Bob Marley

Solidifying Chorus Rhythms to Help the Chorus Hook

Try this little experiment the next time you’re listening to music on the radio. Put your radio in an automatic scan mode, where it moves through the dial, stopping on radio stations as it finds them, and then plays 7 or 8 seconds before moving on. As it stops at each new station (and assuming […]

The Chieftains

It Doesn’t Take Much

Every once in a while I write a blog post that refers to the importance of repetition in music, and how song melodies without repetition are problematic because they’re hard to remember. We already know the power and need for repetition in music when it comes to basic elements like the backing rhythms. Most songs […]

Kiefer Sutherland

“Something You Love” (Kiefer Sutherland) – Why It Works

I wonder if I can be forgiven for not being aware of the quality of Kiefer Sutherland’s music. I’ve always known him as an excellent actor (24, Designated Survivor, etc.). But I wasn’t at all familiar with his music. And it’s very good. He’s released two albums to date: “Down in a Hole” (2016) and “Reckless […]

Folk Singer - Songwriter

On Being the Only Sound In the Room

“Hooks and Riffs: How They Grab Attention, Make Songs Memorable, and Build Your Fan Base” shows you how a good hook can make the difference between songwriting success and failure. With great examples from pop music history. Every conductor has phrases they mutter when things aren’t going well in rehearsal. I’ve had a good number of […]

Adele

Organizing Chords to Fit Your Song’s Verse-Chorus Structure

Changing key within a song is one way of keeping things interesting. One of the most popular ways to do this is to create a song verse that’s in a minor key, and then switching key (called modulating) to the relative major for the chorus. Lots of songs do this, and you can take Eagles’ […]

Neil Young

Borrowing Ideas From Other Writers’ Songs

John Lennon tells the story that Yoko was playing Moonlight Sonata on the piano and he asked her to play the chords backwards. From that reversed performance he composed his song “Because”, from The Beatles’ “Abbey Road” album. I’ve listened to Moonlight Sonata many times, including listening to it backwards (on YouTube you can find […]