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Introduction to Songwriting

By Adam Hewey & Cody Peck

Adam Hewey

on 14 March 2014

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Transcript of Introduction to Songwriting

Introduction to Songwriting

Adam Hewey: adam.hewey@gmail.com 902.247.2931


As a group, let’s choose a genre, a key, a setting, and an emotion

You can take care of the rhythm!

Interactive Songwriting

“It’s Your Thang –
Do what you wanna do”
– The Isley Brothers

The Artistic License

Why do we like what we like?
He likes that, she likes this …

How do we want our listeners to feel?


What are you singing/writing about?
E.g., Pain, Breakup, New Love, Time, Death, Friends, Family, the Weekend, Bad Job, Hate School


Which Comes First, The Chicken or the Egg?

Who Am I and Why Are You Listening to Me?

Questions? Comments? Suggestions?

Thank You!

Who’s Listening?

Writing For Me Vs. Writing For Them

So What?

“I hate being depressed but it is awfully good for songwriting” – Tomi Allen

Sweet Inspiration

The Darkness: “Friday Night”




Interactive Song Writing Activity

Music and Lyrics By Adam Hewey and Cody Peck

Produced by Adam Hewey, Cody Peck
and Stephane Deraspe

Engineered By Stephane Deraspe
@ Deep Sound Productions in Deep Brook,
Nova Scotia

"Said To Say Hello"

Adam Hewey
B.B. King

What “elements” or “themes” do we look for when we listen to Country/Blues music?



"The Radio Hit”
What Makes a Radio Hit?

Chords & Style

Donald Fagen

The Figurative Vs. The Literal
Hidden Meanings
Fiction Vs. Non-Fiction


Bruce Springsteen
Lynyrd Skynrd
Donald Fagen
What’s Up?

The Basics of Songwriting
Melody, Lyrics, Rhythm & Tempo, Chords/Harmony, Mood, Theme, Setting
Inspiration: What, When, Where, How, & Why?

Why Do We Like What We Like?
The Artistic License

So What? What Does It Mean To Me?
Lyrics, Melody, Chords, Genre, Rhythm, Theme, Mood, Setting
“It Isn’t complicated, it just doesn’t make sense.”
The Process
Tonal Framework & Key Centers
(E.g., G major, A minor, Bb major)
Majors, Minors, Dominant 7ths, Minor 7ths, Major 7ths

Verse, Chorus, Verse, Chorus, Bridge, Chorus, Chorus
"Catchy" Tunes
Where Do I Fit and How Do I Know?
Time, Date, Place
Fresh Prince: “In West Philadelphia, born and raised …”
Lynyrd Skynyrd: “Sweet Home Alabama”
James Blunt: “1973”
Lady Antebellum: “It's a quarter after one, I'm all alone and I need you now"
What If I’ve Never Experienced It Before

Does It Matter?
How do we make them feel that way?

...Let's get to the next slide ...
A localized phenomenon?
In places other than North America?
Where do we get inspiration?
Pain, Hurt, Love, Death, Experiences, Travel, Break Up, School, Work, etc.
“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken” – Oscar Wilde
Pop, Rock, Metal, Country, Hip Hop, Classical, Jazz, Classic Rock, Blues, Bluegrass, Gospel, etc.
WHAT Makes "WHAT" Sound Like "WHAT"?
E.g., What makes Country or Blues music sound the way that it does, etc.?
What makes a sad song, sad? A happy song, happy?
Raag Desh
7-10 PM
Happiness, Joy, & Peace
Full transcript