A beginners list of web sites for guitar chords, lyrics with chords, etc.

This is an ongoing collection of a few links to interesting web site (and a few books) of guitar chords and song lyrics with chords. Some of these are more useful for beginners and some for more advanced players. You might check out the books before you buy. The web site will be revised from time to time.

Last Major Revision: Jan 18, 2018

  1. List of interesting guitar web sites: chords, music theory, etc.
  2. Guitar maintenance - tuning, changing strings
  3. Lists of songs with lyrics and chords
  4. Guitar and song lyrics books
  5. Guitar cord books
  6. Books on introductory and advanced fingering and picking exercises
  7. Skeptical Guitarist (Bruce Emery) books
  8. The Guitar Grimoire book series
  9. Miscellaneous useful related sites

  10. Introductory Piano/Keyboard books
  11. Books on adults learning music and the nature of music
  12. Books Songwriting


1. List of interesting guitar web sites: chords, music theory, etc.

2. Guitar maintenance - tuning, changing strings

Tuning your guitar (Some use Adobe Flash and may not work without it or without the lastest version of Flash.) Changing Guitar strings (a few short videos)

3. Lists of songs with lyrics and chords

  • Ultimate Guitar Tabs with over 1,000,000 songs catalog with free chords & lyrics. https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/
  • Ultimate Guitar Pro Tabs is similar to Ultimate Guitar Tabs but with many additional features. https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/pro
  • List of many song lyrics with guitar chords (The Guitar Guy) http://theguitarguy.com/songs.htm
  • List of song lyrics with guitar chords (Chordie) http://www.chordie.com/browsesong.php/a.php?filter=
  • NIEHS list of song lyrics and audio for childrens and other songs: http://kids.niehs.nih.gov/music.htm
  • Browse Songs on Chordie - Guitar Chords, Guitar Tabs and Lyrics https://www.chordie.com/browsesong.php
  • Children's Songs chords and lyrics for many children's songs https://www.thoughtco.com/childrens-song-chords-and-lyrics-1712878

    4. Guitar and song lyrics books

  • Some useful books of songs with lyrics and chord names:


    Rise Up Singing: The Group Singing Songbook (Spiral-bound)
    by Peter Blood
    http://www.amazon.com/Rise-Up-Singing-Group-Songbook/dp/0962670472

    
    

    Rise Again Songbook: Words & Chords to Nearly 1200 Songs 7-1/2x10 Spiral-Bound (2015)
    byAnnie Patterson, Peter Blood (Editors)
    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1495031233/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o02_s00

    
    

    The Folksong Fake Book: (Fake Books) Plastic Comb (2001)
    by Hal Leonard
    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0634012703/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o02_s01

    
    

    The Blues Fake Book, Plastic Comb (1999)
    by Hal Leonard
    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0793558557/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o01_s00

    
    

    5. Books of guitar cords

    Note that there are many Web sites listing guitar chords (see 1. List of interesting guitar web sites: chords, music theory, etc.).

  • A book of over 2,000 chords layed out in a useful way:

    The Everything Guitar Chords: Rock-Blues-Jazz-Country-Classical-Folk: Over 2,000 Chords for Every Style of Music by Mark Schonbrun


    
    
  • Another useful chord book with spiral binding:

    Guitar Chords: All the Chords You'll Need...and More! by Paul Roland


    
    

    6. Books on introductory and advanced fingering and picking exercises

    These are useful going from basic introduction to more advanced exercises:

    7. Skeptical Guitarist (Bruce Emery) books

    The Skeptical Guitarist at skepticalguitarist.com (Bruce Emery ) has a series of introductory to advanced books that cover a range of topics. The books are all spiral bound making them much easier to use. Some of the entries do not have much in the way of descriptions, but the reader reviews fill in that detail. Also, there are more descriptions on his Web site as well as the ability to order the books from his Web site at skepticalguitarist.com. Some that might be useful are:

    8. The Guitar Grimoire book series

    Adam Kadmon has a series of more advanced books called the Guitar Grimoire that cover a range of topics. Some that might be useful are:

    
    
    

    9. Miscellaneous useful related sites

  • Bi-monthly magazine with music, musicians, instruments, videos (PDF download of the magazine if you subscribe) Acoustic Guitar Magazine:
    http://www.acousticguitar.com/

