6 Ways of Dealing With That Dreaded Scourge: Writer's Block

No matter how proficient a songwriter you are, it will happen. You’ll go through a protracted period of time where the ideas just seem to dry up, and you can’t seem to get beyond a few unrelated musical thoughts that go nowhere. Writer’s block hits everyone, but the good news is that there are things […]

The Role of the Tonic Note and Chord in Songwriting

The term “tonic” refers to the first note of a scale, and also to the chord that is built upon that note. In A major, A is the tonic note, and the chord built on it (A-C#-E) is the tonic chord. It’s an important note and chord because it so happens that they usually appear […]

Limiting The Number of Ideas Within a Song

If you were to give a speech, you’d first establish what you should be talking about, limiting yourself to a small number of related ideas. You’d then present those ideas to an audience. Once you’ve presented the ideas in general terms, you’d develop and expand on them in (hopefully) interesting ways. You’d likely then finish […]

Creating and Using Palindromic Chord Progressions

Chord progressions are like clothes, in the sense that you usually want your shirt to coordinate with your trousers, and you similarly want your verse progressions to work with your chorus ones. One way we coordinate progressions is to use many of the same chords, but usually in a different order in the various sections […]

Ditching a Songwriting Formula and Feeling Good About It

If you find yourself ever using the phrase, “my favourite formula,” while describing your songwriting process, you might be actually identifying a problem that keeps you from building a solid audience base. A formula is a method or procedure for how a song typically comes into being. If you’ve used one method a lot more […]

Songwriting: Working From the Title

There are numerous ways to write songs, and there is certainly no one correct way. Many songwriters like to start with a chord progression because it can inspire melodic shapes and general mood. Starting with a melody, or at least with a melodic fragment, will help to ensure that melody plays an important part in […]