Insert your custom message here. close ×

How to make sure your next song doesn’t sound exactly like your last song

At a certain point, this becomes a real concern. It’s particularly difficult for a singer whose only instrument is an acoustic guitar, and whose only tool-set is open string chords.

If you’re in a band, you have more options in terms of sound. But if all you know is verse-chorus-verse form, you’ll start to feel like everything you write is the same.


The fix

Of course, there are ways to counter these problems. One is to simply learn more chords, or pick up a book on song form.

Another is to look for inspiration. This means listening.


Listen widely

If all you listen to is the type of music you write, then it makes sense that all you’ll write is music that sounds like that.

But if you listen to house music (say), you’ll hear a different way of approaching form – extreme repetition of a limited amount of material, some of which stays the same from beginning to end, some of which repeats and varies. (I’m over-simplifying in order to make a point).

No verse-chorus-verse.

If you’re a folk musician (or rock, or jazz, or whatever) how do you incorporate this? Maybe the verse takes the house approach, and the chorus breaks into your regular way of doing things. Or vice versa.



Sit down and make a list of everything you use when you write songs. This includes materials and techniques.

Materials include things like:


  • Chords
  • Melody


Technique includes things like:


  • Strumming
  • Fingerpicking
  • Flat-picking


Add anything else that you know. Then list things that you know about, but don’t actually know. This might be 7th chords, hammer-ons, etc.

These are things that you can add to your abilities when things feel stale. This often breaks you out of a box, gives you fresh ideas.


What do you hear?

Then make a list of what you hear when you listen to unfamiliar music. Or any music. This doesn’t have to be accurate; just list impressions.

For instance, if you listen to jazz, you might hear that the piano player doesn’t play all the time, or that the overall feel is looser than other types of music.

Just try to describe whatever you hear. The point isn’t necessarily to add to things that you can do (although that’s good, too). The point is to generate a fresher way of thinking about what you do by stepping off the path you’re on once in a while.


Share : facebooktwittergoogle plus

No Response

Leave us a comment

No comment posted yet.

Leave a Reply