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12 Powerful Books About Songwriting That Changed My Life

I don’t consider myself to be an expert. In fact, when it comes to songwriting I still have a lot to learn.

That being said, I’ve spent the last 6 months researching books about songwriting. Book, podcasts, and interviews with the world’s greatest songwriters all showed up in my inbox — all of which are now available to you here.

The following songwriting books will teach you everything there is to know about becoming an elite songwriter. Knowing your audience, how to get out of creative slumps, and understanding the nuances of lyrics are all important lessons in this book collection.

  1. Melody in Songwriting: Tools and Techniques for Writing Hit Songs by Jack Perricone
  2. Writing Better Lyrics (2nd Edition) by Pat Pattison
  3. Tunesmith: Inside the Art of Songwriting by Jimmy Webb
  4. Songwriters on Songwriting: Revised And Expanded by Paul Zollo
  5. The Songwriter’s Workshop: Melody by Jimmy Kachulis
  6. The Craft of Lyric Writing by Sheila Davis
  7. How Music Really Works: The Essential Handbook for Songwriters, Performers, and Music Students by Wayne Chase
  8. The Addiction Formula by Friedemann Findeisen
  9. How to Be a Hit Songwriter: Polishing and Marketing Your Lyrics and Music by Molly-Ann Leiken
  10. The Songwriter’s Workshop: Harmony by Jimmy Kachulis
  11. The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles by Steven Pressfield
  12. The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide To Character Expression by Angela Ackerman & Becca Puglisi

  1. Melody in Songwriting: Tools and Techniques for Writing Hit Songs by Jack Perricone

books about songwriting

Who best to guide you than a renowned songwriter, composer, and arranger who has gone on to make mega-hits and top billboard, pop, country, and r&b charts; the celebrated Jack Perricone!

He co-founded Berklee College of Music’s Unique Songwriting Department and in this book, he uncovers the art of songwriting step by step like the virtuoso he is- a guided approach to how to unlock your songwriting and start kicking ass!

This is for the patient ones; if you want indeed to come out with something, you have to read it word by word and sometimes read a sentence more than once to really grasp the techniques.

You then have to put in the work through guided steps for we both know that even the best plan is only good intentions unless it degenerates into work- so grab yourself a copy and start learning – most importantly start songwriting!

  1. Writing Better Lyrics (2nd Edition) by Pat Pattison

books about songwriting

In case you haven’t ever noticed; there is that natural element of ingenuity in some artists’ mind which cannot be unlocked by just extraordinary beats, but which when unlocked exude a cabinet of certified bangers!

So if you want to know how to translate what you are thinking; a story, some emotions, or anything that qualifies to be translated into a song and you have no idea where to start from, Pat Pattison got you covered buddy!

This professor at Berklee College of Music teaches lyric writing and poetry and leaves no stone untouched when it comes to songwriting- highlighting the dos, the don’ts, the what’s and the where’s, and every basic songwriting tool from the backbone to the deep roots!

  1. Tunesmith: Inside the Art of Songwriting by Jimmy Webb

This is all sobering up, all of it, proof of an amazing artist’s capacity to harness ingenuity in the service of upcoming artists.

This is the case of the iconic American songwriter, composer, and platinum-selling singer Jimmy Webb. A celebrated prominent figure in music who has been inducted into the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame due to his accomplished songwriting.

This is the perfect book for any aspiring musician. It’s like a cheat code where Webb gives you firsthand information about how artists like him and others in the industry conquered songwriting.

And the most intriguing thing about this read is the humor sometimes used in conveying the message; deeply relatable and one of the best books written about songwriting!

  1. Songwriters on Songwriting: Revised And Expanded by Paul Zollo

Songwriters On Songwriting Revised And Expanded

If you need to succeed as a musician then expertise in songwriting matters, there is no way around it.

In this detailed book of about 730 pages featuring about 52 interviews of some of the greatest songwriters to have ever graced the American music land; all the secrets about songwriting are revealed- the thoughts, the feelings, the emotions, and everything that relates to songwriting.

