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The Muse's News
The Muse's News
An E-zine For And About Songwriters.
Issue 14.7
October 2011

In This Issue:
* Editor's Musings
* Music Reviews - Ivan Nossa - A very quiet month!
* New Artist Spotlight Additions
* Songwriting Book Review - by Anastasia Karalekas
* Musical Notes - Songwriting Contests & Market Info.
* Muse's Clues - Songwriting Web sites that inspire - brought to you by Songwriter's Hall of Fame member, John Brhel.
* Featured Article: Quick Tip: For Better, For Worse, For Rih, For Poor- by Brad Dunse
* On Site Featured Article - An article already online for your viewing pleasure.
* Classifieds & Useful Services
* Contact information
ISSN 1480-6975. Copyright 1998-2011 - Jodi Krangle.
For more contact information, see end of issue.


All sorts of products and services especially for songwriters, negotiated so that you get the best price possible. You'll find means of promotion and distribution, songwriting aids, educational products, musical instruments and their accessories, and lots more. Any of these items would make a fantastic present for a songwriter in your life (even if it's you! :-) ) Check it out!

Sponsor Message:
(Many thanks to the sponsors that help support this newsletter!)

Write Better Songs with MasterWriter 2.0 - at a New Price!

(And Muse's News readers *still* get a special discount!)

Looking for something really special for that songwriter in your life? (Maybe it's you!) MasterWriter 2.0 is the most powerful suite of songwriting tools ever assembled in one program. MasterWriter is endorsed by ASCAP, BMI, SESAC, NSAI and is used by some of the world's leading songwriters including Gwen Stefani, Rob Thomas, Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds, Jimmy Webb, Kenny Loggins, Trent Reznor, Clint Black, and many more.

In addition to giving you Rhymes, Close Rhymes, Phrases, Pop-Culture, Synonyms, and the Definition, new features include Word Families and Parts Of Speech, two unique and revolutionary reference dictionaries that will open up a new world of possibilities for descriptive words and ideas. There have been updates and improvements to the existing features, including greatly expanded Sound-Alikes (close rhymes), and a completely redesigned Interface. These are serious tools for the serious songwriter.

MasterWriter's NEW price is now only $199 - but you'll still get a *$20* discount (your price is just $179!) by ordering through The Muse's Muse! Take the Tour, Download a Free Trial, and get a $20 discount! Note that the auto-inserted discount number 3004 will apply the $20 discount when ordering online. Windows and Mac compatible.

Editor's Musings:

Hello again for another month. :) I love October. The leaves are just starting to turn, the weather isn't quite *cold* yet, but it's getting coldER... and October is also the month of my birthday. Yes, I still look forward to that. It's just plain fun - and I like fun. Who doesn't? :)

On that note (of fun!), I've also updated my voice over logo and website. Feel free to visit and let me know what you think. It's at - and the fantastic designers are an outfit out of New York called Artist Upgrade. I highly recommend them if you're a creative type. They really understand that sort of thing and I'm tremendously happy with that they did for me. I even have a cafe press shop (just for giggles). Feel free to check it out. :)

In general, it's been somewhat of a quiet month - but there are new articles on the site - and there's a new interview with Marty Panzer. Virginia Emrick has done a fantastic job with this one and it's a very worthwhile read (thanks, Virginia!). There's a new Quick Tip from Brad and a new Muse's Clues from John. Lots to read and hopefully help inspire you. And in the meantime, here are the newest raffle winners (write to me if you want a raffle prize! More info on doing that is below):

  • J.J. Allen from Canal Winchester, OH, has won a 6 month membership to GMC has tons of helpful videos, instructors and lessons along with a forum for chatting with teachers and students 24/7, recording collaborations, attending video chats, & content for bass, drums, singing, piano, etc.
  • Patti Lalack Hutterli, from Aloha, OR, has won a free 3 month membership to SongU, an Internet-based learning environment providing online coaching, co-writing and pitching opportunities, in addition to over 70 multi-level courses developed by award-winning songwriters.
  • Dave Leach, from Chatham, Ontario Canada, has won a downloadable version of Rhyme Genie, a dynamic rhyming dictionary featuring over 300,000 entries and 30 different rhyme types.
  • John Henley, from Cromwell, CT, has won a copy of Virtual Studio Systems' Lyricist software.