  • Tricks for How to Memorize a Song:
    http://www.wikihow.com/index.php?title=Memorize-a-Song&printable=yes

  • Open source free audio recording and editing computer software: "Audacity"
    http://audacity.sourceforge.net/

  • A few on-line music stores:
    1. http://musiciansfriend.com/
    2. http://www.guitarcenter.com/
    3. http://www.hmtrad.com/ (House of Musical Traditions)
    4. https://www.mindamusicstore.com/
    5. http://elderly.com/
    6. https://www.sweetwater.com/
  • A few of THOUSANDS of free on-line guitar lessons:
    1. https://www.shutupandplay.ca/lesson-index.html
    2. YouTube search for "acoustic guitar lessons for beginners"
    3. https://www.guitarlessons.com/
    4. https://www.hawaiianshirtsonline.co.uk/ukulele-tutorials/
    
    

    10. Introductory Piano / Keyboard books

    Figuring out chords is sometimes easier to visualize on a piano or keyboard. Therefore, a few useful books and web sites are listed. A few books emphasize making your own music (i.e., not sight reading) by understand chords, chord progressions that make reading and playing music from a fakebook possible. [From Wikipedia] In a fake book "A fake book is a collection of musical lead sheets intended to help a performer quickly learn new songs. Each song in a fake book contains the melody line, basic chords, and lyrics - the minimal information needed by a musician to make an impromptu arrangement of a song, or 'fake it'". For example, here is an Amazon search for Fake Books for Piano. There are huge numbers of fake books that are available (e.g. https://www.amazon.com/fakebook/s?k=fakebook).
    
    
  • How to Play Piano Despite Years of Lessons: What Music Is and How to Make It at Home by Ward Cannel and Fred Marx (1981). (From Amazon) "This method is a truly entertaining approach to learning how to play the piano. Written by Ward Cannel of the Piano Consortium, the method breaks down music theory into visual concepts which are fun and easy to grasp, so you can learn to play the music you want to play! Perfect for those piano lesson dropouts!"

    
    


  • Piano For Dummies by Blake Neely (2009). (From Amazon) "Instruct: to provide with knowledge, especially in a methodical way. That is, in fact, what Phillips and Chappel of Cherry Lane Music do in this logical, pedagogic introduction to keyboard instruments, music theory, and piano technique. The chapter on the famous? or is it infamous?? "Part of Tens" includes information about past and present masters of the instrument, ways of expanding your interest beyond the scope of the book, and tips on finding a teacher. Printed musical examples are plentiful, and an accompanying audio CD is included. This book intends to be fun and funny and succeeds in a vaudeville sort of way. Students are encouraged "to continue to seek knowledge a bout your instrument long after you tire of the jokes" and told that "piano teachers and method books shouldn't be forsaken forever." The do-it-yourself phenomenon has made the "Dummies" books very popular. This one is particularly appropriate for school media and public libraries."

    
    


  • How to Play from a Fake Book (Keyboard Edition) by Blake Neely. (From Amazon) "Ever wondered how to create better accompaniments for the melodies in your favorite fake books? This "teach yourself" book introduces you to chord building, various rhythmic styles, and much more, so that you play the songs you like just the way you want them. Keyboard players with a basic understanding of notation and sight-reading will be on their way to more fun with fake books. The relaxed tone of the text and selection of fun songs keep How to Play from a Fake Book entertaining throughout - perfect for amateur musicians, or as a supplement for keyboard teachers and their students."

    
    


    Some useful piano Web sites with chords, sheet music, learning piano/keyboard

    
    

    11. Books on adults learning music and the nature of music

  • The Art of Practicing: A Guide to Making Music from the Heart by Madeline Bruser (Author), Yehudi Menuhin (Foreword). (From Amazon) "This landmark book enlightens amateur and professional musicians about a way of practicing that transforms a sometimes frustrating, monotonous, and overly strenuous labor into an exhilarating and rewarding experience. Acclaimed pianist and teacher Madeline Bruser combines physiological and meditative principles to help musicians release physical and mental tension and unleash their innate musical talent. She offers practical techniques for cultivating free and natural movement, a keen enjoyment of sounds and sensations, a clear and relaxed mind, and an open heart and she explains how to: Prepare the body and mind to practice with ease; Understand the effect of posture on flexibility and expressiveness; Make efficient use of the hands and arms; Employ listening techniques to improve coordination; Increase the range of color and dynamics by using less effort; Cultivate rhythmic vitality; Perform with confidence, warmth, and freedom. Photographs show essential points of posture and movement for a variety of instruments."

