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Renegade Review: "Righting Wrongs
in Writing Songs" by Danny Cope

In this review we're taking a look at a book called "Righting Wrongs in Writing Songs" by Danny Cope.

Danny Cope is a course leader on the BA (Hons) Popular Music Studies, a degree program at Leeds College of Music in West Yorkshire, and he's also lectured for the past six years in song writing, song production and popular music performance.

He's worked as a session bass player for the past twelve years, and he's also released four solo albums and worked as a song writing consultant with the Open University, among other things.

Now, this book. What's it all about? It's all about improving, as the title suggests, your songwriting knowledge and skills and it basically sets out to give you songwriting advice to make your own songwriting more informed and productive.

How the author has gone about this is he's basically taken each chapter and devoted that to a problem, and these are problems that he's observed throughout his career as a song writing lecturer - common problems which seem to hold back people from achieving the type of songwriting that they could.

So, each chapter takes one problem, there are thirteen problems and it deals with each.  Through this he deals with writing approach, your purpose, your structure, basic music theory, word meaning, word design, arrangement, chords, and how all these elements are pieced together.

Each chapter in "Righting Wrongs in Writing Songs" is basically about one problem...

  1. We don't know what we're trying to achieve.
  2. We don't know why we're writing.
  3. We don't present our songs as effectively as possible.
  4. We're not sure what our melody is all about.
  5. Notes fall out of our heads without us thinking about them.
  6. Rhythms fall out of our heads without us thinking about them.
  7. We're not sure what we're trying to say.
  8. We take too long to say too little.
  9. We don't take metre and rhyme seriously enough.
  10. We don't think about how to grow a lyric.
  11. We don't think about we grow our melodic ideas.
  12. We write chords without understanding them.
  13. We don't think about how we use chords.

So, those are the problems and as I said all these different things - your writing approach, structure, arrangement, chords, melody, word design, all that is discussed as the author goes through these various problems.

So I'd say this is a great book for anybody who wants to improve their songwriting. If you're not an expert in songwriting this book will give you the fundamentals you need, it will give you the basics.  It will also assist you a lot in getting your songs to sound much better, faster.

Now, Righting Wrongs in Writing Songs doesn't give you a step-by-step process for writing a hit song, the author states clearly in the beginning of the book that that's not something that he can do.  If you're looking for a how-do-I-write-a-hit-song type book this is not it. I don't think that's really possible to do.

There's a lot that goes into a hit that can be formulaic, but there's also a lot of luck, and also a lot of experience and great artistry involved, which is not something you can really sit down and successfully write a step-by-step process for.

So definitely if you want to improve your song writing it's a great book; if you want to get the basics, if you're just starting out and you want to get a good foundation in songwriting it's also a great little book to go through.

I suggest Righting Wrongs in Writing Songs to anybody just starting out with songwriting and if you've been writing for a little bit longer and you feel like your songs could be better still, this is definitely a book for you.

I'd like to once again thank Cengage Learning PTR for sponsoring the review copy of this book.

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