As I always say, if you'd like to be considered for a raffle prize yourself, have a look at the various prizes offered at the top of The Muse's News webpage, decide which prizes you'd most like, and email me with your top two choices along with your mailing address so that I can get the prizes to you. Yes, it's really that simple. :) (And yes, the mailing address is kinda important. I promise it won't be used for any other reason than to send you your raffle prize - and to mention your approximate location in the notice of raffle winners you see above here.)

Thanks for subscribing and enjoy your October! (Happy early Halloween. :D)

All the best,


Sponsor Message:
(Many thanks to the sponsors that help support this newsletter!)


It's the "secret weapon" used by some of the winners of the world's most prestigious vocal awards, including the Doves, the CMA Awards, and yes, the Grammies.

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The package includes 12 audio CDs (packed with 17 repeatable lessons, including both technique--the simple, yet powerful exercises, and style lessons for building vocal licks and trills); a workbook for illustration; and a DVD for visual reference and demonstration. It's a complete course - and it has a money-back guarantee!

Drop by for more details and start yourself on the road to improving your vocal chops today.

Music Reviews: Ivan Nossa

Ivan Nossa:

* J.J. Crowne

It's been pretty quiet this month for reviews. I suspect September is just one of those months where lots of folks (including the reviewers) are off taking care of business in preparation for a lot of different things upcoming (Halloween, kids back in school, the holiday season rapidly approaching, etc.)

Never fear! We'll have more reviews next month! And if you've been putting off sending in a CD yourself, this is your hint to send something in! :)

Click here for bios on each of the reviewers. If you're considering sending in your own CD for review, you can also view that page to find out which reviewer reviews your genre. Thanks!

Artist Spotlights:

Great music is only a click away!
Here is a selection of the great artists and bands highlighted
in the Artist Spotlight section of The Muse's Muse.


Little Miss Higgins - Genre: BLUES

Across The Plains, is the 4th full length album she's recorded. It was recorded in Winnipeg, Manitoba at Bedside Studio. She co-produced this album with fellow musician and producer Jaxon Haldane. The album is filled with all original songs. Lots of horns, muck-bucket bass, upright bass, wonderful percussion, guitar, mandolin, banjo, and even one song that is a acapella vocals accompanied by stompin' and clappin' and a sandalwood fan.  She won the 10th Annual Independent Music Award for Blues Album.



Dan has been spinning his haunting story songs in clubs and coffee houses from his home town of New Orleans all the way to Nashville. Often compared to Harry Chapin, Dan’s heartfelt tales will stay with you as the truth of his compelling lyrics take a hold of you. His unique blend of Americana/folk/soft rock will keep you coming back for more.

Songwriting Book Review By: Anastasia Karalekas


Anastasia is off this month, but will be back with a new review next month. Thanks for your patience, guys!



Anastasia Karalekas is a self-taught guitarist and music absorber.  When she is not learning, learning, learning, she spends her time writing fiction and poetry. After taking some private guitar lessons, her teacher encouraged her  to try putting some of her poems to music, and she's been writing songs ever since.

If you'd like *your* book reviewed (as long as it has something to do with songwriting, of course!), please do email us and let us know!

Sponsor Message:
(Many thanks to the sponsors that help support this newsletter!)


GMC is a video lesson archive & community. GMC has tons of helpful videos, instructors and lessons. GMC also features forum for chatting with teachers and students 24/7, recording collaborations, attending video chats + content for bass, drums, singing, piano etc. All genres and styles are covered - Rock, metal, shred, blues, jazz, country & acoustic, funk.. We want you to have fun while learning - so get rocking NOW!

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Musical Notes: Songwriting Contests & Market Info.

