I offer the following resources for individual and class use:
The Fine Art of Songwriting Series:
Concisely written manuals on a wide range of useful topics, designed specifically for Songwriters.
Writing the Big Chorus: Delayed Gratification and the Power of One, 2nd. Edition
An over-arching principle of the Big Chorus type of song is the principle of
- the ability to wait in order to obtain something we want. By it's very design, The Big Chorus song exercises this personality trait by
setting up expectations, denying them, and finally fulfilling them.
Within the harmonic framework of a song, chords exist in a dynamic relationship with one another, and in greater or lesser service to the One (1) chord. Since it is the nature of the One (1) chord to provide stability, permanence, and the feeling of arrival, the power of the Big Chorus song is in delaying this resolution until the top of the chorus, while setting up expectations for it in the sections preceding it.
The author shows how this is done, so you, too, can write the kind of "knock-it-out-of-the-park" chorus that will have everybody singing along!
Guitar chord- fingerings are provided for all song examples, as well as an appendix, that includes common diatonic, and non-diatonic chords, in five essential "key-forms".
Chords As Adjectives: Modifying Tonal Narrative
Chords are living, breathing things, with unique personalities and dispositions. When used affectively, they can act as musical "adjectives", modifying the various parts of speech in a lyric, casting words in various shades of meaning.
Expand your chord knowledge to include: chord inversions, extended chords, and chord substitutions. Learn to control your songs underlying "tonal narrative" by choosing chords like a poet chooses words.
Free yourself from worn out harmonic cliches, and go from being a songwriter to a song-composer.
Modulation: Controlling Key Change
Modulation, when used affectively, can add a dramatic element to song sections, emphasize a lyrics emotional intent, and make song arrangements more interesting.
The author draws on numerous musical examples to show how modulation can be more than just a typical "American Idol" moment.
An understanding of diatonic and non-diatonic chords would be helpful (see Music Theory for Songwriters I).
Music Theory I For Songwriters
Whether you play a musical instrument or not, a fundamental working knowledge of music theory is a valuable tool for songwriters who want to elevate their craft to a whole new level. Learn the language, and communicate your ideas better with co-writers and studio musicians. The author has distilled a music degree's worth of music theory down to the most practical and useable elements for the professional, and non-professional songwriter. You'll be surprised how much sense this stuff really makes! Book I starts from the beginning, with scale notes and intervals, building chords, and chord inversions, to diatonic chords in major and minor keys. The Nashville Number System is also introduced. Note reading is not required.
Music Theory II For Songwriters
Book II addresses non-diatonic chords, chord substitution, extended chords, and the Art of the Chart.
Melodic Common-Tone Chord Substitution I
A unique approach for gently nudging you out of your chord progression habits. Beginning to mid-level chord theory is explained, revealing some surprising connections for the adventurous melody writer. This is "chordal composition" via the process of discovery!
Melodic Common-Tone Chord Substitution II
Mid-level to advanced chord theory is explained. Book I is recommended first.
VISIT THE WEB STORE
"Your 'Delaying Gratification and the Power of One' song- writing book is amazing! We worked it into our latest cowrite and it made such a difference to our song. I'm still getting great feedback from our members and visitors saying how this lesson has deepened their understanding of good songwriting. One visitor said they want to join NSAI because she enjoyed your lesson so much! Thanks, Steve!"
NSAI coordinator/ Sydney Australia