Eric Carmen

What Can You Really Learn From an Old Song?

From our standpoint here in 2021, it may be hard to hear the difference between a song written and recorded today, and one that was done, say, three years ago. Ten years ago? You start to hear some differences. And if you go back a few decades, to the 80s for example, there are lots […]

songwriter - guitarist

Too Much of a Good Thing

This post contains some additional thoughts on my previous post about motifs. As you know, a motif is a repeating figure (melodic, rhythmic, or any other musical fragment) that adds strength to the structure of a song. But it begs the question: is it possible for a song to feature too many repeating things? When is […]

Amanda McBroom

Verses, Choruses, and How Much They Matter

The verse-chorus format of songs in the pop music genres is extremely common. Even people with no musical training in the least can tell if what they’re hearing is a verse or a chorus. The thing is, some songs don’t use the verse-chorus format. And some songs that do use a verse-chorus format will use […]

Christina Perri

Curing the Melody that Aimlessly Wanders

Writing melodies may not be the part of songwriting you find easy at all. You may find it easy to create chord progressions that you like, and you may even be a decent lyricist. But if you’re finding that your melodies sound like aimless wandering — a disorganized collection of notes — that’s a problem […]

The Bee Gees

Ignoring Genre to Improve Your Songwriting Skills

I find that whenever I think of what the Bee Gees went through in the early 1980s, with the public in general suddenly expressing an intense dislike for their music, I feel a lot of sadness. The Bee Gees as a songwriting partnership wrote some of the best songs in the history of pop. Maybe […]

Piano and guitar - songwriter

The Unfinished Song: Turning Frustration Into Success

These days you might be listening to Handel’s “Messiah,” and even if you don’t know that work, you no doubt know his “Hallelujah Chorus” which ends the second part of the oratorio. “Messiah” is a lengthy work consisting of fifty-three movements, and listening to the entire piece will take you more than two hours. (Most […]