Blog Archives

Writing better lyrics (notes on Pattison’s book)

This blog entry is a set of notes that I made on the book: Pattison, Pat (2009) Writing better lyrics: the essential guide to powerful songwriting, Writers Digest Books, Cincinnati. I have mixed feelings about this book. On the one hand,

Posted in Books, Lyric writing

If You Want To Write (notes on Ueland’s book)

Brenda Ueland (1891-1985) was a journalist, editor, freelance writer and teacher of writing. She seems to have been a highly creative, generous-hearted, free spirit. Amongst her accomplishments, she was knighted by the King of Norway, and set an international swimming

Posted in Books, Creativity & Craftsmanship

The Escaped Lyric (Radio 4 series)

5 episodes of 11 minutes each – From teenage alienation to middle-aged loss and regret, lyrics from popular music can escape their song to become an anthem of our youth or a lifeline through loss and solitude. Nick Berkeley

Posted in Documentaries, Lyric writing

Melody 01: Melody writing made simple(r)

7:15-9:30pm, Wednesday 26 October 2016 Sign up here. In these sessions, we’re rotating a number of core topics on songwriting. This is our first on writing melody. We’ll look at: the musical properties and potential of different scales, intervals and

Posted in Music writing / Composing

Finding A ‘Big Idea’ To Focus Your Song

Starting in August 2016, about once a month, I have been leading an evening workshop for Oxford Songwriters Meetup. We are gradually working through some of the main topics in my Oxford Songwriting Syllabus. The meeting on 25 Sept 2016

Posted in Lyric writing Tagged with: , ,

Analysis of ‘And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda’ (Eric Bogle)

Analysing other people’s songs can teach us a lot This is the second song analysis to be posted on this blog. As I said I have said elsewhere, a song does not have to be good, or one we like,

Posted in Song Analysis

Analysis of ‘Hell No’ (Ingrid Michaelson)

Why should we study other people’s songs? We can learn a lot about songwriting through close study of other people’s songs. It doesn’t matter whether the song is ‘great’, mediocre or terrible; a song will always teach us something about

Posted in Song Analysis

Poets of Tin Pan Alley (notes on Furia’s book)

This blog entry is part of the series on book summaries. It is the notes that I made as I read through: Furia, Philip (1990) Poets of Tin Pan Alley: a history of America’s great lyricists, Oxford University Press, New

Posted in Books, Lyric writing

Lyrics Checklist – good writers re-write

In The Craft of Lyric Writing, Sheila Davis writes: “Good writers are generally good editors, Any serious writer wil tell you that plays, novels, and poems aren’t just written – they’re rewritten.” (p.293) Here are some ways to analyse lyrics

Posted in Lyric writing

The lyrics of American Pie (Don McLean)

Don McLean’s iconic song ‘American Pie’ has a fascinating set of lyrics. These days, it might seem a strange and obscure collection of references and images that don’t speak to later generations. But he captured the hearts and minds of

Posted in Lyric writing