Few popular songs meld music, lyrics, and theme as potently as the Beatles’ 1965 hit single, “Help!” Here’s how they did it. Read the post.
There are a lot of factors that play into choosing the right arrangement for a song — but choosing the right key for you and the musicians might be the most important. Read the post.
While it might be difficult to keep a song interesting if you limit it to one chord, it can also help create tension, highlight your lyrics, or drive a hypnotic groove. Read the post.
Augmented chords can add drama and tension, as shown in these examples from popular songs from the ’60s through the ’80s. Read the post.
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.
When I had the opportunity to be playing at Carnegie Hall with the great Wouter Kellerman, I had to say yes. With the gig five days away, thoughtful, strategic practicing helped get the music where it needed to be in a short amount of time. Read the post.
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.
If you haven’t ever tried to play slide guitar, all you need is a metal or glass slide, some patience, and to apply a few basic tips, as presented in these six videos. 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.
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.
The first of a two-part series explores how taking time to learn another instrument will help you become stronger at your first instrument and improve your songwriting chops. Read the post.
Strategies that involve focused listening and practice are key to learning new material quickly, and looking closely at song structure can lessen the amount of time it takes you to get from first listen to a strong, quality performance. Read the post.