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The Muse's News

Issue 5.5 - August 2002
ISSN 1480-6975

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This issue sponsored by: - Get Listed Today!


I n   T h i s   I s s u e :

@-- Editor's Musings
@-- Copyright & Publishing Q&A with Nancy A. Reece from Carpe Diem
    Copyright Management
@-- Music Reviews - by Ben Ohmart, Stacey Board & David Lockeretz
@-- Songwriting Book Review - by James Linderman
@-- Musical Notes - Songwriting Contests & Market Info.
@-- Muse's Clues - Songwriting Web sites that inspire - brought
    to you by singer/songwriter & teacher, Irene Jackson.
@-- Featured Article - PUT YOUR SONG TO THE TESTS 
                     - By Pat & Pete Luboff
@-- Songwriter In Spotlight - Performing songwriter, Jon Goodwin
@-- On Site Featured Article - An article already online for your
    viewing pleasure.
@-- Classifieds & Useful Services
@-- Contact information
ISSN 1480-6975.  Copyright 1998 - 2002, Jodi Krangle.  For more 
contact information, see end of issue. ================================================================= Visit for great Muse's Muse products like mugs, mousepads, shirts, and even wall clocks! Start your own store too - with no up front costs! See ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ S p o n s o r M e s s a g e : (Please support the sponsors that support this newsletter! Thanks!) ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ UNLEASH THE FULL POTENTIAL OF THE INTERNET WITH SONGSCOPE.COM! SongScope is a valuable tool enabling you to build an on-line song catalog, accessible only by proven industry professionals. Receive FREE email informing you every time record producers and industry professionals make requests. Song listings are only $29.95 per year. An ecommerce enabled marketing/promotion page and tour calendar are also available for performing songwriters to get further artist exposure. And more services are coming soon! See for details or contact: ~ Tel: 770.754.4543 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ E d i t o r ' s M u s i n g s : ----------------------------------------------------------------- Hello again at the start of another month! The summer is almost over and I can hardly believe it. Then again, I could do without the record heat temperatures. Ick. Especially now that my husband and I have started walking on a regular basis. BOY are those walks hard sometimes. Still, it's good exercise and it tends to be our "talking" time. We're both pretty busy, so that's a Good Thing. We're also careful to take LOTS of water with us. :) So enough of my personal life. ;) There's LOTS of new stuff on the site these days. I know that I mentioned the Reference Guide For Beginning Songwriters at - but there's also another one now for more experience songwriters. This one is the Reference Guide For Professional Songwriters and can be found at . I wanted to put these two together to give you a better idea of what specific sections of the site will help you with your songwriting goals - whether those goals are to improve your craft or to get your music listened to by folks that can further your songwriting career - or both. I hope they help! If you find something missing in either of them, feel free to let me know. There is also a new Radio Muse show online! We had a bit of a hiatus there... Life happens... But we're on track for some great new shows in the future. You can listen to the latest show at . I'd also like to introduce our newest columnist, Dagmar Morgan. She'll be sharing insight and information about fitness and nutrition as it relates to voice and creativity. If you have questions (and she has a new article online too!), please do drop by and ask her. You can also speak with her on the Muse's Muse Message Boards ( The raffle winners for this month are Mathew Karasek from Hugo, MN, who has won a copy of Jerry Vandiver's and Gracie Hollombe's, "Your First Cut" (reviewed later on in this newsletter)- and Pete Smolen from Bournemouth, Dorset (UK), who has won a copy of VSS's helpful songwriting organization product (for a review of Lyricist & information on a discount offered, see ). Lastly, I wanted to let you all know that the Nashville New Music Conference (2NMC) is now accepting bands and musicians for a special Songscope / Muse's Muse Showcase event to take place during the conference on October 9th - 12th. To sign up, go to and put 'SONGSCOPE/MUSE'S MUSE' as your REFERRAL CODE. Both myself and Jesse Deese (the CEO of SongScope) will be at the conference and I'm really looking forward to it. This will be my first time in Nashville, actually (yay!). So if you happen to see me around the conference or at the showcase, please do say hi! And now, on to the rest of the newsletter. Enjoy! :) All the best, --Jodi Back to Menu ================================================================= S p o n s o r M e s s a g e : (Please support the sponsors that support this newsletter! Thanks!) ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ DO YOU HAVE A PRODUCT OR SERVICE FOR SONGWRITERS OR MUSICIANS? Your message could be right here! See for how - and for other sponsorship opportunities on the website and in this newseltter. ================================================================= C o p y r i g h t & P u b l i s h i n g Q & A : With Licensing executive Nancy A. Reece ----------------------------------------------------------------- Dear readers - What a wonderful four years of question and answer time we have had! Next month you will see a format change for my page. Jodi and I both believe that the change will be helpful as we continue to address the publishing and administration concerns that are foremost in your minds. I ask you to continue sending questions! I will be compiling them into topics and then responding to several of the questions at once in more of a forum setting. I have been approached by a book publisher who is helping me compile the information that has accumulated on the page into a book. This book will only be available through The Muse's Muse and you'll see more about that in the coming months. Thank you for the wonderful journey. I look forward to the next phase. --Nancy A Reece ----------------------------------------------------------------- TO VIEW OTHER QUESTIONS AND RESPONSES, SEE NANCY'S "COPYRIGHT & PUBLISHING Q&A" ONLINE AT Please note: She receives a *lot* of e-mail in a month. If you sent in a question but have not heard a reply, it's very likely it already *has* an answer online. It's always a good idea to thoroughly look through the Q&A's online to see if your question has already been asked before you send in a request. Thanks! ----------------------------------------------------------------- ***** ABOUT NANCY A. REECE: Carpe Diem Copyright Management's owner and president, Nancy A. Reece has been involved in the music business since 1983. She was the president of an independent advertising agency for eight years as well as a successful personal artist manager for nine years. She represented the careers of several recording artists and songwriters including those with EMI, Zomba and Liberty Records as well as Benson, Starsong, WoodBridge, Temple Hall and N'Soul Records. She also represented, for a number of years, a Grammy and Dove nominated record producer. Reece has won awards of excellence in print magazine advertising and has been named as one of 2,000 Notable American Women (1995) as well as being listed in the International Who's Who of Professional and Business Women (1993). She was also named Cashbox Magazine's Promoter of the Year (1989). In addition to her work at Carpe Diem Copyright Management, Reece works at a performing rights organization in the United States and is an accomplished contemporary artist working in abstract and multimedia on canvas and wood. **If you would like to ask Nancy a question, you can send your e-mail to Nancy at . She can't guarantee she'll get to all of the questions, but she'll certainly try.** Back to Menu ================================================================= M u s i c R e v i e w s : by Ben Ohmart, David Lockeretz & Stacey Board ----------------------------------------------------------------- Sharon Edry - "Edge of a Dream" (by David Lockeretz) If there was ever a time to burn your Britney Spears and Celine Dion CDs, it is now with the arrival of Sharon Edry, an immensely talented singer songwriter. Edry really has it all. Her songs rock, they groove and they stick in your head. Her lyrics are articulate, down to earth and easy to relate to, yet they are not trite or predictable in any way. Her compositions reflect the sophistication of the Beatles, Steely Dan and others of that ilk, and her voice is sexy-tough yet also inviting and friendly. The opening cut, "Ordinary Girl", is probably the best on this short CD. The strong opening guitar signature leads to a funky slow rock groove reminiscent of Sheryl Crow's better days. The lyrics tell of the importance of personal identity and independence, almost as if Edry is trying to prove that she's anything but an "ordinary girl" or an ordinary singer. While there are touches of Shawn Colvin, Bonnie Raitt, Trisha Yearwood and many others, Edry has her own unique sound. "Crying" is another strong number, featuring a country-tinted groove, tasty background vocals and bittersweet lyrics. Edry resembles the ex-girlfriend who never quite forgot you, and whom you yourself have never gotten over. The other songs aren't quite as memorable but each and every one shows Edry as an artist to be reckoned with. My only complaint about the CD is that it is too short. I hope that this and other inevitable positive reviews will do their part to make more of Sharon Edry's work available to an audience that sorely needs it. For more information about Sharon Edry, visit ------------------ OTHER NEW MUSIC REVIEWS SINCE LAST MONTH INCLUDE: Agnus Dei (by Ben Ohmart) Daniel Carter, Gregg Keplinger & Reuben Radding (by Ben Ohmart) Darren Curtis Skanson (by Ben Ohmart) Phil Herschel (by Ben Ohmart) Key Lime Pie (by David Lockeretz) Motorbaby (by David Lockeretz) CC Railroad (by David Lockeretz) Bird Mancini (by David Lockeretz) Payne's Grey (by David Lockeretz) Amy Jane (by David Lockeretz) Sunset Room (by Stacey Board) Johnsmith (by Stacey Board) The David Clare Band (by Stacey Board) Peter Trappen (by Stacey Board) Jeff Bisch (by David Lockeretz) --------------- ****** For bios on each of the reviewers, see . If you're considering sending in your own CD for review, you can also view that page to find out which reviewer reviews your genre. Thanks! Back to Menu ================================================================= S o n g w r i t i n g B o o k R e v i e w : by James Linderman Your First Cut - by Jerry Vandiver and Gracie Hollombe (If you order your copy before October 1, 2002, you'll receive a special 15% Muse's Muse discount!) ----------------------------------------------------------------- In the opening section of this book, the authors claim that this is not a "how to" book but a "do it" book. The "do it" principle in this workbook is that it engages the reader to become accountable - to put into action, the step by step activities that lead to having your songs real people, recording...ya, for real... yes, that means you ! When I read through the rest of the introduction I had to agree with the authors that I too, have shelves of "how to" books on "how to" succeed as a songwriter, many written by songwriters with little or none of that success