Blog Archives

The Escaped Lyric (Radio 4 series)

5 episodes of 11 minutes each – www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b082bk15/episodes/guide 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

The Beatles – a musical appreciation and analysis

Over a period of only a few years, the Beatles revolutionised the world of pop music with their innovation in harmonic, melody, song structure, lyric writing, instrumentation / arranging, and recording techniques. Not only that, they revitalised the musical landscape

Posted in Documentaries, Music writing / Composing Tagged with: ,

Originality in songwriting

Is it possible to be original in songwriting? There is that famous verse in the Bible: “What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.” (Ecclesiastes 1:9) All

Posted in Creativity & Craftsmanship