Joni Mitchell

Theme and Variations as a Songwriting Technique

A common musical form that classical composers have loved for centuries is theme and variations; a melody is repeated, changed in some way, but still similar enough to the original that it’s recognizable. It was a measure of a composer’s musical imagination, and fun for an audience to hear what might happen next with the […]

The Animals - House of the Rising Sun

Creating a New Song Melody: 4 Tricks

There are lots of tricks that composers have used over the centuries to create new melodies based on already-existing ones. Some ideas: Slowing a known melody down so much that it becomes unrecognizable as the original. Example: The first phrase of Mozart Piano No. 16 in C major served as the main melody for “Hey […]

Why Sticking to the 3-4 Minute Song Length Still Makes Sense

There’s an interesting history behind why pop songs tend to be 3-to-4 minutes in length, and it has to do with the nature of the medium: typically, a 10-inch record spinning 78 times per minute, as you would have had when rock & roll was in its infancy. That usually meant that it was not […]

Songwriter on a mountaintop

Turning Encounters, Experiences and Feelings Into Songs

If you’re the kind of person who immediately feels that your life experiences could or should be expressed in song, you’re a natural songwriter. But just because that’s true, it doesn’t mean it’s easy. How do you turn your life experiences into music? And how do you do it in such a way that people […]

5 Ways to Make Your Song’s Chorus Outstanding

Download “The Essential Secrets of Songwriting” 6 e-book bundle. Here’s how to get your songs working right away! __________________ Ask someone to sing the theme to Beethoven’s 5th Symphony, and you’ll get that famous “da-da-da-DUM” theme. But Beethoven, Brahms, and all other composers realized that most compositions used at least two themes, the so-called “contrasting […]