So you just finished a song and you are wondering whether if it’s potentially a hit? Writing a hit song is one of the Holy Grail for most musicians. And surely, many musicians became famous and successful by writing at least one song that became extremely popular. In this article, I will explain what aspects of the song you need to take a look at to measure whether if it’s a possible hit, and I will also explain why it is not enough to write a hit song.
There are different situations in life when a songwriter considers whether it’s worth writing songs anymore. This can be a situation when your songs didn’t make any success at all, but I also know highly successful musicians who told me they hate to write new songs anymore. Depending on your situation and goals, there are many things to consider.
A very old dilemma is whether we should write more popular songs that the audience likes or write songs that we like. I have been there, and I’ve seen the struggle of many bands and musicians. I think there are many misconceptions about this, so let me tell you my opinion.
Do all chord progressions need to include the tonic? It depends on what we are talking about. Most people identify the “one” (I.) chord as a tonic, but the truth is, we can use four tonic chords in a song even if the song doesn’t modulate into another key. (I teach all the chord functions in our songwriting course.) But even if we only count only diatonic chords, there are two tonic chords: the I. and the VI.
So in reality, there aren’t many chord progressions without any tonic chords in them. However, if we only want to avoid the tonic “one” chord, we can find many examples of these kinds of chord progressions. And the truth is, there is no practical use in avoiding both the “one” and the “six” chords. It’s completely possible, but there’s no point in it.
If you want to learn more about this stuff, go through our online songwriting course in which I show you how you can create melodies for chord progressions that don’t contain the tonic I. chord.
Salsa is a style that is originated in Cuba, but the first salsa bands really started in New York in the 1970s. Salsa is really a broad genre, and it can include many different elements of musical styles (even in one song) like classical music, jazz, funk, Cuban son, Brazilian samba, pop music, and many more. There are some very distinctive elements you need to use in order to create the salsa sound, but other than that, you can be extremely creative with it.
Adding a horn section to your arrangement can really spice up your song. Horns can play loud and high notes, so they really pop out in your composition, becoming almost as important as the vocal melody. And you can’t write songs without horns if you write in the style of funk, jazz, or Latin. Horns are essential parts of these genres. But it doesn’t have to be a fast, groovy arrangement. You can use horns in slow songs too. So let’s see what are the most important aspects of arranging horns.
Is music really getting worse? A group of researchers analyzed around half a million pop songs that were published from 1955 to 2021. They measured things like timbre, pitch, and loudness. It turned out that as time goes by, these things became more homogenized, meaning, today’s songs contain less musical information and there are fewer differences in them. In other words, all songs start to sound the same. But can you measure music in a scientific way? And isn’t “good music” relative?
R&B is one of the most popular genres on the planet. However, R&B can mean a lot of completely different styles. Over time, R&B songs adopted the elements of pop, hip-hop, and EDM, and they became more and more simple. So if we go back in time, we can find very different sounding songs in every decade that are still considered to be R&B songs. In this article, I will write about how you can write a contemporary R&B song.
When we start to write our first songs, let’s be honest, they really don’t sound good. Writing good songs can be hard when you just start out. Even if you are an experienced musician, you have probably noticed that it requires totally different skills than playing a song that is already written. Recognizing that our songs are not good enough is already a good step towards being better. But the question is, how can we improve and write better songs?
I wanted to write an article about this a little bit earlier, but it’s still not too late to write a Christmas song and publish it before this year’s holiday. Christmas songs are in a special category in music, and it’s a very divisive topic because many artists don’t really like Christmas songs. This is probably due to the fact that Christmas songs can be really cheesy and corny. But I do believe that it’s possible to write good Christmas songs, so let’s see what are the most common features of a Christmas song.