themselves. Many of these books "describe" how the author once had a song cut, but none of them actually walk you through the process itself, let alone made you accountable to it. I was very interested in how this would, here's how it works. As you start to go through the book you fill in the pages of activities and put into action the advice and then you sign it...that you did it...really did it! You will not believe how simple and direct and effective the instructions are, and you may join me in utter disbelief that nobody else thought of writing this book till now. Now that Jerry and Gracie have written it, here's some of the stuff that's in it. B.T.W. I will use the phrase, "They walk you through the process of..." because that's exactly what they do. In chapter one, they walk you through the process of seeking help in developing or refining your accompaniment skills on guitar or piano. I agree that there are few skills that empower a songwriter more than self-accompaniment. Chapter two through twenty walk you through the process of writing songs on a regular basis, getting them "out there" and being heard. Some of the advice involves getting out and meeting people; at song writing group meetings, at music industry events and well... anywhere you can. It's very cool the way they strategise getting to know people in the biz, that you should know, to become someone in the biz everyone will want to know. There are also pro testimonials and advice and cubic tons of great information and inspiration. Jerry and Gracie have written a great workbook for you to get your hands on if you have finally said, "I'm gonna do this…now what do I do." ****** ABOUT THE AUTHORS: Jerry Vandiver Jerry currently is an exclusive staff writer for Talbot Music in Nashville, with songs recorded by Gene Watson, Lee Greenwood, Barbara Mandrell, Phil Vassar, new Warner Bros artist Dusty Drake and two by Tim McGraw including "For A Little While". Jerry has songs on over 13 million records (Thanks mostly to Tim). Gracie Hollombe As former Regional Workshops Director for the Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI), she guided and inspired coordinators of over 100 workshops worldwide, sharing information on the craft and business of songwriting. She just landed her first major label cut (using the techniques in her workbook) by Jose Miguel on Sony/Latin Records. She also makes one heckuva bowl of chicken soup! ****** James Linderman lives and works at theharmonyhouse, a music lesson, songwriting and music pre-production facility in Newmarket, Ontario, Canada. He has worked as a collaborating songwriter and consultant for The Toronto Office of Catholic Youth and leads a music workshop program for Life 100.3 Christian radio. James writes songwriting articles for The Muse's News web magazine, Canadian Musician Magazine and Professional Musician Magazine. Contact James at: Back to Menu ================================================================= M u s i c a l N o t e s : Songwriting Contests & Market Info. In the interest of conserving space, I will only be including changes to this listing in this newsletter. All other contests and market information that have already been listed here, are displayed at & . Please check there regularly for updates! ----------------------------------------------------------------- 'RADIO MUSE' WEBCAST FOR INDEPENDENT SONGWRITERS - SEEKING MUSIC! The Muse's Muse & Host, Jan Best of Independent Songwriter Web-Magazine, are putting together a series of shows, one every month, featuring the songs of independent songwriters just like you! See for details on how you can send in your own music for consideration. ----------------------------------------------------------------- PERFORM AT THE SONGSCOPE/MUSE'S MUSE SHOWCASE EVENT AT 2NMC! The Nashville New Music Conference (2NMC) is now accepting bands and musicians for a special Songscope / Muse's Muse Showcase event to take place during the conference on October 9th - 12th. To sign up, go to and put 'SONGSCOPE/MUSE'S MUSE' as your REFERRAL CODE. ----------------------------------------------------------------- MAJOR HOLLYWOOD FILM COMPANY SEEKS MUSIC Tonos hosts many songwriting contests and Industry Opportunities specifically for songwriters every month. August contests include: -Major Hollywood Film Company Seeks Music - A Hollywood motion picture company is seeking music for upcoming projects. The company's music director is accepting submissions from female artists of all genres. (Deadline is August 26) -Sports Illustrated Women Magazine Seeks Theme Song - Sports Illustrated Women magazine is looking for a theme song that embodies the magazine's modern mix of adventure, nutrition, sport, and style. They want to hear female singer/songwriters in the rock and/or electronic genres. (Deadline is September 16) -Female R&B/Pop Artists/Groups For Live Gig w/Major R&B Group! - Major entertainment manager looking for female group to open for an R&B male group signed to Epic. They are specifically looking for R&B/Pop female performers. They must be sassy and upbeat. (Deadline is August 21) TONOS MAKES HISTORIC AGREEMENT WITH 5 MAJOR MUSIC PUBLISHERS In order to help all the various talent in the global Tonos Community, we are thrilled to announce that we have made historic agreements with 5 major music publishing companies (Warner/Chappell Music, EMI Music, DreamWorks Publishing, Chrysalis Music and Famous Music). These top publishing firms have "guaranteed" that they will EACH sign two tonosPRO songwriters and/or singer-songwriters to publishing deals over the next 12 months. To be considered for all these deals, we'll be looking for the artists and songwriters who have at least 3 very strong songs posted in their Tonos Profiles. Sign up today to be considered!
