The Craft of Songwriting

Music, Meaning, and Emotion

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  • Suggested Retail Price: $19.99
  • Format: Book with Online Audio
  • Pages: 128
  • Dimensions: 9x12
  • Audio Tracks: 133
  • ISBN: 9780876391921
  • SKU: 00159283
  • Publication Date: October 09, 2018

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Studying with Berklee’s accomplished songwriting faculty, you'll delve into lyric writing, melody, harmony, theory, arranging, and strategies employed by some of the all-time great songwriters.

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Learn techniques for writing original songs in a variety of musical styles—techniques that have propelled Berklee alumni to write number one songs and win Grammy Awards. In this program, you will develop skills to create song structures, harmonies, melodies, and lyrics that support and enhance the ideas that you want to express.

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Professional Songwriting Certificate Program

Whether you’re a new or experienced songwriter and whether your goal is to write a chart-topper or to pack a more emotionally powerful punch with your songs, this program will not allow you to settle for anything less than your very best work.

Take your songwriting to the next level! This book breaks down the processes used by hit songwriters and dives deeply into the craft of songwriting. Discover the tools and techniques for melody, harmony, lyrics, and form behind so many great songs. You will access the magic and come out more connected to your heart and craft. Online audio tracks illustrate these techniques in context, showing how they affect your song’s overall impact.

You will learn to:

  • Craft melodic settings of your lyrics that help reveal their meaning and intent, using techniques for selecting notes, building melodic shapes, and developing engaging, expressive melodic lines.
  • Understand the different types of chords and their emotional impact.
  • Use the colors of keys and modes that best support your song’s intended emotional effect.
  • Draw from a rich palette of harmonic possibilities, including diatonic and non-diatonic chord types, tensions, pedal points, modulation, harmonic rhythm, etc., and know how and when to use them to control your song’s mood, momentum, and evolution.
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“After this book, I will never write a song with a mis-stressed syllable again. Scarlet Keys has been shaping the minds of the next it-songwriters for years, now. You’d be crazy not to read what she has to say.”

—Betty Who, pop artist and songwriter

“Occasionally, a piece of literary, academic, and educational work enters the scene that deals so effectively with the current understanding of a subject, that its entrance is a historical marker pointing out how little treatment has actually been given to something vital. Scarlet Keys’ The Craft of Songwriting shows us just how little we have paid attention to the teachable elements of songwriting. The genius of Keys is that somehow, in the same moment of revealing our empty breach, she completely manages to fill it in with a single book covering what should be an entire branch of study. Not content to just point out the historical and learnable techniques of song craft, she delivers an essential, seminal work layered with sublime but easy-to-digest lessons with accompanying audio clips on the tools available to all songwriters who now know that it is as important to be schooled in their craft as it is to be enlightened by their inspiration.”

—Monty Powell, ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC award-winning songwriter

“This book breaks down everything we as songwriters accidentally do and outlines the science behind our madness to be honed and perfected. A long-awaited addition to your creative toolbox, The Craft of Songwriting is clear, concise, and essential to the modern songwriter.”

—Annika Wells, pop songwriter and artist

“I wish I had had this book forty years ago. Or even ten years ago! I learned so much from this. Scarlet is gentle, rigorous, and funny. An exquisite book on the craft of songwriting.”

—Daniel J. Levitin, author of This Is Your Brain on Music and award-winning music producer

“Perfectly song-nerdy. With countless explorative exercises that will break you out of your old creative patterns and lead you to a well of fresh ideas, this book is a must-read for any songwriter.”

—Liz Longley, Sugar Hill recording artist, winner of the John Lennon Scholarship Award, Berklee Grad 2010

“In this book, Scarlet will take you on a wonderful journey, focusing on how melodic and harmonic tools can support and enhance your song’s message. She’ll show you how to create more power and emotion whenever you sit down to write.”

—Pat Pattison, author, professor at Berklee College of Music


Scarlet Keys

Scarlet Keys has been a full-time professor of songwriting at Berklee College of Music since 2003, teaching songwriting, lyric writing,…