songwriting session

Why Studying Old Songs Helps You Write New Ones

You’ve probably noticed that great songwriters, when being interviewed about what they do, often talk about old songs. They’ll talk about the songs of their youth, and sometimes even further back. If you’re writing songs that you hope are on the cutting edge, songs that you hope sound fresh, new and innovative, it begs the question: […]

Sugarland

Finding a Good Chord Progression For Your Song’s Pre-Chorus

A pre-chorus is not a mandatory section of a song. In fact, most songs don’t use them. But in some circumstances, a pre-chorus can be a vital addition to the structure of a song. It sits between the verse and chorus, and its main purpose is to better prepare the listener for the arrival of […]

Paul Simon

If You Aren’t Creating Images…

A good lyric might use clever rhymes. And it might use no rhymes. You might write a lyric that’s long and involved, or you might write one that uses very few words. Your lyric might be a story. Or the story might be only vaguely implied. You may write about love, or you might write […]

Carole King

Keeping Your Listeners Excited to Listen For the Full 4-Minute Experience

One of the most powerful and effective aspects of songwriting is creating a sense of expectancy. That term expectancy refers to a song’s ability to make you want to hear what happens next. Without that quality of expectancy, a song would have no ability to keep listeners listening. The best element to look at to see expectancy […]

Piano keyboard

A Bit of Chord Inversion (Slash Chord) Theory

Whenever you play a chord, you’re usually playing it in what’s called root position. This means that the root of the chord (the note represented by its letter name) is going to be the lowest-sounding note — the one that the bass is playing. If you want hundreds of chords to experiment with, “The Essential […]

Songwriter on a new path

Comfort Zone

We humans have an innate tendency to stay within our comfort zone, at least most of us. There are risk-takers out there, but more often than not we like predictability in almost everything we do. There’s nothing wrong with staying within a comfort zone, but if you’re a songwriter, writing the same way — staying […]