In the interest of conserving space, I will be including only changes to this listing in this newsletter. All other contests and market information that have already been listed here, are displayed at &
Please check there regularly for updates!


The Great American Song Contest features awards for 45 winners in 9 categories and provides $10,000 in Prizes. Entrants receive written song evaluations from music-industry judges, including publishers, music producers and recording artists. Open to songwriters, lyricists and composers around the world. Sponsored by Songwriters Resource Network, a trusted educational resource for songwriters everywhere. Submission deadline is October 28, 2011. For details, visit:


Michael McGarrah won top honors for his original song "Dancin' In the Bone Yard." First-Place category winners were Ken Feldman for "Living Together" (Acoustic/Folk); Daniel James Maguire MOG for "All Good" (Rock); Lynn & Russ Case "Jesus, Hope & Me" (Christian/Gospel); Kin Vassy & Kent Maxson for "Dirt" (Country); Tracy Newman for "Fire Up the Weed" (Special Category); Eric Roberts for "Children's Song" (Instrumental); Ariel Rose, Juan Vicente Zambrano & William J. Snihur, Jr. for "My Perfect Day" (Pop); Blänk for "Shirt Off" (HipHop/R&B) and Archie Brodsky for "Sunday Dinner Goin' Down" (Lyric Writing). You can hear these winning songs at the Great American Song Hall Of Fame at:


Award winning songwriter Jane Eamon is offering songwriting one on one classes via Skype. These sessions are one hour in length and can cover any topic you'd like to address. From writing, to critique, to ideas and games. Or just to share your thoughts and get feedback. If you're interested in a session contact to schedule a class.


VibeDeck is a free direct-to-fan music sales solution that's easy to use and quick to set up. All you need is your digital tracks, some album artwork and a PayPal account. When a fan buys your music, the money goes directly into your PayPal account so you can access it immediately. VibeDeck does not take a cut or charge a service subscription fee. It's truly free, easy and invaluable for any artist with music to share with the world. 

Sign-up in seconds!


MusikPitch is a brand new website where songwriters can find the latest opportunities from companies, studios, and individuals looking for custom songs. It's a straightforward marketplace, where you can get your music heard and win contracts, regardless of your experience and location. New projects are posted daily — from big name movie studios and company brands to non-profits and schools. Start browsing for great new opportunities today!


Pete and Pat Luboff are offering a special rate to Muse's Muse readers on a single song consultation: MM readers get a $5
discount by sending $15 via PayPal to instead of using the $20 single-song button on the site. Please email the songs to the same address (mp3 attachment with the lyrics in the body of the email - lyrics only are fine).
Response will be by email.


32,000 live music venues of all sizes are featured including clubs, bars, restaurants, lounges, coffee shops, theaters, halls, churches, book stores, community centers, house concerts and open mics. There are also 1,500 festivals listed as well as over 1,000 colleges for any artist that wants to plan a college tour.

Jumpstart your tour today! Click here for more information!

Muse's Clues - By John Brhel

©2011 John Brhel. All Rights Reserved.
Used By Permission

“All you need is love.”

--“All You Need Is Love,” The Beatles

When the Beatles premiered their single “All You Need Is Love” on June 25, 1967, they did so for an audience of 400 million. Superb songwriters that they were, the Fab Four couldn’t have written a more straightforward hook for the world than “All you need is love.” It was catchy, easy to remember and translatable to every language on earth. “All You Need Is Love” proves that great songs don’t require a PhD in English or a melody that outdoes Tchaikovsky.

If you want to write a great pop song, all you need is simplicity and a universal message. Just ask pro songwriter Bud Tower. This Nashville tunesmith has scored cuts with the likes of Lynyrd Skynyrd and Hank Williams, Jr., to name a few. In an article for American Songwriter, Tower evaluated 17 number one pop songs from 2010 using the popular Flesch-Kincaid readability test. If you haven’t heard of these types of tests before, they’re used by the military, schools, insurance companies and more to evaluate reader-friendliness of the written word.