    
    


  • Piano Lessons: Music, Love, and True Adventures by Noah Adams (1997). (From Amazon) "Piano Lessons is Noah Adams's delightful and moving chronicle of his fifty-second year--a year already filled with long, fast workdays and too little spare time--as he answers at last a lifelong call: to learn to play the piano. The twelve monthly chapters span from January--when after decades of growing affection for keyboard artists and artisans he finally plunges in and buys a piano--through December, when as a surprise Christmas present for his wife he dresses in a tuxedo and, in flickering candlelight, snow falling outside the windows, he attempts their favorite piece of music, a difficult third-year composition he's been struggling with in secret to get to this very moment. ... more ..."

    
    


  • A Natural History of the Piano: The Instrument, the Music, the Musicians--from Mozart to Modern Jazz and Everything in Between by Stuart Isacoff (2011). (From Amazon) "A beautifully illustrated, totally engrossing celebration of the piano, and the composers and performers who have made it their own. With honed sensitivity and unquestioned expertise, Stuart Isacoff—pianist, critic, teacher, and author of Temperament: How Music Became a Battleground for the Great Minds of Western Civilization—unfolds the ongoing history and evolution of the piano and all its myriad wonders: how its very sound provides the basis for emotional expression and individual style, and why it has so powerfully entertained generation upon generation of listeners. He illuminates the groundbreaking music of Mozart, Beethoven, Liszt, Schumann, and Debussy. He analyzes the breathtaking techniques of Glenn Gould, Oscar Peterson, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Arthur Rubinstein, and Van Cliburn, and he gives musicians including Alfred Brendel, Murray Perahia, Menahem Pressler, and Vladimir Horowitz the opportunity to discuss their approaches. Isacoff delineates how classical music and jazz influenced each other as the uniquely American art form progressed from ragtime, novelty, stride, boogie, bebop, and beyond, through Scott Joplin, Fats Waller, Duke Ellington, Bill Evans, Thelonious Monk, Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock, Cecil Taylor, and Bill Charlap. ... more..."

    
    


  • Guitar Zero: The New Musician and the Science of Learning by Gary Marcus (2012). (From Amazon) "On the eve of his 40th birthday, Gary Marcus, a renowned scientist with no discernible musical talent, learns to play the guitar and investigates how anyone—of any age —can become musical. Do you have to be born musical to become musical? Do you have to start at the age of six? Using the tools of his day job as a cognitive psychologist, Gary Marcus becomes his own guinea pig as he takes up the guitar. In a powerful and incisive look at how both children and adults become musical, Guitar Zero traces Marcus’s journey, what he learned, and how anyone else can learn, too. A groundbreaking peek into the origins of music in the human brain, this musical journey is also an empowering tale of the mind’s enduring plasticity. ... more..."

    
    


  • The Power of Music: Pioneering Discoveries in the New Science of Song by Elena Mannes (2011). (From Amazon) "The award-winning creator of the acclaimed documentary "The Music Instinct: Science & Song," explores the power of music and its connection to the body, the brain, and the world of nature. Only recently has science sought in earnest to understand and explain this impact. One remarkable recent study, analyzing the cries of newborns, shows that infants' cries contain common musical intervals, and children tease each other in specific, singsong ways no matter where in the world they live. Physics experiments show that sound waves can physically change the structure of a material; musician and world-famous conductor Daniel Barenboim believes musical sound vibrations physically penetrate our bodies, shifting molecules as they do. The Power of Music follows visionary researchers and accomplished musicians to the crossroads of science and culture, to discover: how much of our musicality is learned and how much is innate? Can examining the biological foundations of music help scientists unravel the intricate web of human cognition and brain function? Why is music virtually universal across cultures and time-does it provide some evolutionary advantage? Can music make people healthier? Might music contain organzing principles of harmonic vibration that underlie the cosmos itself?" Note, you can see the video The Music Instinct: Science & Song on Netflix streaming video.

