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Writing Music for Hit Songs Paperback – November 1, 2000


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 262 pages
  • Publisher: Schirmer Trade Books; 2nd ed. edition (November 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0825672457
  • ISBN-13: 978-0825672453
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.7 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #495,912 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"A wonderful and educational book that every serious songwriter should pick up and read." --Diane Warren, hit songwriter for Michael Bolton, Céline Dion, Elton John, and many others

About the Author

Jai Josefs has over twenty years' experience as a songwriter, arranger, producer, composer, and musician.

Customer Reviews

This book is as good as Rikky Rooksby's best book: The Songwriting Sourcebook.
Tyler B.
I never once felt that I was being "lectured" while reading this book, and that makes all the difference bacause it makes you WANT to read it.
Aaron Meier
I don't read music at all and I found the book well written, clear and concise.
JR

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Sarah Erwin on October 10, 1999
Format: Paperback
I've paged through many books about songwriting trying to find a way to understand how to construct music to complement my lyrics. This book finally solved my problem and has absolutely revolutionized my songwriting. I wouldn't recommend this book for someone who is a complete novice in music theory because it moves very quickly through a great number of topics. I took notes to make sure I got everything I could out of it! I haven't looked at another music theory book since. If you're serious about writing better music, buy this book!
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By J. Auen on March 7, 2006
Format: Paperback
If you're sick of theory books that only use author's etudes or "Grandfather's Clock" type traditional songs as context, then this book is for you. Dozens and dozens of real, commercial hit songs are used as specific examples to illustrate theory. Use this book with iTunes music store to hear the "big concept" theory (ie. Song Structure, Modulation, Groove, etc.) and use your own instrument to really dig into the specifics.

Do you want to know how Billy Joel came up with those chord changes? Do you want to apply creative harmony (chords) to a melody that you can't get out of your head? Do you want to make your songs more interesting melodically, harmonically or rhythmically? It's all in this little book (and much more).

Do you play and sing a lot of songs? Have you noticed similarities between them? Some similarities are obvious (1,4,5 chords for example). Some are less obvious and some are downright confounding. Often you have this tickle in the back of your brain that there is something more important going on.

There is.

Why does this chord work so well here? Why do Steely Dan, Stevie Wonder, Jimmy Hendrix, Dire Straits and so many other group's songs stand out? They sound so unique as to be instantly identifiable. Is there some pattern here?

Yes.

I'm so glad Jai Joseph did not go down the path of these BS internet sites advertising "The Secrets of Songwriting" or "The Secrets of Theory." There's no hype here. It's simply a very organized approach to applying music theory to the craft of songwriting.

I'm a guitar teacher in baltimore. I use this book with my more advanced students. Some do not read anything but guitar tablature (and they don't want to learn standard notation). They still benefit enormously from this book.
Read more ›
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Johan Vorster on February 14, 2000
Format: Paperback
The author is clearly a seasoned songwriter with an abundance of knowledge and skill. Yet, he is able to explain the technicalities of songwriting in such a way that the not-so-professional hobbyist songwriter like myself can follow. Having not had formal music theory training myself I could easily catch up with the essentials without feeling it was a hopeless situation. The author managed to keep my attention and deal with the music theory in such a fashion that I could not wait to see his next topic. I found the approach very practical. In fact, I could immediately apply what I learned and the results were immediate. Still, an enormous amount of information is contained in this book and I am sure I shall refer back to the detail many times in the future. It has also helped me better understand songs that already became hits and the book is full of real examples.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 5, 1999
Format: Paperback
This very useful book lasted barely two years in it's initial printing with Writer's Digest Books, and since alternatives to Josefs in the area of writing music for popular songs are not many, I'm pleased to report that Schirmer Books, in a seeming rush to become a big player in the music-industry book field, has released a 1996 update of this terrific book. (Please, songwriters, buy it! Let's demonstrate that we represent a viable market niche.) Like many of today's working songwriters, author Josefs boasts wide-ranging credits that include arranging, producing, playing, and composing, as well as crafting songs. His book, focused as it is on the techniques of music writing used in today's hits, fills an obvious need, as most songwriting books either skim over the music and talk about lyrics, or, if they spend time on music, tend to be more dated in their approach than Josefs, who, granted, leans heavily upon songs of the seventies and eighties to make his points, but also includes solid nineties examples. Ron Simpson, School of Music, Brigham Young University. Author of MASTERING THE MUSIC BUSINESS.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Michael on January 3, 2000
Format: Paperback
This book was exactly what I was looking for. I knew how to play the saxophone, but I didn't know how to write music. This book quickly moves through chords (I used "How to Play Popular Piano in 10 Easy Lessons" by Norman Monath to learn the chords on piano) so it's not for a beginner musician. But if you have experience playing an instrument (any instrument), and have access to a piano/keyboard, this book is for you. I'm almost finished with my first reading and I plan to go back and read it again, this time doing the exercises. I wish I had done them to begin with but I was so intrigued by this book I just couldn't stop long enough to do them! If you want to write your own music (and it's not as you may think), BUY THIS BOOK!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 25, 1999
Format: Paperback
It took me about 6 months to read and fully understand this book. It is so comprehensive and also has exercise to reinforce learned skills. Can be a refresher course for seasoned veterans of musical techniques or else an eye opening book of pure musical technique magic. A must read!
MarQue
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