mystery chords

Mystery chords in “A Hard Day’s Night” and “London Calling”

Ever sit down to learn a song and find that no matter what chord you play, it’s just not the right one? We investigate two mystery chords in two classic songs. Read the post.

alternate guitar tunings

Need songwriting inspiration? Try alternate guitar tunings.

This post explores some common — and some of the more obscure — alternate guitar tunings to inspire you to write your next masterpiece. Read the post.

play eleventh and thirteenth chords C13b9

How to play eleventh and thirteenth chords on guitar

For some extended guitar chords — like a fully voiced thirteenth — there are more notes in the chord than there are strings. That’s where slash chords come in … with a little help from your bassist. Read the post.

eleventh chords

The lush world of eleventh chords

Eleventh chords can liven up music in any genre, but they can be confusing. Here are some charts and examples to help guide you in your pursuit of extended chords. Read the post.

Music arrangement guru Dr. Richard Niles is interviewed by Disc Makers

The art of music arrangement: an interview with Dr. Richard Niles

Music arrangement might be the invisible art, but the results can spell the difference between a smash hit and a “nice” song. Dr. Richard Niles has a storied history as an arranger and shares some thoughts and insights in this interview. Read the post.

Scott McCormick is a musician and the author of the Mr. Pants series of graphic novels for kids. His new audiobook, Rivals! Frenemies Who Changed the World, has been described as “drunk history for middle-grade kids” and is available on Audible. Scott can be reached at [hana-code-insert name='Guide Songwriting' /]

The song ending: How are you gonna do it?

The fade out, the cold ending, the endless loop, the key modulation… there are so many approaches to a song ending — at least on record — so, how are you gonna do it? Read the post.

song intro

Wow ‘em with your song intro

As an independent music artist, you’ve got a few seconds — at most — to reel a listener in to your single or lead-off track. Here are some strategies to craft a song intro that will make your listeners pay attention. Read the post.

She Said She Said

From demo to classic: She Said She Said

Though labeled a Lennon/McCartney song, “She Said She Said” was more truly a Lennon/Harrison song that was a late addition to one of the pivotal albums in the Beatles’ esteemed catalog. Read the post.

funk music

James Brown and the invention of funk music

We take a look at the true innovation and widespread influence James Brown had as he evolved his sound and created funk music in the process. Read the post.

Images of famous examples of sampling in hip-hop

The evolving art of sampling in hip hop

When Public Enemy released “Fight The Power” in 1989, there were few rules when it came to sampling. While today’s artists face constraints, they’re finding ways to keep hip hop the most vital, and popular, music genre. Read the post.

A pianist employing the use of a pedal point.

One note to rule them all: The pedal point

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.

hit single

From demo to hit single: Owner of a Lonely Heart

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.

music videos

Creative advice for your next music videos

Posting and sharing music videos is a great way to get your music noticed on social media. Thankfully, interesting videos are easier to make than ever. Read the post.

John Gustafson

John Gustafson: the second most important bassist to come out of Liverpool

In a career that spans decades and features collaborations with an array of influential artists, John Gustafson is a name you might not know, even though he recorded on over 100 albums, including his solo album, Goose Grease, in 1976. Read the post.