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25 Best Songwriting Books

Robin Frederick "Shortcuts to Hit Songwriting, author"
The list author says: "A good songwriting book can give you knowledge, ideas, and inspiration! It will repay your investment over and over. The most effective songs express your emotions and message in a way listeners can understand and feel. Song craft can help you do that! These books will show you the song craft that helps you add memorability and impact for your listeners. The emotional message is up to you!"
Shortcuts to Hit Songwriting: 126 Proven Techniques for Writing Songs That Sell
Shortcuts to Hit Songwriting: 126 Proven Techniques for Writing Songs That Sell
"Want to write a hit song? Here are 126 proven songwriting techniques that will take you from inspiration to finished rewrite! Beginners and pro's will find plenty of valuable, usable info. 117 "Do It Now" exercises make this a hands-on experience! (No note-reading required.)"
The Songwriting Sourcebook: How to Turn Chords Into Great Songs
The Songwriting Sourcebook: How to Turn Chords Into Great Songs
"Some songwriters begin with a chord progression... but what happens next? This reference book shows your how to build melody, lyrics, and song structure on basic chord progressions. Included are 20 hit song examples plus a CD (Knowledge of chord numbers - I, IV, V - is required.)"
Shortcuts to Songwriting for Film & TV: 114 Tips for Writing, Recording, & Pitching in Today's Hottest Market
Shortcuts to Songwriting for Film & TV: 114 Tips for Writing, Recording, & Pitching in Today's Hottest Market
"This year, thousands of songs will be used in film, TV and advertising. Find out how you can write and pitch your songs in this hot new market. Write lyrics that will work for 100s of scenes, melodies that create mood, energy, & atmosphere. Simple tricks for recording & pitching. The ONLY book on this hot topic."
Six Steps to Songwriting Success, Revised Edition: The Comprehensive Guide to Writing and Marketing Hit Songs
Six Steps to Songwriting Success, Revised Edition: The Comprehensive Guide to Writing and Marketing Hit Songs
"The most recent edition of Jason Blume's excellent book on songwriting. If you want the information straight from a man who has written hit after hit, here's the place to find it. Also includes good chapters on selling your songs.(Basic note-reading ability is helpful in the melody sections.)"
The Craft & Business of Songwriting
The Craft & Business of Songwriting
"The 3rd (and latest) edition of John Braheny's classic! This book covers song craft (melody, lyrics, structure) and the business of selling your songs. (For the melody section, basic note-reading ability is helpful.)"
Writing Better Lyrics
Writing Better Lyrics
"I like the way Pat Pattison uses hit songs as examples and the many lyric writing exercises that get you writing while you learn. There are creative ideas for using imagery, rhyming dictionaries, fresh rhymes, and metaphors, and point of view."
Songwriting For Dummies
Songwriting For Dummies
"The "for Dummies" line is always a good bet and this is no exception. Useful information from developing your concept to demoing your finished song. Good emphasis on a wide range of styles from Christian Rock to Hip-hop. Good chapters on lyrics, the melody section is a little thin. (No note-reading required.)"
Tunesmith: Inside the Art of Songwriting
Tunesmith: Inside the Art of Songwriting
"This classic songwriting book is as much the autobiography of a great songwriter as it is a manual of craft and inspiration. Webb wrote timeless songs as well as songs that defined the 60s and 70s in which he had his biggest hits.  While I don't always agree with him, I know I am a better songwriter for reading his book."
Melody in Songwriting: Tools and Techniques for Writing Hit Songs (Berklee Guide)
Melody in Songwriting: Tools and Techniques for Writing Hit Songs (Berklee Guide)
"Often, a melody will "just occur to you" as you're writing your lyrics. Treat this as your raw material and turn it into a hit song melody by rewriting it. Learn many of the tools of melody rewriting in this fine book from Berklee teacher Jack Perricone. (Note-reading required.)"
How to Write Songs on Guitar: A Guitar-Playing and Songwriting Course
How to Write Songs on Guitar: A Guitar-Playing and Songwriting Course
"Many of today's Rock, Country, and Pop hits are written on guitar. This book teaches basic guitar techniques and well as song craft, using well-known songs as examples."
How to Write Songs on Keyboards - A Complete Course to Help You Write Better Songs  Book/CD (Softcover)
How to Write Songs on Keyboards - A Complete Course to Help You Write Better Songs Book/CD (Softcover)
"This book teaches you chords from a songwriter's perspective. Even if you're a beginner, you'll be playing and writing songs quickly and easily. (No note-reading required.)"
The Songwriter's Workshop: Melody (Berklee Press)
The Songwriter's Workshop: Melody (Berklee Press)
"Jimmy Kachulis offers clear and simple exercises to help you practice and understand the techniques of melody writing for the contemporary song market. I like his "Rewrite the Hits" idea! (Note-reading required.)"
The Complete Idiot's Guide to Music Composition (Idiot's Guides)
The Complete Idiot's Guide to Music Composition (Idiot's Guides)
"Here's an excellent guide to writing strong melodies. Miller's teaching style is relaxed, conversational, and non-academic. The information is presented in a way that makes it easy to understand and - more importantly - easy to use! (Note-reading required.)"