    
    


  • Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain, Revised and Expanded Edition by Oliver Sacks (2008). (From Amazon) "With the same trademark compassion and erudition he brought to The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, Oliver Sacks explores the place music occupies in the brain and how it affects the human condition. In Musicophilia, he shows us a variety of what he calls “musical misalignments.” Among them: a man struck by lightning who suddenly desires to become a pianist at the age of forty-two; an entire group of children with Williams syndrome, who are hypermusical from birth; people with “amusia,” to whom a symphony sounds like the clattering of pots and pans; and a man whose memory spans only seven seconds-for everything but music. Illuminating, inspiring, and utterly unforgettable, Musicophilia is Oliver Sacks' latest masterpiece."

    
    


  • Complete Singer-Songwriter:: A Troubadour's Guide to Writing, Performing, Recording, and Business (2nd Ed) by Jeffrey Pepper Rogers (2016). "The Complete Singer-Songwriter is the ultimate guide for the modern performer, chock-full of tips, tools, and inspiration for both aspiring troubadours and those looking to take their craft and career to the next level. Author Jeffrey Pepper Rodgers draws on firsthand interviews with songwriting legends and rising stars; expert advice from managers, agents, lawyers, and publishers; and his own experiences as a performing songwriter. He offers this invaluable companion for singer-songwriters on their journey from idea to song to the stage, studio, and beyond. New in the second edition: • A songwriter's guide to chord progressions • Understanding song form and rhyme • Dozens of songwriting games and exercises • Essential info on copyrighting your songs, music publishing, and digital royalties • Online companion at completesingersongwriter.com with playlists and additional resources. Songwriting tips and techniques from more than 100 artists, including Joni Mitchell, John Mayer, Paul Simon, Rosanne Cash, Jewel, Jeff Tweedy, Ani DiFranco, James Taylor, John Fogerty, Brandi Carlile, Richard Thompson, Jason Mraz, Rodney Crowell, Jerry Garcia, Dar Williams, and more."

    
    

    12. Books on Songwriting

    These are a few useful books on songwriting in two lists. The first list is books on songwriting by songwriters. The second list of books on songwriting primarily focusing on lyrics. They are all useful in their own ways.

    12.1 This is a list of useful books on songwriting by songwriters

  • More Songwriters on Songwriting by Paul Zollo 2016. 3rd ed. " The long-awaited sequel to Songwriters on Songwriting, often called "the songwriter's bible," More Songwriters on Songwriting goes to the heart of the creative process with in-depth interviews with many of the world's greatest songwriters. Covering every genre of popular music from folk, rock 'n' roll, Broadway, jazz, pop, and modern rock, this is a remarkable journey through some sixty years of popular songwriting: from Leiber & Stoller's genius rock 'n' roll collaborations and Richard Sherman's Disney songs to Kenny Gamble's Philly Sound; Norman Whitfield's Motown classics; Loretta Lynn's country standards; expansive folk music from Peter, Paul, and Mary; folk-rock from Stephen Stills; confessional gems from James Taylor; poetic excursions form Patti Smith; Beatles magic from Ringo Starr; expansive brilliance from Paul Simon; complex melodic greatness from Brian Wilson; the most untrustworthy narrator alive in Randy Newman; the dark rock theater of both Alice Cooper and Rob Zombie; the sophisticated breadth of Elvis Costello; the legendary jazz of Herbie Hancock; the soulful swagger of of Chrissie Hynde; the funny-poignant beauty of John Prine; the ancient wisdom fused with hip-hop and reggae of Matisyahu; and much more. In all of it is the collective wisdom of those who have written songs for decades, songs that have impacted our culture forever."

  • Tunesmith: Inside the Art of Songwriting by Jimmy Webb, 1998. "Webb brings his insider's knowledge, experience, and star power to the ultimate guide for aspiring songwriters. With a combination of anecdotes, meditation, and advice, he breaks down the creative process from beginning to end--from coping with writer's block, to song construction, chords, and even self-promotion. Webb also gives readers a glimpse into the professional music world."

