Chord Progressions: A Simple Explanation for Lyricists

A simple explanation of chord progressions

  I included the term "chord progressions" in my book because we often work with lyricists only, so we are creating the music as well as the melody. We will ask if they have a chord progression in mind, mostly to help us determine the melody. Sometimes people need us to define chord progression, so I decided to define it to make it easier! What are chord progressions? Chord Progressions are basically the order that your chords go. If your song is in C major, your chords are going to be C, F, and G primarily, with whatever else fits your particular so[...]


How to Write and Label a Song’s Bridge

How to Write and Label your song's bridge

A lot of my clients have trouble writing their song's bridge. It's the one part of the song that breaks away from the rest, so it can definitely be tricky. Another problem writers tend to have is labeling their songs correctly. Lyric sheets need to be formatted so that your session musicians can understand them. Pitch sheets need to be labeled as well. Let's dive into the bridge and straighten all this out! What is a bridge? A song’s bridge is *usually* located before the last chorus and it either changes up the meaning of the song or adds to the story.[...]


The Beat – A Simple Guide for Beginning Songwriters

An easy explanation of a song's beat for new songwriters

Songs talk about The Beat all the time. There are so many references that I couldn't fit them all here, but I'm sure you've heard a band or artist mention a beat at some point. This is occasionally a point of confusion for some writers or clients who aren't terribly familiar with a song's beat, so let's talk about it a little bit. The beat is also known as the pulse or rhythm of the song. You might think, “why is this something people get confused about?” but consider the many types of beat terms: Upbeat, Downbeat, Backbeat, Hyperbeat, and you find s[...]


How to Get a Great Bass Track for Your Song

How to get the best bass player for your song

Bass is kind of a generic term for “the lower parts” of the song. A bass can be a singer, a guitar, or several types of instruments (like a ukulele or clarinet). You may also hear people ask to "bring the bass up" or down. These are general things to know before heading into your session! Why should I care about the bass? Well, you should care about every aspect of your song (plus, there's a reason Meghan Trainor is all about it). If every track doesn't sound great on its own, it shouldn't be in the song. The only time you shouldn't care is if you're[...]


Reading Bars: A Beginner’s Guide to Sheet Music

The beginner's guide to reading bars in sheet music

If you're a session singer, you'll likely encounter sheet music at some point in your career. If you're a songwriter, you might someday write sheet music. Either way, reading sheet music can be fun and rewarding, and doesn't have to be scary! I'm going to focus on just one part of sheet music today: Bars. This might be really basic for some, but I’m going into this assuming that you know nothing at all about reading music (which is totally okay). Consider it an intro! Let's look at a photo of a bar: The shape on the left is a Treble Clef (which tel[...]


Ballads: Slow Songs That Connect to the Heart

Also known as “slow jams,” ballads were HUGE in the 90s (you kids probably don’t remember them very well but I’m old so take a seat and listen to my wisdom). Lately, as a songwriter, I’ve been told not to write any ballads to pitch anywhere because everyone wants uptempo songs. But like all things, music works in cycles so eventually, we’ll see a return of the ballad. If you're writing a ballad, what are the chances it could be a hit? Let's look at some data for inspiration: Of course, artists still record ballads, but they aren’t singles l[...]


How to Turn Your Poetry into Music Lyrics

I often hear people say that “lyrics are just poems put to music,” but I disagree. Whenever I hear a poet speaking, their words seem much different than anything I could write to a song. It’s as if the absence of melody requires them to take bolder chances, to read and speak in a different way than if they were to sing. Let's say you're a poet interested in having your poem turned into a song. What are the steps? For the ease of writing this, I'm going to assume you're a poet who came to me at Brain Stamp to turn your poem into a song. This will allo[...]