For his research, Tower studied songs like Rihanna’s “What’s My Name” Pink’s “Raise Your Glass and Ke$sha’s “We R Who We R” to see if there is a mathematical formula to a number one hit. He broke songs down by the average number of words in sentences, number of complex words, characters per word, etc. What do you think he found? That today’s pop songs require a college reading level and mastery of the English language? Afraid not. Every song he studied, other than Eminem’s “Not Afraid” required a reading level at first grade or below. As long as you can comprehend Bill Martin’s classic children’s book “Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See?” you’ll apparently be able to understand The Black Eyed Peas’ “Imma Be.”

What did Tower determine from his results? Did he find that as long as you write really simple lyrics you’re guaranteed a hit? Can you just throw a bunch of one syllable words together and score a number one? Not quite. Tower found that being economical with words and syllables while providing a simple message is key in reaching your audience,. Whether top 40 music pleases your ears or leaves a bad taste in your mouth, one thing is certain: it takes craft to write something simple that resounds with millions. If you want to strike a chord with the listener, you need to write something one can walk away from humming without too much contemplation, a combination of lyric and melody that hooks the listener from the get-go.

Towers points out that writing songs and writing books are two different things. For the listener, a song is not something to mull over, something to spend days scrutinizing (unless you’re a weirdo like me.) Barring epic tunes like “Stairway to Heaven,” “Bohemian Rhapsody,” most pop songs are 3 or 4 minutes long at most. Think about this: You can microwave a couple of Hot Pockets in the time it takes to listen to “All You Need Is Love.” In the craft of songwriting, you’ve got to get your point across fast. Most people don’t sit around picking apart the idiosyncrasies of every line in a song like Rob Fleming from “High Fidelity.” Heck, I’m sitting here writing this while listening to 80s R&B group Atlantic Starr, the band’s lyrics drifting by without a flinch or second thought.

How would your lyrics/hooks score on the Flesch-Kincaid readability test? Look at the words you use, the number of syllables, etc., and do your best to figure out the ease and accessibility of your lyrics. If the readability of your lyrics is on par with James Joyce’s “Ulysses”, you might have trouble reaching your intended listeners. Are you being flowery with your language? Is there an overabundance of superfluous jargon in your prose? See what I mean? If you want to reach your audience, simplify. You can test the readability of your lyrics using the Flesh application. Flesh can analyze your lyrics and tell you the grade level and reading ease of your song.

Listen to “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’” by the Righteous Brothers. Its chorus is super easy to remember. Do you think this song, the most played in the 20th century, would be as memorable if songwriters Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil had written the following as a chorus: “When you depart from me sorrow abides, and happiness takes his leave”? While this line from Shakespeare’s “ Much Ado About Nothing” is beautiful and works well for its medium, it’d sound pretty clunky in a pop song. If you find yourself with a lyric that’d work better as a monologue or Master’s thesis, consider rewording it and making it more palatable for your listener.

While you may or may not be performing for 400 million people any time soon, consider the population at large when writing your lyrics. Think about the songs that strike you. Whether it’s Toni Basil’s “Mickey” or Bob Marley’s “Redemption Song,” the most memorable songs often hinge on simplicity, no matter the message.


John Brhel is a songwriter from upstate New York who wrote his first batch of pop songs before graduating from elementary school. A lover of all music, John writes country songs, plays in a punk band and spends a good deal of his free time listening to Diane Warren ballads. John regularly attends industry events in New York and Los Angeles and is a member of ASCAP and the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame. A lover of melody and the left-field chord change, John lives and breathes songs. He is always on the lookout for Skype cowriters.

Featured Article - By Brad Dunse

QUICK TIP: For Better, For Worse, For Rich, For Poor

One of the oldest social institutions known to man is marriage. Some folks are into it and some not, nonetheless there's billions of couples who've made a commitment to each other. And in most cultures, prior to the wedding is a time of dating, and prior to dating is an introduction. By now you might be checking the title of the newsletter to see if you are in fact reading one on songwriting. Well relax, you are.