(It's a bit long, I know - but if it doesn't work as a clickable link in your email, just copy and past the link into your browser.) ----------------------------------------------------------------- TROWBRIDGE SYMPOSIUM 2002 - In Nashville TN Visit Nashville with nights at the Grand Ole Opry, field trips, songwriter activities for three days! Showcase in front of label and publishing reps. Songwriter Workshops - JERRY CUPIT, author of "Nashville Songwriting" and writer of "Jukebox Junkie" (Relentless Records) - Songwriters Guild of America is supplying HIT NASHVILLE WRITERS for critique workshops. Seminar speakers, banquet dinner, prime Nashville entertainment! RESERVE YOUR SHOWCASE SPOTS NOW - they are going fast! - 1(800)484.1068 ext.2255 ----------------------------------------------------------------- SONGSALIVE! EXPO 2002 Saturday September 28, 2002 - LOS ANGELES Hey Songwriters, Check it Out!! *workshops *artist showcases * seminars *panel discussions *exhibition booths. Bringing together the art and business of songwriting in one power-packed day. Songsalive!, an organization dedicated to the support and promotion of songwriters worldwide, announces the upcoming Songsalive! Expo 2002 - a power-packed day devoted to the art, business and exposure of songwriters! If you are a songwriter who is serious about your music and your career, you won't want to miss this exciting event. Apply to showcase or register as a delegate at Get in quick. YOU are the music industry, make it WORK for you! ----------------------------------------------------------------- GREAT AMERICAN SONG CONTEST NOW ACCEPTING ENTRIES! Annual songwriting event features top music-industry judges, including publishers, producers, recording artists and hit songwriters. Offers multiple awards and prizes for 40 winners in 8 different style categories. Every songwriter who enters will receive a written evaluation of their work. This contest is sponsored each year by Songwriters Resource Network, a free online news and education resource for songwriters and lyricists everywhere. This year's event is open through November 7, 2002. Information is available at: or by visiting Songwriters Resource Network at: . Contest brochures are also available by email at: ----------------------------------------------------------------- GREAT ARTICLES TO CHECK OUT COURTESY OF GALARIS INDEPENDENT MUSIC: * What makes musicians prone to Repetitive Strain Injuries * Cutting a Hot CD * The Written Agreement Amongst Band Members * Promotional potpourri for gigging musicians * About Live Performances and Marketing Music Sign up for the Galaris Independent Musicians Newsletter. Simply send a blank email to and twice monthly you will receive FREE, direct to your email box, articles containing: Promotion tips, Career advice, Recording tips, Practicing tips, Legal advice, Musician's health, Radio promotion, Songwriters tips and much more. ----------------------------------------------------------------- THE JOHN LENNON SONGWRITING CONTEST - An Annual Event The John Lennon Songwriting Contest is an annual international songwriting contest that began in the spring of 1997. The 2002 contest deadline is August 28. The competition is open to both amateur and professional songwriters who submit entries in any of the following 12 musical categories: jazz, rock, country, pop, world, gospel/inspirational, rhythm & blues, hip-hop, Latin, electronic, folk, and children's music. Entries will be judged based upon originality, melody, composition, and lyrics (when applicable). Instrumental compositions are encouraged. Both performance and production value will not be considered during the adjudication process. All interested songwriters can obtain applications and information about the Contest by visiting the website at ----------------------------------------------------------------- 19TH ANNUAL MID-ATLANTIC SONG CONTEST Imagine picking up the Grand Prize of $1,000 for your song after it was selected by top music executives. Thrill at the performance of your song at the Awards Night GALA. Your song could be captured forever and distributed to the music industry on the Winners' CD. For more information, contest rules and regulations, call: 800-218-5996 or go to our website at Deadline is August 12th. Sponsored by BMI and the Songwriters' Association of Washington, a nonprofit organization assisting songwriters in the Washington, D.C. area. ----------------------------------------------------------------- MONTHLY SHOWCASES IN NASHVILLE INVITES SONGWRITERS USA Songwriting Competition is set to present a monthly showcase in Nashville: "2NMC Unplugged" a Showcase & Networking event, sponsored by USA Songwriting Competition & 2NMC Nashville New Music Conference) with Cole Slivka (Finalist at the 2001 USA Songwriting Competition) Time: 6:00-8:00pm - Thursday - August 21, 2002, Location: THE END (club), 2219 Elliston Place, Nashville, TN, Admission: FREE. This monthly showcase will be held every third Thursday of the month and is set to feature bands and songwriters in an "MTV Unplugged" format. Info: ----------------------------------------------------------------- 'BEST OF THE URBAN' SONGWRITING COMPETITION In the heart of Atlanta, Georgia---the home of SO SO DEF and Jermaine Dupri, Toni Braxton, Outkast, Usher, and TLC---The Georgia Music Industry Association (GMIA) presents the 'Best of Urban' Songwriting Competition, open to individuals of all songwriting levels with original songs within Hip-Hop/Rap, R&B, Neo-Soul, Alternative R&B, Reggae/Dance Hall, Gospel, and Spoken Word. Finalists perform their songs live at nationally renowned Velvet Room (MTV Hip-Hop Groupies)---Thursday, September 26, 2002---to judges with major commercial success. Full details and an