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10 Songwriting Books You Need To Own

10 Songwriting Books You Need To Own

I know books are out-of-date now a-days, but I happen to love them! And – songwriting books are even better!

Why books on a shelf? Because songwriting books are there for easy, in-the-moment access.

You can make notes you might have about a song idea, a note about other books to reference so that when you go back to it you remember the connections you made originally, or just copy a page and pass it along to someone. They’re just handy.

Below are 10 songwriting books you need on your book shelf.


songwriting book complete rhyming dictionary

The Complete Rhyming Dictionary by Clement Wood

One of the best rhyming dictionaries you’ll come across. Used by one of the best songwriters of our time, Jimmy Webb, and highly recommended!



songwriting book songwriting without boundaries

Songwriting Without Boundaries: Lyric Writing Exercises for Finding Your Voice by Pat Pattison (2012)

Great exercises from one of the best instructors in the country with examples from some of his famous students. This book is great for beginners through advanced songwriters.



songwriting book chord progressions

Chord Progressions For Songwriters by Richard Scott (2003)

Nice resource to have on hand if you want to try some different chord progressions and get yourself out of your normal chord repertoire.


#4 songwriting books write songs on keyboards

How to Write Songs on Keyboards by Rikky Rooksby (2005)

Step-by-step instruction on how to get started on songwriting using the keyboards. This book has some handy tips on how to think through the process for both hands.

songwriting books write songs on guitar

How To Write Songs On Guitar by Rikky Rooksby (2009)

Step-by-step instructions on how to get started on songwriting using the guitar. Tips on chords and proper keys, time signatures, transposing and more.


#5 songwriting books songwriters on songwriting

Songwriters On Songwriting by Paul Zollo (2003)

Interviews with history’s greatest songwriters : John Hiatt, Carole King, Merle Haggard, Suzanne Vega, Townes Van Zandt, Janis Ian, Bob Dylan and more by music writing’s best.


#6 songwriting books pat pattison's rhyming

Pat Pattison’s Songwriting: Essential Guide to Rhyming by Pat Pattison (2014)

Tips for making better rhyme choices and creating stronger rhyme patterns.



#7 songwriting books mary oliver poetry handbook

A Poetry Handbook by Mary Oliver (2014)

Learn basic songwriting terms and how to use poetic devices like rhyme, meter, metaphor, simile, direct address, first person and more one of the greatest U.S. poets.


#8 songwriting books jimmy webb tunesmith

Tunesmith: Inside The Art Of Songwriting by Jimmy Webb (1999)

From the writer of “Up, Up, And Away,” “Galveston,” “McArthur Park,” “Wichita Lineman,” “The Highwayman” – how to approach songwriting and deliver your best songs.


#9 songwriting books songs in the rough

Songs In The Rough: Rock’s Greatest Songs In Rough Draft Form by Stephen Bishop (1996)

Rough drafts in their original forms (napkins, scraps of paper, matchbooks) with explanations and interviews with the writers.


#10 songwriting books secrets of songwriting susan tucker

The Secrets Of Songwriting: Leading Songwriters Reveal How To Find Inspiration & Success by Susan Tucker (2003)

Interviews with Nashville hit songwriters about their craft, how they made it big.



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