is the tonic chord. The psychology of music makes the tonic chord sound like “home” to us. Our brains relax when, after a long sequence […]

Gary Ewer

Happy New Year To Everyone!

Another year is coming to a close, and I sincerely hope that it was a good one for you. I’m not usually one for new year’s resolutions; I try to think positively about whatever is to come, simply striving to do my best on a daily basis. Sometimes I good at that, and at other […]

Songwriting guitarist

Songwriting Without Limits

What are the best ways to improve as a songwriter? Is there a point where you reach your best? A point where no matter what you do you can’t look forward to being a better songwriter? That begs the question: How do we learn anything, in the first place? The best teachers out there are […]

Paul McCartney

When the Verse Melody Becomes the Bridge

Here’s something interesting: the melody that Paul McCartney uses as his verse melody for “You Never Give Me Your Money” (“Abbey Road” album) serves, for all intents and purposes, as a bridge melody for “Carry That Weight.” True, the fact is that its appearance as a bridge melody is overshadowed by the fact that its main […]