entry form can be found at, or email 404-266-2666. Entry Deadline: August 31, 2002. ----------------------------------------------------------------- OPEN AUDITIONS AT THE OUTPOST IN HOUSTON, TX Every Wednesday night at The Outpost we will be having open auditions for all songwriters (any genre). We will keep them open until we reach 25 (because of time limitations). Out of those 25 acts we will choose 8 acts that will be in a songwriter's showcase on Saturday Nights. If selected, the songwriter or band will receive a 20 minute set. Songwriters should come prepared on Wednesday to perform two songs. On Saturday nights we will be inviting music industry professionals to come and listen to the songwriters. See for details. ----------------------------------------------------------------- THE FIRST AMATEUR ONLY SONGWRITING CONTEST IN THE WORLD! Cooch Music has launched it's fifth amateur songwriting contest. Entry fee is only $10.00 per song. All prizes offered are designed to help the amateur songwriter further their careers. "Helping The Amateur Songwriter is What We Do Best" Learn how to earn free entries into our contests! E-mail us at For complete details and entry form visit us at Special offer to Musemuse visitors from July 17th thru Sept 30th, 2002 - Visitors who enter two songs into the Cooch Music Amateur Songwriting Contest will get ONE FREE ENTRY. When sending in entries mark the entry form with MuseMuse on the top and we will mail you a free entry form. Back to Menu ================================================================= M u s e ' s C l u e s : by Irene Jackson ©1998-2002 Moonstone Productions All Rights Reserved. Used By Permission ----------------------------------------------------------------- Something that seems to come up quite often when songwriters are talking about their music, is the inability to define its style or genre. For one thing, many of us hate to have to pigeonhole ourselves in terms of what we can write, but I think another reason for this is because most of us write in a blend of genres, not just the obvious ones like rock, pop, country or blues. On a number of occasions and for different reasons, I've ended up at one website where I can hear small samples of many, many different kinds of music so that I can better define the genres. It's at When you look at the main page, it's pretty busy with lots of promos for the bigger name artists and radio stations, etc. But if you scan down to about the middle of the page, you'll see a little box labelled "Music Styles"...from Alternative to World and everything in between. But this is only the beginning! If you click on just one of these, you'll come to another page that breaks the genre down even further to sub-genres. Each one of these sub-genres has a section called "Key Artists and Composers". This is where I hang out, because here, you can find all of the artists that apply to that genre and you can listen to small samples of their music to your hearts' content. Even if you don't write in these styles, you might be curious as to what they sound like. In reviewing other artists occasionally I will pop over to this site so that I can find a comparable artist. The fact is that if you want to put your music out there, as much as you might hate it, you're going to have to give it a label. Some even make up their own styles/genres in the hopes that they've actually created something new! But chances are, your music fits into one or more of these categories, and it really helps others when you can give them an idea of what they're going to be listening to. Beyond that, you never know what other artists you might discover in your search for yourself! ****** Irene Jackson is a performing songwriter from Victoria, BC in Canada. Aside from writing, recording and performing, she also maintains a website for songwriters that includes tips, articles and more links of interest. Her eagerly anticipated CD "Catnip" is finally here, and her earlier recordings have had attention everywhere from Japan to South America. Songwriting Tips: Homepage: Songs on MP3: Back to Menu ================================================================= F e a t u r e d A r t i c l e : PUT YOUR SONG TO THE TESTS - By Pat & Pete Luboff © P&P Luboff, 2002 All Rights Reserved. Used By Permission ----------------------------------------------------------------- We've been listening to songs in a professional capacity for over 20 years, as songwriting consultants, workshop leaders, contest judges and Taxi screeners. Along the way, we've learned some simple tests you can perform on your songs. Using these tests as you're writing will help you to craft songs that create more than a passing interest from listeners. IT'S WHAT'S UP FRONT THAT COUNTS Look at the first two lines of your lyric and only the first two lines. Imagine yourself walking down the street and having a perfect stranger come up to you and say those two lines. How much of the "who, what, where, why and how" of the story/message of your song has been communicated? If you don't know much from the first two lines, i.e., if you don't know enough to care what's going to happen to the protagonist, a publisher or A&R person will most likely not listen further. TIED UP WITH A BOW Dean Pitchford, who wrote "Flashdance," gave us this one. Each lyric line (and its accompanying melodic phrase) is like a present tied up with a bow. Neat and complete. That means, if you say that line alone, it's completely understandable on its own. It doesn't need the next line to have it make sense. We often see songs with these "lyrical hangovers"—the lyric line has come to an end, the melodic phrase resolves, but the words don't make sense unless and until you complete them in the next line. Look