People often say that the only way you can learn songwriting is by writing a lot of songs. This is true, but a book like Great Songwriting Techniques will help you speed up your learning and writing process. So that you can write the music that you want to write with ease!
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I find that many books on songwriting are useless. They have a lot of extra info or fluff as I like to call it, that you don’t need. It’s a waste of time and energy. Second of all, I find that many of these songwriting books are incomplete and mainly focus on the obvious parts like harmony and musical form. This is exactly where the book ‘Great Songwriting Techniques’ shines. Unlike many other songwriting books, it also has a great focus on melody! Let’s dive in and see who this book is written for and how it can benefit your songwriting.
If you want to become a better musician, songwriter, producer, or composer, then you need to invest time in researching and learning new things. Gathering all this information by yourself is very time-consuming and difficult. So why waste time? I have curated a list of the best books on songwriting for songwriters and the best books on music composition for composers. These lists are made so that you can save time searching and start reading and writing music straight away!
Let’s start with the most important question: Why bother and learn from a book like this? Well, the author Jack Perricone describes it perfectly: “Once you’ve absorbed the information in this book, it will be available whenever needed, so that when you are in that intuitive place -in the zone- you can remain there for longer periods of time. You will be able to finish more of the songs that you’ve started, and more of your songs will be keepers.“
The book covers both topics that are important to songwriting which is: lyric writing and music composition. So you will know how your lyrics can have more impact and how your music can tell the story you want it to tell. And as I already mentioned in the introduction. What I find very refreshing is that melody has a very important place in this songwriting book. The book Great Songwriting Techniques is divided into six logical sections that progress from simple to more complex.
- The basics
- Tonal Environments
- Large considerations
- Harmonic considerations
- Deeper into technique
- Final results
The book has many clear and concise music examples and the text is written in an informal but very understandable manner. And my favourite is the summary and suggested activities at the end of each chapter. These activities are meant for you to practice what you learned in an everyday workday songwriting context. The songwriting activities that are mentioned at the end of the first chapter are enough to keep you busy for a full year!
Don’t wait for inspiration and take control of your songwriting and music! I always find that you should not rely on some kind of magical inspiration when it comes to composing music and songwriting. You never know when and if it will strike. And as a professional, you need to be consistent with your music output and practice.
And I was happy to read in his introduction that Jack Perricone agrees. What he say’s in the introduction about this is: “This book is written for those who are serious about songwriting, for those who believe, as I do, that the rational mind has a definite place in the creative process -that once you become familiar with the tools and techniques of songwriting your freedom to create is greatly increased.”
Here is a short description/summary of the book Great Songwriting Techniques:
In Great Songwriting Techniques, veteran composer and teacher Jack Perricone shares years of experience in the art, science, and pedagogy of songwriting to teach readers the craft. Whether they write for a small group of friends or in the hopes of creating a smash hit, aspiring songwriters can learn how to focus on topics essential to their success in this competitive field; every songwriter must be aware of audience, thick-skinned enough to handle rejection and competition, and most importantly have the confidence to master the craft of composing and producing.
Perricone teaches readers to accomplish this through a targeted series of lessons on key elements of songwriting from building blocks like melody, harmony, and rhythm to more advanced topics like lyric placement and tone texture. Chapters explore loop-based harmonic patterns, tone tendencies, form, function, and lyric writing, all in service of preparing the aspiring songwriter to be a master of prosody and keen in understanding the relationship between words and music. The volume includes examples of exceptional songwriting from well-known artists such as Irving Berlin, Prince, Bob Dylan, Stevie Wonder, Justin Timberlake, and Taylor Swift.
Video Review: Great Songwriting Techniques by Jack Perricone
If you don’t feel like reading the full article, or if you just like watching the video, then check out my video review of Great Songwriting Techniques. Also, check out my playlist on other book reviews if you want to find any other great books for songwriting, writing music and music theory.
For the full video transcript see down below at the end of the article.
Tutorials on Songwriting Tips and Music Theory For Composing Music
If you want to learn more about creative music theory and tips for songwriting, then check out my playlist Songwriting Tips and Music Theory For Composing Music on YouTube. Or you can also read the separate articles on songwriting and music composition over here. In any case, more than enough tips and techniques for writing music!
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The Bible of songwriting books! The most complete book I’ve ever read about songwriting. And this may sound like a bold statement but I stand by it! Great Songwriting Techniques by Jack Perricone is by far the best songwriting book out there. No nonsense, no fluff, and a gold mine of songwriting techniques.
In this review, I will share who it is written for, what you can learn, and also a point of critique. So let’s get creative!
Who is it written for?
Don’t wait for inspiration to strike. And don’t lose your energy figuring out something that somebody else has already figured out for you. Your time and creativity is valuable!
This is what the author has to say about it: This book is written for those who are serious about songwriting.
For those who believe, as I do, that the rational mind has a definite place in the creative process. That once you become familiar with the tools and techniques of songwriting, your freedom to create is greatly increased.
It does not matter what type of music you prefer because the examples in this book are practically in any style of music that you can think of. And of course the techniques that you learn, you can apply them to your own music and make it better. Just I think it’s necessary that you have a basic understanding of music theory and also of music notation. This is also a point of critique but we’ll get to that later.
What can you learn? Let’s start with the most important question. Why bother and learn from a book like this? Well, the author describes it perfectly:
Once you’ve absorbed the information in this book, it will be available whenever needed.
So that when you are in that intuitive place -in the zone- you can remain there for longer periods of time.
You’ll be able to finish more of the songs that you’ve started, and more of your songs will be keepers.
Great Songwriting Techniques covers lyric writing and composition. So this means that you will learn how your lyrics can have more impact with your listener and also how your music can tell the story that you want it to tell. And what I find very refreshing is that unlike other songwriting books which mainly focus on harmony, the melody has an important place in this book. Great Songwriting Techniques is divided into six sections which are:
- The basics, which covers basic concepts and techniques.
- Tonal environments, which presents fundamental studies of tonality and tone tendencies.
- Large considerations, which is about development techniques form and melodic outline.
- Harmonic considerations, which covers harmony and the effect it has on lyrics and melodies.
- Deeper into technique, this is about riffs, counterpoint, and rhythmic strategizing.
- And lastly, final results is about the actual process of writing a song.
Apart from great and clear music examples, what I also love about the book great songwriting techniques is the summary and the activities list at the end of each chapter. Of course the summary speaks for itself, but the activities list at the end is super. There are a list of activities that are linked to what you just learned in the previous chapter and they are little songwriting gems if you ask me. I mean the activities that are mentioned at the end of chapter one are already enough to keep you busy for a full year working on your songwriting chops.
So are there any downsides to this book? Well actually the only downside is, is that you need to have a basic understanding of music theory and basic understanding of music notation, since all of the examples have notes. This means that for some people who are new to music and new to writing music, is that the learning curve might be too steep. Because there are simply too many things that you need to learn all at once. So if you’re new to this then I would not recommend starting off with this book.
What the author has to say about this is the following:
Even without fluent knowledge of notation, you should be able to learn a great deal from this book. Because many of the examples are from songs that you will recognize.
If you’re serious about songwriting, then I recommend that you read this book and I mean not only once.
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