Songwriting: Essential Guide to Rhyming: A Step-by-Step Guide to Better Rhyming and Lyrics (Songwriting Guides)
Songwriting: Essential Guide to Rhyming: A Step-by-Step Guide to Better Rhyming and Lyrics (Songwriting Guides)
"Too often we make the mistake of bending a line or thought out of shape to accommodate a rhyme, losing the honest emotion in the process. Pat Pattison will show you dozens of ways to approach rhyming and maintain the authentic emotion in your lyrics."
Successful Lyric Writing: A Step-By-Step Course & Workbook
Successful Lyric Writing: A Step-By-Step Course & Workbook
"The workbook approach Sheila Davis uses in this book makes it one of her most effective. (She has written several books on lyric writing, all of which are popular.) There are plenty of exercises that will open new doors into the craft of lyric writing. Examples are from her students, often a plus. You'll get the chance to see the work of serious songwriters who are still developing."
The Art of Writing Great Lyrics
The Art of Writing Great Lyrics
"Pamela Phillips Oland is a successful songwriter who is as generous with practical information as she is inspiring! This book is filled with useful, high-quality information that will help your songwriting from start to finish."
Writing Music for Hit Songs
Writing Music for Hit Songs
"I was already a working songwriter when I studied chord theory with Jai Josefs, the author of this book. I immediately put to use everything I learned from him! He communicates valuable information about chords,  grooves, and melody in a clear, understandable way. If you're serious about songwriting, this book will take you to the next level. (Note-reading required.)"
Songwriters On Songwriting: Revised And Expanded
Songwriters On Songwriting: Revised And Expanded
"Sixty-two excellent interviews with songwriters who have contributed to a broad spectrum of genres. Although the emphasis is on writers who made their mark in the 60s, 70s, and 80s, the information speaks to all of us."
101 Songwriting Wrongs and How to Right Them: How to Craft and Sell Your Songs (101 Things)
101 Songwriting Wrongs and How to Right Them: How to Craft and Sell Your Songs (101 Things)
"Your song is written but something's just not working as well as it should! Look up the problem and find the fix in this easy-to-use book.(No note-reading required.)"
The Frustrated Songwriter's Handbook: A Radical Guide to Cutting Loose, Overcoming Blocks, & Writing the Best Songs of Your Life
The Frustrated Songwriter's Handbook: A Radical Guide to Cutting Loose, Overcoming Blocks, & Writing the Best Songs of Your Life
"Even if you've got a killer home studio, great guitar or keyboard chops, and plenty of time on your hands, EVERYTHING still hinges on getting a great idea for a song. Try Karl Coyat's book to get you going and keep the ideas flowing."
Music, The Brain, And Ecstasy: How Music Captures Our Imagination
Music, The Brain, And Ecstasy: How Music Captures Our Imagination
"Understanding how music and songs affect your listeners can help you hone your craft and create the emotional response you want. This book is filled with fascinating facts about music and is highly readable. While it's not an obvious "how to" book for songwriters, it is a "how to" on a deeper level."
The Chord Wheel: The Ultimate Tool for All Musicians
The Chord Wheel: The Ultimate Tool for All Musicians
"Shows you how to put chords together using basic music theory. Which chords sound good together, which ones are used most often together and why? Learn the basics of 3- and 4-chord Rock and Pop (the chord style that dominates today's charts) as well as the secrets of key changes which can keep your chord progression interesting and provide ideas for new progressions. (Note-reading required.)"
Fender Presents: Getting Started on Acoustic Guitar -- A Guide for Beginners
Fender Presents: Getting Started on Acoustic Guitar -- A Guide for Beginners
"Acoustic rhythm guitar is the underlying sound that drives much of today's hit music. Simple 3- and 4-chord patterns strummed on an acoustic guitar are the way most these hits started life. This DVD is an excellent place to start or fill in the gaps in your basic playing."
Mel Bay's You Can Teach Yourself Piano Chords (Book & DVD)
Mel Bay's You Can Teach Yourself Piano Chords (Book & DVD)
"To write a song on piano or synth keyboard, all you need to know are the chords in a key. This reference book shows you all the chords arranged by key, plus inversions and, best of all, basic chord progressions. (Note-reading ability is required.)"
Singing for the Stars: A Complete Program for Training Your Voice (Book & 2 CD's)
Singing for the Stars: A Complete Program for Training Your Voice (Book & 2 CD's)
"Whether you want to be a recording artist or just want to communicate your own songs effectively, you'll find a wealth of information in Seth Riggs' excellent book and CD package. The goal of a good singing coach is not to change your voice but to give you more choices when singing and add confidence to your performance. You can do it and Seth Riggs' book can help."
Art & Fear: Observations On the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking
Art & Fear: Observations On the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking
"I want to close this list with this very special book. Whenever I'm stuck, can't seem to get inspired, or having trouble finding my creative center I open this book and I always find help. It's a slim volume but every sentence is a gem! It's a book of wisdom, experience, and insight for artists of all kinds at all levels."