Emotional audience

What Does a Songwriter Need to Know About Musical Structure?

There’s nothing like the word “structure” to turn off an artistically-minded musician. When a song sounds good, we don’t necessarily think about its structure. We just revel in the fact that it just sounds great. But when songs sound good, it’s at least in part due to its structure. So what exactly do we mean […]

Peter Gabriel in concert

Trying Too Hard

It’s okay to wish and hope that your songs might become viral successes that the whole world can’t get enough of. And if you really want that, it seems to be a no-brainer that all it takes is some analysis of the world’s top hits, and do whatever it is they’re doing. No matter how […]

Bass player

The Best Way to Use Pedal Point in Your Chord Progressions

Songwriters can be forgiven for looking for new and exciting chord progressions. There’s a fear that if you use a progression that’s been used before, it will sound either boring or overused, and lacking in originality. The truth is that as long as the chords are properly supporting the notes of the melody, even mundane […]

Guitar

Taking Songwriting Technique to Higher Levels

When you listen to great instrumentalists, no matter what genre, you become aware of something important: underneath all those great musical ideas is a foundation in the basics. If you don’t have a grounding in the basics of technique on your instrument, it’s going to show pretty quickly. Everyone knows this. That’s why, if you’re […]

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 […]