The other fascinating thing about this book is that almost every genre is represented from metal rock, pop, American, R&B, hip-hop, and Country just to name a few.

A vessel of guidance and hope to any inspiring artist and even those in the game who need to hone their skills in songwriting.

Paul Zollo is a singer, songwriter, music journalist, and recording artist for Trough Records

  1. The Songwriter’s Workshop: Melody by Jimmy Kachulis

This is a hands-on deck; it is a practical approach to songwriting that includes several experiments and activities to help you hone your songwriting talents.

Jimmy Kachulis recognizes that in order to become a fantastic songwriter, you must first begin composing, and here is a guided audio portrayal to help you accomplish just that.

It allows you to restore some sovereignty and gives you the impetus to begin your musical adventure.

  1. The Craft of Lyric Writing by Sheila Davis

Everything about songwriting is delivered here in a thoughtful and entertaining way with numerous examples of successful songs and more than enough quotes from music experts in the music industry.

Themes, wordplay, rhyme scheme, repetition, and the common songwriting mistakes are all exhaustively detailed.

She covers a comprehensive introduction to the complexities of song lyrics, including analytical insights that are intriguing even to those who are not aspiring writers. This is the best you are getting in the market that has all your needs from one page to the next.

Here all the secrets to hit songwriting are unlocked and for any aspiring artist out there you are given the chance to fine-tune your craft and begin writing hits.

  1. How Music Really Works: The Essential Handbook for Songwriters, Performers, and Music Students by Wayne Chase

Almost like the case of ‘those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music; those who went to a music school might disagree with some of the traditional songwriting insights as elaborated by Wayne Chase.

But if you really understand the dynamism of music, you will automatically comprehend what Chase is trying to put across here.

Nothing is as dynamic as music and its progeny songwriting and you really don’t need to know how to read to write a song- sounds crazy right! I promise you it is absolutely normal.

Songwriting is a diverse technique and that is why we have songs written in entirely mysterious languages to us but we still get to resonate with them.

Take for example the groundbreaking “Despacito” by Luis Fonsi which is delivered from the deep depths of the Spanish language and if you found some, (who have only seen Spain on the map and have never come close to anything Spanish expect La Liga!) singing, you’d think we grew up with Luis.

This is to say that the art of songwriting is unique and goes back to the traditional settings and that is not to mean that now you can just string some words together in your local dialect and viola, we have a song- no it does not work like that.

In case you haven’t noticed even songs written in other foreign languages still carry the element of remarkable songwriting before they are accepted by the other listeners who don’t understand a thing they say- so without hurting your feelings, this book will remind you that it all boils down to the art and you must learn the art regardless of your literacy or illiteracy in order to make a song ( it doesn’t matter whether you use the language of gods!) all that matters is that skill in songwriting!

  1. The Addiction Formula by Friedemann Findeisen

books about songwriting to buy

This creative weirdo who has been a magician, songwriter, public speaker, and best-selling author, You Tuber (honestly, is there something he can’t do!) takes a holistic approach to songwriting, especially in these modern times where everything is so competitive and you need to stand out for you to grab the attention of listeners.

To the indie artists, the luxurious stylish way of succeeding in the DIY aesthesis songwriting is implicitly explained, as even how to successfully create succinct lyrics that are deep and meaningful.

What many artists confuse is storytelling and telling a story through melodies.

We are not sitting down to hear you blur out some long-boring story in a song. We are busy people and we can’t just be spending a whole day listening to your story, can we!

You need to learn how to transform a story into an ear-grabbing lyrical masterpiece that can attract the attention of a listener. Like how Justin Bieber tells his own story in “Lonely”- it is succinct, deep, and powerful. You need all this knowledge and Findeisen has got your back (only if you have it!)

  1. How to Be a Hit Songwriter: Polishing and Marketing Your Lyrics and Music by Molly-Ann Leiken

To get a glimpse of this astounding author, you have to understand that she has gotten her songs recorded by almost every pop and country artist on the Billboard charts.

