Songwriting - Form

Writing an Effective Song Refrain

At first glance you might think of a song’s refrain as simply being a shorter version of a chorus. But they’re actually quite different. Choruses are usually complete structures that can be repeated over and over easily, as we notice with final chorus repeats of most pop songs. But a refrain isn’t a complete structure; […]

Eagles

Using an Open Cadence to Create Momentum in Your Songs

In songwriting, momentum is forward motion… the feeling that there’s a musical engine driving your song onward in such a way that the audience doesn’t get bored or distracted. One moment leads nicely to the next moment in a kind of musical perfection. For tangible examples of this aspect of music, you simply need only to […]

When Improvising Doesn’t Result in a Song

Do you ever find that you spend a lot of time improvising on ideas, but often not able to come up with a song? Improvising plays a crucial role in musical composition of any style, so what’s happening when you’re improvising but there’s no song to show for your efforts? An analogy might help here. […]

Songwriter with guitar and paper

Writing a Good Song Melody: It’s Not a Random Process

There’s so much about songwriting that seems random. You could choose practically any chord progression, any melodic shape, any hook, any combination of words for the lyric. So when you look at it that way, it seems that randomness is a key feature of songs. The success of a pop song often comes down to […]

The Many Benefits of Speedwriting Your Songs

It’s exciting when a song seems to happen spontaneously and easily; within what seems to be a few minutes, you’ve written something that is, for all intents and purposes, a great song that’s ready for prime time. As you hopefully know, that’s not the norm. It usually takes a lot longer to write songs, anywhere […]

Sigrid - Don't Kill My Vibe

Using Melodic Range to Create Musical Energy

If you’re not sure what’s meant by a phrase, think of it as a part of a sentence up to a comma or a period, where the sentence seems to pause, either temporarily or permanently, like this 2-phrase unit from Robert Frost’s poem, “Stopping By Woods On a Snowy Evening”: Whose woods these are I […]