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Songwriting For Dummies by Cathy Lynn Austin, Jim Peterik, Dave Austin

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Chapter 2

Looking at the Genres: From Country to Rock and Everything in Between

In This Chapter

Finding your niche as a singer-songwriter

Looking at the commercially successful majors

Following your heart to the specialty genres

Experimenting to find your genre match

As a songwriter, you’re presented with a broad menu of styles, or genres, from which to choose. Many songwriters settle on at least two or three musical directions in which they want to specialize, usually mirroring their personal taste in music and drawing from their background and influences — although you might want to keep it to one or two to get your feet wet. Some songwriters can write outside their field of expertise and stretch themselves — often with the help of a collaborator versed in that genre. Other times, a writer’s song that’s intended for one marketplace can find a home outside its original genre by a clever recasting of the arrangement.

In this chapter, we look at the different genres of popular music, and see how you can vary your songs — in both writing style and arrangement. We also explain how to tailor your lyrics, melodies, and chord progressions to fit each genre.

The various musical genres we take a look at include the following:

Singer-songwriter: When you write strictly for yourself and seek what defines you personally, the rulebook goes out the window.

Rock: This broad spectrum of styles ranges from hard to soft, with a zillion styles in between, and has been around since the mid-1950s. ...

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