  • How to Write a Song that Matters by Dar Williams, 2022. "How to Write a Song That Matters is an invaluable guide to writing music by a woman who knows how to do it and do it well: iconic singer-songwriter, Dar Williams. For years now, Williams has led songwriting retreats for musicians, from beginners to professionals, in which she elevates the process of songwriting over the assessment of the product. This book makes those intimate experiences accessible for songwriters across the globe, gifting them with the insight Williams has gleaned from her decades of experience. First, it encourages songwriters to find something that inspires them and then to follow that inspiration, letting the clues of those first few notes or lines lead their narrative. Soon, the initial rhythms, the unique sounds of the melody, and/or specific vocabulary emerge, giving birth to a "voice" or a "world" that the song can exist in. As the writer proceeds, Williams encourages them to ask themselves: "Where did I go? Where did I REALLY go? What happened? What REALLY happened? What am I bringing back?" There are many other songwriting guides that hint to the reader that writing a "hit song" may be on the horizon if only the reader correctly follows the guide or program. In this book, however, Williams shows readers how to tap into their OWN creative process, using their psyches, their unique life experiences, and their muses to write the songs that they are meant to write. By focusing on the process of creating a song that matters, as opposed to producing a well-constructed "widget from a song factory," songwriters will be able to establish their own voice and use it to make meaningful music. Perfect for music lovers of all sorts who want to write songs, How to Write a Song That Matters is a one-of-a-kind-book that readers will turn to for guidance time and time again."

  • World Within a Song: Music That Changed My Life and Life That Changed My Music by Jeff Tweedy, 2023. "What makes us fall in love with a song? What makes us want to write our own songs? Do songs help? Do songs help us live better lives? And do the lives we live help us write better songs? After two New York Times bestsellers that cemented and expanded his legacy as one of America’s best-loved performers and songwriters, Let’s Go (So We Can Get Back) and How to Write One Song, Jeff Tweedy is back with another disarming, beautiful, and inspirational book about why we listen to music, why we love songs, and how music can connect us to each other and to ourselves. Featuring fifty songs that have both changed Jeff’s life and influenced his music—including songs by the Replacements, Mavis Staples, the Velvet Underground, Joni Mitchell, Otis Redding, Dolly Parton, and Billie Eilish—as well as Jeff’s “Rememories,” dream-like short pieces that related key moments from Jeff’s life, this book is a mix of the musical, the emotional, and the inspirational in the best possible way."

  • How to Write One Song by Jeff Tweedy, 2020. " There are few creative acts more mysterious and magical than writing a song. But what if the goal wasn't so mysterious and was actually achievable for anyone who wants to experience more magic and creativity in their life? That's something that anyone will be inspired to do after reading Jeff Tweedy's How to Write One Song. Why one song? Because the difference between one song and many songs isn't a cute semantic trick—it's an important distinction that can simplify a notoriously confusing art form. The idea of becoming a capital-S songwriter can seem daunting, but approached as a focused, self-contained event, the mystery and fear subsides, and songwriting becomes an exciting pursuit. And then there is the energizing, nourishing creativity that can open up. How to Write One Song brings readers into the intimate process of writing one song—lyrics, music, and putting it all together—and accesses the deep sense of wonder that remains at the heart of this curious, yet incredibly fulfilling, artistic act. But it’s equally about the importance of making creativity part of your life every day, and of experiencing the hope, inspiration, and joy available to anyone who’s willing to get started."

  • Been So Long: My Life and Music by Jorma Kaukonen, 2018. "From the man who made a name for himself as a founding member and lead guitarist of Jefferson Airplane comes a memoir that offers a rare glimpse into the heart and soul of a musical genius—and a vivid journey through the psychedelic era in America. “Music is the reward for being alive,” writes Jorma Kaukonen in this candid and emotional account of his life and work. “It stirs memory in a singular way that is unmatched.” In a career that has already spanned a half century—one that has earned him induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, among other honors—Jorma is best known for his legendary bands Jefferson Airplane and the still-touring Hot Tuna. But before he won worldwide recognition he was just a young man with a passion and a dream. Been So Long is the story of how Jorma found his place in the world of music and beyond. The grandson of Finnish and Russian-Jewish immigrants whose formative years were spent abroad with his American-born diplomat father, Jorma channeled his life experiences—from his coming-of-age in Pakistan and the Philippines to his early gigs with Jack Casady in D.C. to his jam sessions in San Francisco with Jerry Garcia, Janis Joplin, Bob Dylan, and other contemporaries—into his art in unique and revelatory ways. Been So Long charts not only Jorma’s association with the bands that made him famous but goes into never-before-told details about his addiction and recovery, his troubled first marriage and still-thriving second, and more. Interspersed with diary entries, personal correspondence, and song lyrics, this memoir is as unforgettable and inspiring as Jorma’s music itself."

