Maybe Your Song is Just Too Weird

All songs exhibit a balance between what could be thought of as typical traditional songwriting structures, and innovative elements. And this is quite a delicate balance; A song that has too many traditional elements risks being predictable and boring. And a song with too much innovation risks being just weird. It’s a dilemma because unless you can set your song […]

How to Use Contrast to Make a Song More Interesting

When we talk about contrast in a song, we’re talking about the existence of opposites: one part of a song may be loud, another soft; one part may be loud, another soft. The concept of contrast has been part of music composition for hundreds of years, and so it doesn’t matter what genre of music you write […]

Chord Progressions Take on a New Life with Borrowed Chords

You know that for most songs, you’ll either be writing in a major key or a minor key. But did you know it’s possible to mix the chords from major and minor keys together? Such chords are called borrowed chords, or modal mixture chords. Here’s how that works: Chapter 4 of “The Essential Secrets of Songwriting” tells […]

If You're Waiting For Inspiration, You're Wasting a Lot of Time

So what’s wrong with inspiration? Don’t the best songs in the world inspire us? And so doesn’t that require inspiration? The simple answer is: no, songwriting does not require you to be inspired. And in fact, if youare waiting for inspiration, that could be the source of that pesky writer’s block that keeps raising its head. The role […]

Should My Lyrics Rhyme?

Lyrics are the main way you communicate with your audience, but it’s not the only way. What we do with chord progressions, melodic shape, rhythm, and the basic mood we convey with all of those elements, all work together to communicate something to the listener. But lyrics probably stand as the most important way we have […]