In part two of our series, we break down two more iconic songs from the Rolling Stones’ library: 1966’s “Under My Thumb” and “Ruby Tuesday.” Read the post.
With guitar riffs like the one in “The Last Time,” the Rolling Stones established their musical signature on the way to becoming songwriting legends. Read the post.
A pedal point is the repetition or sustain of a single note throughout various harmonic changes that can make a standard progression more interesting or ground a complex progression in something familiar. Read the post.
Here’s the story of how an unlikely collaboration met with a massive riff, memorable chorus, groundbreaking samples, and an in-your-face solo to produce a surprise hit single in 1983. Read the post.
When you’re constructing a song, think of it in relation to the human body. You build the skeleton first, which can be a melody, and develop your song from there. Read the post.
Power chords might not be chords, but they’re powerful intervals — especially when mixed with distortion. Read the post.
Whatever your aspirations as a musician, there are lessons to be learned from the basement-tapes legacy created by Guided By Voices. Read the post.
A song can take you on a journey, and including a key change — or modulation — can produce various emotional effects, from brightening the mood to creating a sense of unease. Read the post.
If you are interested in writing lyrics with depth, you need a deep artistic well to draw from. All output requires input, and as a lyricist, I recommend you begin with words. Read the post.
Borrowed chords (chords “borrowed” from a key’s parallel minor) are commonly used in music influenced by the blues, including rock, jazz, R&B, even country and folk. Today we’ll focus on the flat-six chord. Read the post.
Sixth chords have an inherent lack of identity and purpose that can be riveting — a sixth chord can provide ambiguity, set curiously dark moods, and add a layer of complexity to your music. Read More.
Not only does “Good Vibrations” provide a structural template for Smile, it also gives the album its tonal language. Nearly every song or song section is written in one of “Good Vibrations” chords. Read More.
To write a great melody, throw in a dramatic flourish to enhance a moment, but sing the way people speak: It sounds better and makes a melody more memorable. Read More.
While I can’t give you an exact recipe for how to write a great melody, I can point out some common traits great melodies have to help improve your melodic skills. Read More.
Love him or hate him, there’s a lot about Dylan’s career arc that is important and inspirational for songwriters, from his transforming song form to the fact that he’s kept writing almost non-stop for six decades. Read More.