  • Chronicles: Volume One by Bob Dylan, 2004. "“I’d come from a long ways off and had started a long ways down. But now destiny was about to manifest itself. I felt like it was looking right at me and nobody else.” So writes Bob Dylan in Chronicles: Volume One, his remarkable book exploring critical junctures in his life and career. Through Dylan’s eyes and open mind, we see Greenwich Village, circa 1961, when he first arrives in Manhattan. Dylan’s New York is a magical city of possibilities—smoky, nightlong parties; literary awakenings; transient loves and unbreakable friendships. Elegiac observations are punctuated by jabs of memories, penetrating and tough. With the book’s side trips to New Orleans, Woodstock, Minnesota, and points west, Chronicles: Volume One is an intimate and intensely personal recollection of extraordinary times. By turns revealing, poetical, passionate, and witty, Chronicles: Volume One is a mesmerizing window on Bob Dylan’s thoughts and influences. Dylan’s voice is distinctively American: generous of spirit, engaged, fanciful, and rhythmic. Utilizing his unparalleled gifts of storytelling and the exquisite expressiveness that are the hallmarks of his music, Bob Dylan turns Chronicles: Volume One into a poignant reflection on life, and the people and places that helped shape the man and the art."

  • Saved by a Song: The Art and Healing Power of Songwriting by Mary Gauthier, 2021. "Mary Gauthier was twelve years old when she was given her Aunt Jenny’s old guitar and taught herself to play with a Mel Bay basic guitar workbook. Music offered her a window to a world where others felt the way she did. Songs became lifelines to her, and she longed to write her own, one day. Then, for a decade, while struggling with addiction, Gauthier put her dream away and her call to songwriting faded. It wasn’t until she got sober and went to an open mic with a friend did she realize that she not only still wanted to write songs, she needed to. Today, Gauthier is a decorated musical artist, with numerous awards and recognition for her songwriting, including a Grammy nomination. In Saved by a Song, Mary Gauthier pulls the curtain back on the artistry of songwriting. Part memoir, part philosophy of art, part nuts and bolts of songwriting, her book celebrates the redemptive power of song to inspire and bring seemingly different kinds of people together."

  • Holding the Note: Profiles in Popular Music by David Remnick, 2023. "The greatest popular songs, whether it’s Aretha Franklin singing “Respect” or Bob Dylan performing “Blind Willie McTell,” have a way of embedding themselves in our memories. You remember a time and a place and a feeling when you hear that song again. In Holding the Note, David Remnick writes about the lives and work of some of the greatest musicians, songwriters, and performers of the past fifty years. He portrays a series of musical lives and their unique encounters with the passing of that essential element of music: time. From Cohen’s performing debut, when his stage fright was so debilitating he couldn’t get through “Suzanne,” to Franklin’s iconic mink-drop at the Kennedy Center, Holding the Note delivers a view of some of the greatest creative minds of our time written with a lifetime’s passionate attachment to music that has shaped us all."

  • The Philosophy of Modern Song by Bob Dylan, 2022. "Dylan, who began working on the book in 2010, offers his extraordinary insight into the nature of popular music. He writes over sixty essays focusing on songs by other artists, spanning from Stephen Foster to Elvis Costello, and in between ranging from Hank Williams to Nina Simone. He analyzes what he calls the trap of easy rhymes, breaks down how the addition of a single syllable can diminish a song, and even explains how bluegrass relates to heavy metal. These essays are written in Dylan’s unique prose. They are mysterious and mercurial, poignant and profound, and often laugh-out-loud funny. And while they are ostensibly about music, they are really meditations and reflections on the human condition. Running throughout the book are nearly 150 carefully curated photos as well as a series of dream-like riffs that, taken together, resemble an epic poem and add to the work’s transcendence. In 2020, with the release of his outstanding album Rough and Rowdy Ways, Dylan became the first artist to have an album hit the Billboard Top 40 in each decade since the 1960s. The Philosophy of Modern Song contains much of what he has learned about his craft in all those years, and like everything that Dylan does, it is a momentous artistic achievement."

