Songwriter - Guitarist

Songwriting, and the Benefits of Writing With Minimal Help From a Computer

Most of my writing these days is for vocal/choral groups. Sometimes that means writing for piano as an accompanying instrument, and sometimes I’m writing for full orchestra. Some of them are original compositions, and some are arrangements of already-existing songs (public domain folk songs, for example). But in any case, I practically always start by […]

Johanna Warren - Singer-Songwriter

Two-Part Verse Structures: “Everyone I Know” (Johanna Warren)

I’ve only very recently discovered the music of Johanna Warren, a singer-songwriter from Portland Oregon. The stunning beauty of her music is addictive; it seems impossible to stop listening once you get started. First, check out her Bandcamp site where you can stream her albums. You won’t be disappointed. The aspect of her songwriting that […]

Connecting Melodic Ideas Between a Verse and Chorus

How much of a connection should a listener hear between the verse and chorus? In other words, except for tempo, key and general feel, can a verse melody set up a chorus well if it bears little to no similarity to that chorus melody? Take the classic hit “Witchy Woman” (Don Henley, Bernie Leadon). Compare […]

Songwriter

Thinking About Your Songwriting Process

What do you hate about the notion of a songwriting process? If you find that having a process stifles your creative flow, then you’re confusing the term with songwriting formula. In songwriting, a formula means “once I’ve done this in my song, I should probably do that…”, and that can stifle your sense of creativity. But that’s […]

Passenger - Let Her Go

The Vital Partnership of Verses and Choruses

There’s nothing like the term “song form” to have one’s eyes glaze over. In songwriting, you just want to get going with your writing. And you’ve probably written dozens of songs up to this point without even giving the term “form” a second (or even a first) thought. When we talk about form, we’re talking about […]

Music Theory - Songwriting

5 Reasons Good Songwriters Benefit From Music Theory

An understanding of music theory can help make you a better overall musician, but doesn’t “create” musical abilities within you. To use an analogy, a bad violinist can buy the best multi-million dollar Stradivarius violin, and still sound bad. As a songwriter with certain abilities, and therefore certain successes, you can (and likely will) become a better musician as […]