at each of your lyric lines separately and make sure it presents a complete, independent picture. THINKING INSIDE THE BOX Type/print your lyric sheet flush left (all the lines starting on the left margin) on a sheet of white paper. (By the way, if your lyric doesn't fit on one sheet, you're in trouble.) Can you draw a rectangle around the lyrics of the verses? In other words, are all your lines exactly the same physical length? How about your chorus or bridge? Can you draw a box around them? Now, can you draw a big box around your verses and chorus and have most or all of the lines touch on the right side of your box? If so, it's more than likely that your song will sound monotonous because you do not have enough variety in the lengths of lines and patterns of lyrics. Look for a really ragged right edge as a sign that your lyrics are conversational and interesting rhythmically. Also, look for the box around the chorus lines to be of significantly different size than the box around the verses. It's an indicator of sufficient variety between the chorus and the verses. "NOT ALL THAT COUNTS CAN BE COUNTED" - Albert Einstein Part 1: Albert's right about that, but some of what counts can be counted. For instance, count the number of lines in each of your verses. Now, count the lines in your chorus. If they're exactly the same, e.g., 4-line verse, 4-line chorus; or, 8-line verse, 8-line chorus, you probably haven't made enough contrast between the two sections. Part 2: This is one we see all the time! Count the number of beats in the lyric of verse 1, line 1. Then, count the number of beats in verse 2, line 1. Do they match? Sometimes, we need to insert a little pick-up note for an extra syllable and it's OK because the rest of the line falls naturally into the accents of the basic pattern. But, we often see 8 beats in verse 1, line 2 and 13 beats in verse 2, line 2, for example. No way those extra 5 beats are going to fit comfortably on the melody you worked so hard to establish in the first verse! Count all the beats in all the lines and make sure they match from verse to verse, so they can be sung on the same melody with ease. TITLE SEARCH You may have heard of the saying, "Position is everything in life." In the life of your song, the position of your title tells the listener what your main point is. There are certain power positions in a song. What they are, depends on which structure you choose when you write your song. Is it a verse/bridge structure (a.k.a. A, A, B, A)? Then your title will be in the verses. It will be in the first line of the verse or the last line of the verse. These are the power positions in that structure. Example: "Yesterday" by The Beatles. (There are exceptions, but they are rare and compensated for by strong melodic emphasis when the title is not in the natural power position.) In the verse/chorus structure, the power positions are at the top of the chorus and the last line of the chorus. Your title could be in either one or both of those places, and repeated more often if the repetition works. Example: "Yellow Submarine" by The Beatles. Look at your lyric and see where the title is. If it's buried in the middle somewhere, your listener probably won't be able to identify it, i.e., know what the song is about, how to ask for it to be played on the radio, or find it at the store. THE ULTIMATE TITLE TEST The word "ultimate" has several meanings. 1. last, 2. decisive, 3. most desirable, 4. basic, etc. This test encompasses all those meanings. It was taught us by two songwriters in Nashville, both of whom claimed authorship! Take your typed lyric sheet. Write (or imagine writing) your title after each and every line of lyric. Say the line of lyric, then say the title. If the two hang together and make sense, then your song is about the title. If you go for lines and lines without the verse lyrics having much to do with the title—meaning they don't make sense when you say them next to each other—it's time to go back to the drawing board. Your song is not about your title. THE BEST LAID SCHEMES Take an overview of your rhyme scheme. If you've established an a, b, a, b, c, c rhyme scheme in verse one, do you keep it up in verse 2? In other words, do the lines rhyme with the same pattern (not the same sound) in verse 1 and verse 2, and verse 3, if there is one? Now note the sounds of your rhymes. Are they all a long o sound? That can get pretty dull. We've seen songs where every line ended in the long ee rhyme. The ear gets tired of that very quickly. If you've inadvertently rhymed everything with the same sound, you might consider going back and creating more variety in your rhyming sounds. PRONOUN HELL This is the name for the confusion that results when, in mid-song, someone who was a "she" becomes a "you." Or, all of a sudden, "he" switches to "me." Or, there are three "I's" in a row, referring to three different people and we're supposed to know which one is which. Or, someone starts to quote someone else, the pronoun shifts, but there's no way to really tell a quotation has begun. Scan your lyrics for pronouns. If you've made one of the changes we describe, it's probable your listeners will go straight to pronoun hell. There are always exceptions, but, for the most part, it's best to have one person represented by one pronoun. If a quotation is part of your song, make sure you introduce it with a clearly audible, "She said" or "He said" so your listeners can understand when the "I" singing the song begins to be addressed as "you." THE NAKED TUNE Part 1: Sing your melody a cappella (with no instrumental accompaniment) and without the lyrics. Sing it into a tape if you have trouble being objective about hearing what you're singing. As a stranger to your