Changing Up the Form of Your Song

When we talk about the form of a song, we’re usually talking about the arrangement of its basic elements such as verse, chorus and bridge. That word form, though, can refer to other things: aspects of the lyric, the design of a melody, or how keys are established and changed as a song progresses. Listeners to […]

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 […]

Genesis - 1978

Chord Progressions: The Journey Away, and the Journey Back Home

Chord progressions, at least the kind you find in the pop genres, aren’t usually overly complex. Even when they are a bit more creative than mainstream, they don’t tend to leave the tonic chord too far in the distance. The kind of progressions you find in a chorus are usually more simplistic in structure than […]

Guitar and music paper - Songwriting

Why Simplicity Works So Well In Songwriting

It’s something you hear a lot with regard to songwriting, but with other creative arts as well: Simplicity is a virtue. Don’t get me wrong – I love complexity in music, and I always have. But once in a while I’m reminded of how powerful a song can be when: melodic lines are clear chords […]

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 […]

A Simple Way to Create Minor-Sounding Verses

It’s a common characteristic of many songs in the pop genres: a minor-sounding verse that moves to a major-sounding chorus. You might think that means you need to create two completely different progressions. But let’s say that you’ve worked out a good chorus hook, and now you’re trying to create a verse that partners well […]