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How to Write Music with Feel, Groove and Music Style

How to Write Music with Feel, Groove and Music Style is part 8 in a series on How to Write a Song. One of the best songwriting techniques is to find the right feel and groove for your song.

No matter the music style you are comfortable in, make sure that your playing is tight.

You can get a lot of songwriting ideas by experimenting with different feels and styles but in the end it needs to be easy and natural for you to play to be believable to the listener.

The best songwriters know the style of music that they fit into. At the same time they are able to create a fresh and unique groove or feel within the style.

Let me explain what I mean. There are 4 major commercial styles. They are pop, rock, R&B and country. Of course there are many more styles of music, but these 4 broad categories are where the most music and money are made

If you turn on a contemporary commercial radio station, you can easily put most songs into one of these categories. It's important for artists and writers to be clear which of these categories they fit into. Rap fits into R&B. Folk fits into pop etc.


Within the style is where your creativity can explode because a listener likes to hear something that's familiar, yet loves it when the familiar is unique or unexpected. We sometimes refer to this as crossover music. 

For example:

1. Country music that has incredible pop and rock elements like Carrie Underwood's Before He Cheats.

2. Indie songwriters like Ingrid Michaelson and Sufjan Stevens live in a folk world, but draw elements from jazz, pop and world music.


3. Jason Mraz takes a simple reggae feel blended with a typical chord progression of I - V - vi - IV and creates the song I'm Yours.

4. The Red Hot Chili Peppers created a whole new sound out of blending rock, funk and Jimi Hendrix type grooves.


5. Steely Dan is a pop group with endless jazz and rock elements that pioneered a whole new sound that can never be replicated.

6. The Beatles were masters of experimenting with different feels, styles and grooves yet brought them altogether under a pop umbrella.

7. Shakira and Enrique Iglesias have become some of the most successful crossover artists of all time. Shakira collaborated with a South African Group, Freshlyground.

8. Paul Simon created Graceland with South African groups and also composed Rhythm of the Saints with Brazilian musicians.

9. Ray Charles recorded gospel and jazz-influenced blues and created what would later become known as Soul Music.

10. Here's a list of the top 100 pop rock crossover songs.


You can learn how to write music within a style but create interesting grooves and feel, by listening to crossover artists and those that have experimented within styles.

Listen to a lot of music! Find songs that blow your mind! Try to emulate them. Mix and match grooves and feels that make you smile. This will translate to your listeners.

Know the major style or genre you fit into.

Practice your instrument, but when writing, play what's comfortable, especially if you're singing live.

Look to be slightly original with the feel or groove you create. Invent your own voice with groove.

Be creative, be bold, as you learn how to write music, yet keep your commercial senses about you. Ask yourself if someone would really want to hear this and then run with it. Hit songs are generally progressions and styles people are familiar with, yet there is a twist in there somewhere. There is a feel to the music that is a little bit different.

Dare to be great!

Continue to Part 9, Arrangement

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