Joni Mitchell

Imagery: A Big Picture From Few Words

The concept of imagery in lyric writing is a simple one: using words to create images or ideas in the mind of the listener. You could argue that practically all lyrics will do this, even if they’re not specifically thought of as being a good example of imagery. Are you trying to make your lyrics […]

Guitar - altered chords

For Making More Complex Chord Progressions, Start Simple

You may not think of many of the early Beatles songs as using complex or unusual chord progressions, but for their day, they were noticeably creative. Where so many other early- to mid-era rock and roll songs were barely straying beyond the basic I-IV-V-I kinds of progressions, The Beatles were throwing in modal mixtures, secondary […]

Songwriting frustration - crumpled paper

Starting Songs, Then Keeping the Fire Burning

If there is one problem that practically all songwriters deal with, it’s this one: the inability to finish a song. Most songs will start with something captivating: a great little hook, a catchy bit of chord progression, or perhaps a short idea for a melody. And they start with great promise. So for those songwriters […]

Singer-Songwriter

How Good Songwriters Listen to Music

As an unofficial “student of songwriting,” you’re curious. You’re not content to just enjoy music — you want to know why some songs sound great, and then you want to apply what you learn to make your own songs sound great. Simply stated, if you aren’t curious, you aren’t a songwriter. If you’re ready to […]

Home recording Studio - Darren Perkins

The Overlapping Ranges of Verse and Chorus Melodies

In most songs, the chorus is considered to be, musically speaking, more energetic than the verse. There are lots of ways that the higher energy is attained, some of which are the producer’s responsibility: instrumentation, playing style, volume, etc. And some of ways to achieve higher energy are the songwriter’s responsibility: higher emotions in the […]

Ray Charles

The Importance of Silencing Your Inner Critic

You can learn as much about songwriting by listening to bad songs as you can by listening to good ones. And that applies to your own songwriting efforts. In the pop genres, there is something to be said for getting something written as quickly as possible, and then try to figure out if it’s any good. […]