Songwriting Principle No. 9: Tracking the Rise and Fall of your Melodies

Writing a good melody requires several things all working together; chief among them are lyric and harmonies. A melody is good if it seems to complement the emotion of the lyric. The harmonies, of course, need to support the melody. Beyond that, there is another important issue which is often overlooked: melodic shape. Melodies need countour. While there […]

Songwriting Principle No. 6: All Song Elements Must Work TOGETHER

Many songwriters become fixated on one aspect of a song, to the detriment of the others. In my experience, more songwriters worry about their chord progressions than anything else. If you find chords hard to come up with, that fixation may make sense. But the most important element of a song may not actually be any […]

Songwriting Principle No. 3: Chord Progressions- What Makes a STRONG One?

You might think that when I talk about “strong” progressions I’m really talking about “good” ones, but that’s not what I’m referring to. A strong chord progression has a particular set of characteristics that contrast with the other category: fragile progressions.Good songs use a combination of strong and fragile progressions.  So what is the principle […]

Songwriting Principle No. 2: Energy Propels Your Song Forward

When we speak of the energy of a song, it’s probably obvious what we’re talking about. In short, it’s that unseen force within a songthat causes our body to move with the music. All songs have energy, even the very quiet, serene ones. The successful song does not deal so much with how much energy a […]

Songwriting Principle No. 1: Contrast Makes or Breaks Your Song

When I wrote “The Essential Secrets of Songwriting”, I researched long and hard about what makes good songs; why some songs work so well, while others seem to fall flat. In my preparation for writing the book, I developed a list of what I considered to be the primary principles of successful songs. There are eleven of […]