    12.2 List of useful books on songwriting, primarily focusing on lyrics

  • Writing Better Lyrics by Pat Pattison, 2009 (2nd ed). "Writing Better Lyrics has been a staple for songwriters for nearly two decades. Now this revised and updated 2nd Edition provides effective tools for everything from generating ideas, to understanding the form and function of a song, to fine-tuning lyrics. Perfect for new and experienced songwriters alike, this time-tested classic covers the basics in addition to more advanced techniques.Songwriters will discover: • How to use sense-bound imagery to enhance a song's emotional impact on listeners • Techniques for avoiding clichés and creating imaginative metaphors and similes • Ways to use repetition as an asset • How to successfully manipulate meter • Instruction for matching lyrics with music • Ways to build on ideas and generate effective titles • Advice for working with a co-writer • And much more. Featuring updated and expanded chapters, 50 fun songwriting exercises, and examples from more than 20 chart-toppings songs, Writing Better Lyrics gives you all of the professional and creative insight you need to write powerful lyrics and put your songs in the spotlight where they belong."

  • Songwriting: Essential Guide to Lyric Form and Structure: Tools and Techniques for Writing Better Lyrics by Pat Pattison, 1991. "Veteran songwriter Pat Pattison has taught many of Berklee College of Music's best and brightest students how to write truly great lyrics. Her helpful guide contains essential information on lyric structures, timing and placement, and exercises to help everyone from beginners to seasoned songwriters say things more effectively and gain a better understanding of their craft. Features examples of famous songs for study, including: Be Still My Beating Heart * Can't Fight This Feeling * It Was a Very Good Year * Tickle Me * and more."

  • Songwriting Without Boundaries: Lyric Writing Exercises for Finding Your Voice by Pat Pattison, 2012. "Writing great song lyrics requires practice and discipline. Songwriting Without Boundaries will help you commit to routine practice through fun writing exercises. This unique collection of more than150 sense-bound prompts helps you develop the skills you need to: • tap into your senses and inject your writing with vivid details • effectively use metaphor and comparative language • add rhythm to your writing and manage phrasing. Songwriters, as well as writers of other genres, will benefit from this collection of sensory writing challenges. Divided into four sections, Songwriting Without Boundaries features four different fourteen-day challenges with timed writing exercises, along with examples from other songwriters, poets, and prose writers."

  • Beginning Songwriting: Writing Your Own Lyrics, Melodies, and Chords by Andrea Stolpe & Jan Stolpe, 2015. "(Berklee Guide). Learn to write songs! This book presents the basic concepts of popular songwriting, such as song construction, creativity techniques, melodic and harmonic development, how to write memorable lyrics, and other core topics. Hands-on exercises make it practical, and the accompanying recording illustrates the concepts for those who don't yet read music."

  • Your Singing Voice: Contemporary Techniques, Expression, and Spirit by Jeannie Gagne, 2012. "(Berklee Guide). Connect to your authentic singing voice with this holistic guide to a healthy and expressive singing life. This collection of technical discussions, exercises, and insights will help you improve all aspects of using your voice from healthy sound production to exercises for greater vocal facility to guidance on rehearsing with your band. Interviews with Patty Austin, Ysaye Barnwell, and others lend their perspectives to singing, the mind-body connection, and a natural/wellness focused approach to musicianship. The accompanying online audio supports the practice exercises and approaches to learning new songs."

  • The Craft of Lyric Writing by Sheila Davis, 1985 (there is an earlier 1984 earlier edition). GoodReads review: "Shows examples of successful songs, describes the three basic songwriting forms, and discusses theme, repetition, wordplay, rhyme, rhythm, and common songwriting mistakes."


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