3 Principles of Songwriting — Andrea Stolpe

Lately I’ve been binge-watching songwriting videos on YouTube. With so many time-tested tools, tips, and expert advice, our best songs should be one chord-tone away.

In the article “3 Principles of Songwriting” by Andrea Stolpe, the author shares her insights and reflections on the craft of songwriting, drawing from her extensive experience as a writer and teacher. Stolpe begins by expressing her mixed feelings about the overwhelming amount of songwriting advice available, particularly from online sources like YouTube.

She acknowledges the tension between following technical advice and maintaining the heart and intuition in songwriting, likening it to the balance between nurture and nature in human development.

Stolpe emphasizes the importance of intuition in the songwriting process, suggesting that despite the wealth of technical knowledge available, there’s a critical internal sense that guides the creation of meaningful and engaging songs. She introduces three key principles that she believes are essential to fostering this intuition: Prosody, Momentum, and Restraint.

  1. Prosody refers to the alignment between music and lyrics, where the music acts as the body language that enhances the meaning of the words. It’s about ensuring that the musical and lyrical elements of a song complement and strengthen each other.
  2. Momentum is described as the consistent forward movement of the song, not in terms of tempo or meter, but as the pace that keeps the listener engaged and ensures the song delivers its message effectively and timely.
  3. Restraint involves focusing on the essential elements of a song and avoiding unnecessary embellishments that could detract from its core message and impact.

Stolpe argues that these principles can help songwriters diagnose and address issues in their work, enhancing their ability to create songs that resonate with listeners. She stresses that intuition, honed through both personal experience and technical skill, is the most valuable tool a songwriter has for creating impactful music.

The article concludes with a call to embrace both intellect and intuition in the creative process, suggesting that this balance is key to writing better songs and engaging more deeply with the art of songwriting.

This summary captures the essence of Stolpe’s article, providing a concise overview of her perspectives on songwriting and the principles she believes are fundamental to the craft.

Source: 3 Principles of Songwriting — Andrea Stolpe

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