Molly-Ann Leiken is an Emmy nominee who has written numerous songs for scores of TV shows, and movies- she has worked with Katy Perry Tina Turner, Anne Murray, Billy Preston and many other eminent artists of our time.

When an experienced author in matters of music whose clients have gone on to win Grammy Awards and help thousands of other lyricists, songwriters and bands writes a book on songwriting- you have to pay attention to her every point.

In this book, she gives you even more tips on how to not only be a successful songwriter and a hitmaker but the next step to take after you write a fire hit that starts smashing it on the airwaves, digital platforms- it doesn’t matter where as long as it demands attention; she gives you imperative marketing tips and how to approach each phase in your career after conquering the art of songwriting.

If I were you, I’d already be halfway on this book, sucking the stock of knowledge off of its weighty and knowledge-filled pages!

  1. The Songwriter’s Workshop: Harmony by Jimmy Kachulis

The Songwriter’s Workshop

The big boss is back and in this all-inclusive cover, harmony is undressed and studied from head to toe!

Most of you don’t know but there are differences between harmonies, euphonies, progression, keys, and chords. You get to understand some finer details concerning harmonies in melodies and the perfect way to integrate them into music.

There is an abundance of priceless knowledge on how to make your chords and keys stick and in all these, you are provided with some exhaustive information about how to blend lyrics with harmonies and melodies and even how certain things like falsetto in harmonies come about.

It is safe to say you get more than you bargained for albeit in a good way with this intricate and practical audio assistant to help you perfect whatever it is you have learned – isn’t that wonderful!

  1. The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles by Steven Pressfield

books about song writing today

This speaks to the warrior inside of you reminding you that in order to conquer songwriting, you must begin immediately; facing those hurdles head-on and going at it regularly until you slay the beast!

You cannot allow your determination and fire to go out, or to get dominated by an irreplaceable spark in the hopeless swamps of the not-quite, the not-yet and the not at all.

You can never let the artistry in you perish in lonely frustration just because you cannot manage to put across emotions cleanly to design coherent thoughts. You have to remember that the sheer musician level can be achieved, the songwriting hurdles can be overcome- you just have to restore your nobility and keep in mind that your excuses are seducers, your fears are liars and your doubts are thieves- kick them out!

Written from an author’s perceptive, the lessons are all the same applies to an aspiring musician who is still stuck in the songwriting phase and they have no idea what to do or how to approach the next step.

Steven Pressfield who is a best-selling author reminds them that the soreness of growth is actually so much less expensive than the devastating costs of regret; you have to keep fighting, you have already come far to look back – how about that!

  1. The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide To Character Expression by Angela Ackerman & Becca Puglisi

Music is music because of the emotions it carries. It does not matter if it is sadness, happiness, anger, melancholy and any other sort of emotion, music exudes these feelings and it is from those emotions that listeners deeply relate to the songs. So it becomes a problem when an artist cannot convert those emotions into his songwriting so that when he gets to the recording stage, those emotions come out as clearly as he had intended in the songwriting.

Like sculptors, Angle Ackerman and Becca Puglisi, fashion songwriting through emotions into a useful figure.

Molding the readers with useful material into what they want them to learn and attentively cultivating some powerful information regarding tips on how to turn those emotions into great melodies through undisputable songwriting!

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Final Thoughts

There you go folks; these books about songwriting are filled with the depth of wisdom, the purity of power, and that ingenious impact that is remarkably imperative for anyone who wishes to pursue music as a career or anyone who wants to advance their knowledge in music.

Legendary achievers have showcased themselves as having that boundless curiosity and that limitless appetite to grow into their greatest selves.

Knowledge truly is an inoculation against ignorance. Peak producers are lifetime learners.

Learning daily will always raise your acumen, deepen your wisdom and incite that blazing fire that strokes your grandeur, and to any aspiring musician, feeding your knowledge off of these books and many others will elevate you into a weighty thinker and an outright superstar!

Written By

Founder of Tunepical, a blog dedicated to sharing my love of music with you. I believe that music is the key to life, and if you're listening to the right songs at the right time, everything is possible!

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