song, could you honestly tell where the title would sit on your melody without ever hearing the lyrics? If the most outstanding part of your melody is where you did put your title, give yourself a pat on the back. If not, your title needs to be moved or your melody changed. Part 2: While you're singing your melody a cappella, does it have emotional dynamics? Is there a variety of lengths of notes and intervals between the notes? Or, does it sound like a sing-songy nursery rhyme; the same rhythm pattern over and over? If someone heard just your melody, could they make a pretty good guess at the emotions in the story of the song? If your melody is not emoting, you need to write it once more ? with feeling! IT CAN BE ARRANGED Your chords give shadings to your melody. Each chord has an emotional tone. Minor chords tend to express doubt or sorrow. Major chords have a happy, positive feeling. Adding 6ths, 7ths, 9ths, suspensions, and inversions, gives the basic chord still more nuances of feeling. Is your song down home country or uptown sophisticated? High-power rock or soft mellow jazz? Appropriate choice of chords will bring the message of your song into sharp focus. The frequency of chord changes and the style of playing the chords are both important considerations. Style examples on the piano: arpeggios, block chords. On the guitar: all the strings at once, some of the strings, one string at a time. Listen to the chord changes in your song. Are they distracting because they are too rapid and complex? Are they boring because they don't change enough or your strum is too repetitive? Do they work against the emotional message of the song or support it? Look at each chord individually. Try an inversion for a different coloring. Leave no chord unturned in your search for the perfect setting for the message of your song. ****** Pat & Pete Luboff are songwriters/music publishers/authors/educators. They offer songwriting consultation and sell their books, "88 Songwriting Wrongs & How to Write Them" and "12 Steps to Building Better Songs," on their web site, They lead a songwriting workshop every Monday Night at the Music School on Music Row in Nashville. The Luboffs will be teaching at NashCamp from August 11-15. Please visit their site for more information. Back to Menu ================================================================= S o n g w r i t e r I n S p o t l i g h t : Jon Goodwin - conducted by Bart Herbison, Executive Director of the NSAI ------------------------------------------------------------------- Jon writes passionately about the things he cares about. His music is honest and deals with larger world issues while, at the same time, bringing the issues home to all of us in a personal way. Bart recently had the opportunity to catch up with this very talented songwriter and artist. This interview is the result. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did! ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Bart: I want to talk with you Jon, about the place where the songs come from. Just describe how that process works for you. I love the music. ------------------------------------------------------------------- Jon: Most of my songs come from very spontaneous inspirations. During the course of living, I've become aware of something either outside of me or inside of me and that suggests title, melody, groove, and I try to get out as much as possible. That is where the songs come from. It could be a lady looking at me or me looking at the newspaper. But those are the sparks and there are many of them. ------------------------------------------------------------------- Bart: Typically, does the music come first or the lyrics or both come together? ------------------------------------------------------------------- Jon: I believe they both come at about the same moment. I can't ever remember writing a lyric and then writing the music to it or writing a melody and then later writing a lyric to it. It's born at the same time for me. ------------------------------------------------------------------- Bart: We've talked a lot today about honesty and man, your songs reflect that. I don't want to compare you to other people, but I think anybody's music you hear, you hear pieces of a lot of different people. I would compare you to people such as Dylan, even a touch of Lenny Bruce in your social commentary and your honesty in the way you reflect society back. If I listen to your album, I tell you what it does to me. I sit there and I gotta think about the truth and we've used that in describing your records. So flow with me on that thought process. ------------------------------------------------------------------- For the rest of this interview/article, please click through to: ------------------------------------------------------------------- ABOUT THE INTERVIEWER: Bart Herbison is Executive Director of the Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI), a post he has held since 1997. A Paris, Tenn., native, Herbison worked as a reporter and spent 14 years in Country radio before joining the staff of U.S. Rep. Bob Clement in 1987. During the next 10 years, Herbison served as the Tennessee Congressman’s Press Secretary, then Campaign Manager, then Chief Administrative Officer before leaving Capitol Hill for Music Row. Herbison is a 1996 graduate of Leadership Music. Back to Menu ================================================================= " O N S I T E " F E A T U R E D A R T I C L E : THE RECORDING PROCESS: Part III - by Leon & Sheryl Olguin Spending Money and Spending Time - When planning a CD project, one subject is unavoidable: finances. Find out how to set up a realistic budget for your recording, and learn how to budget your time as well as your money.
