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.
There’s nothing wrong with big, noisy rock, but here’s a perspective from three guitarists who use their instruments to create a vibe rather than flex their muscular musical chops every chance they get. 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.
Taking liberties with traditional song structures can be a great way to stand apart from your peers, keep listeners on edge, add a sense of drama, and make even a short song seem like an epic. Read More.
We look at recurring songwriting and chord techniques Brian Wilson used to create some of the most beloved and enduring songs in 20th century popular music. Read More.
There are many diverse kinds of ninth chords, and they are used in different ways. In this post, we’ll explore different kinds of ninth chords, how to use them, and provide examples of their use in popular music. Read More.
One process that may be useful for musicians is mind mapping, a visual tool that requires you to generate, organize, and explore new ideas based on a central theme or concept. Read More.
Nobody is born a poet. Creative writing workshops are filled with aspiring Dickinsons and Whitmans suffering through the same mental block that musicians experience. These writing exercises can help you do something about it. Read More.
Jazz musicians know and integrate substitution chords (also known as chord substitution or reharmonization) on a regular basis, but musicians who play other genres of music can also employ this concept to great effect. Read More.
As a musician, it’s important to listen to music genres outside of your own. The term “bimusical” has been coined to express a degree of fluency in different styles of music, and there are compelling reasons to aspire to being bi. Read More.
There’s no “formula” to write a great chorus or hook, but these techniques can spark ideas to write, rework, or critique your own songs. Read More.
Deliberate isolation helped Cage The Elephant find its voice. Maybe you can try the same to strip away your influences and find your voice as a musician. Read More.
Music theory is a set of tools you can lean on to help you write and compose, and being deliberate in how you arrange your parts can translate to a better sound on stage. Read More.