================================================================= C l a s s i f i e d s & U s e f u l S e r v i c e s : ----------------------------------------------------------------- LYRICIST! VERSION 2.2 HAS ARRIVED-INCLUDES ON-LINE COPYRIGHT LINK Virtual Studio Systems, Inc. is proud to announce Lyricist V2.2 - The Songwriter's Best Friend: the first-of-its-kind word processor designed for musicians, songwriters, and poets. The software includes a rhyming dictionary, thesaurus, album categorization, chord charting, chord generator, song arrangement, On-Line Copyright Link, and much much more - all in a user-friendly package. Check out the review at Muse's Muse visitors can take home the product for $5.00 off the regular selling price just for purchasing through the form provided off of the review! For more information, visit the review url above or call us at 888.732.1176 inside the U.S.A. or 603.726-4499 outside the U.S.A. ----------------------------------------------------------------- MUSIC INDUSTRY SEMINAR: Music Therapy 101 a recurring national music industry seminar presents Rules of the Game, scheduled for Sat. Aug.17 in Atlanta GA USA. Panels on Record Deals, Retail & Distribution, Music Publishing and Networking Activities. Panelist include Willie Hunter Music Ent. Editor, Steve Gordon, Esq.-10 years w/ Sony Music, Jeffrey Omari, Esq.-Former DARP Publishing Admin, Ty Young, JaWar KEMETIC RECORDS and more. Seating is limited! ACT NOW SAVE 30% by pre-registering @ or call 800-963-0949. Get info on MT101 Seminars; join the email list at ----------------------------------------------------------------- ISN'T IT TIME TO GET YOUR DEMO ON YOUR WEBSITE? Quality, affordable streaming audio--we KNOW how to make your music sound GREAT! Ignite Your Site with Sound and Motion! Sell Your Songwriting with Rich Media Learn more at Phone: (520) 742-5780, ----------------------------------------------------------------- GO GLOBAL WITH CDSTREET.COM is your secure source for credit card music ordering in your own website. As a member of the CDstreet network, you will have access to the most cost-effective, secure transaction processing for global music merchandise distribution. Plus, low setup fee and no sales equals no cost! Check it out - ----------------------------------------------------------------- Get REVIEWED / CRITIQUED by an AWARD WINNING PRODUCER! REVIEWS and CRITIQUES independent artists of all genres. Staffed by an award winning producer and experienced music journalists, IMR empowers artists and offers personalized objective insight into songwriting and production techniques. Check out the details at ----------------------------------------------------------------- ATTENTION: INDEPENDENT BANDS AND SINGER-SONGWRITERS You CAN earn a good living selling your MP3s! will invite up to ONE MILLION PEOPLE A YEAR to hear and buy YOUR music! Sign Up NOW! Plans as low as $10 a month. The Revolution Begins. Go to ----------------------------------------------------------------- GET YOUR COPY OF THE INDIE CONTACT BIBLE & START MAKING WAVES! This is an absolutely priceless resource for indie musicians. If you want your music reviewed, on the radio, *heard*, THIS is the resource you need to have. It's not going to tell you "how" but it will *certainly* tell you "who". I highly recommend you pick it up in order to compliment your other music marketing techniques. Have a look at this url and read through a few sample pages to see what I mean: (Full review at ================================================================= ADVERTISING RATES: For Classifieds: US$50 Max. 8 lines, where a line = 65 characters including spaces and punctuation. All contracts must be prepaid. Write to: For Newsletter Sponsorship rates and other advertising opportunities, please see . Back to Menu
================================================================= C o n t a c t I n f o & C r e d i t s : ----------------------------------------------------------------- Jodi Krangle ............................................. EDITOR Kathryn Obenshain ...........................GRACIOUS PROOFREADER ----------------------------------------------------------------- The Muse's News is a free monthly newsletter for and about songwriters. Subscribers are welcome to recirculate or reprint The Muse's News for nonprofit use as long as the appropriate credit is given and the ENTIRE text of the newsletter is included (including credits and information at the end of each issue). Others should contact me at All articles copyrighted by their authors. Back issues and other information will be available at: The Muse's News is part of The Muse's Muse, a web resource for songwriters: For further information, send your e-mail to: ----------------------------------------------------------------- - How to place a classified ad, pass on market information or sponsor The Muse's News. - How to subscribe, unsubscribe, etc. - To submit articles,reviews,ideas,etc. SNAILMAIL: Please contact me first at ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Back issues of the newsletter can be read at the National
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