Non-instrumental Songs in their finished form have lyrics and music. In their union together, similar to what we humans call marriage, songs have what is called prosody.  Prosody, or "good" prosody I should say, like a good marriage, is when the lyrics and the music complement each other.

Have you ever seen two people who were married that fought and argued all the time? Just two different people that somehow got hooked up but things don't seem to work to well? That's probably going to be called divorce at some point unless some tweaking is done. While it is true opposites attract, just like lyrics and music are pretty much opposites, written word and audible notes, they still have to peaceably co-exist in the same song for people to enjoy them.

When a song has what is called "good prosody", we find lyrics and music give off the same message and emotion. When poor prosody exists, we've got lyric and music that are at odds with each other.

For instance everybody's probably heard the song Your Smiling Face by James Taylor. Pull it up on the net and have a listen. As you do, sing the opening verse using the words below:

Whenever I see your crying face I want to cry myself because I loathe you
And when we start to holler and shout and you begin to pout
There's something about us babe, I don't know
Isn't it amazing a man like me just won't leave today?
Tell me how much longer I've got to put up with you this way?

Boy, are these two peeps in trouble or what? The song is too let me tell ya. I bet trying to sing those words to that song brought a smile to your face because it is so ridiculous to think James would ever write such a downer lyric to that infectious upbeat melody. It would have never made it out of his writing room let alone your radio.

Try one more? Jump on the net and pull up Bonnie Raitt's hit I Can't Make You Love Me.  We'll do just the opening verse using the below lyric. Ready?

Its Friday night, I'm pumped you can bet
Me and the boys muddin' trucks half to death
Jimmy caught air off that dune on the beach
 We pumped our fists while his GF shrieked

Ok now you get what I'm after. A high energy action lyric sung to a sad ballad. Almost feels like someone slowed the bit rate or RPMs down as you sung those words rite? So  it is very important when writing to have a play with some grooves and melodies, let them date a little while before you get them hooked up for good. Maybe like our first example they just don't get along, or maybe like the second one they could both shine but don't complement each other at all.

There are exceptions to this as in any songwriting rule of course and you'll usually find them in parody or humorous songs but if that isn't your target, hedge your bets by joining "this lyric and this music in holy matrimony" after they've proven to get along in a time of dating.

This month pay attention to the radio; see if you find some that don't quite seem to gel right? Were they humorous songs? There are a few non-humorous that have snuck through for various reasons, very likely an infectious melody like Billy Cyrus's Achy Breaky Heart. Not exactly a stellar lyric but an addictive dance groove back in the day and it didn't even matter what was sung to it. Check out some of your earlier tunes, maybe you can tweak them? Or maybe you found "Hey dude! I've got this prosody thing down!" Awesome!  Nonetheless it is imperative to keep prosody in mind and the more you write the more natural it will become.

Happy writing!


Brad Dunse is a performing songwriter based deep in the country's heartland reflecting sensitivity of daily living in his songs. Writing primarily in Folk, Country, Pop, or Americana, he occasionally writes CCM. Co-writer of The Wall, a tribute to Viet Vets receiving major market airplay, he's also received airplay on NPR, local public, independent, and web radio. He is a freelance writer, is board member of Minnesota Association of Songwriters, been member or involved in ASCAP, NSAI, SongU and other organizations. You can visit his web site at WWW.BRADDUNSEMUSIC.COM as well Add As Facebook Friend or Follow Him On Twitter.


Marty Panzer - Songwriter in Spotlight - by Virginia Emrick

Virginia interviews this outstanding Lyricist who after 30 plus years in the business, having worked with greats like Barry Manilow, Steve Dorff & Don Grady, is now offering master classes in Los Angeles and New York. 


Where To Find Highly Effective Guitar Practice Exercises - by Tom Hess

Follow this guitar practice advice to find the most effective guitar exercises for improving your guitar playing.


Plaster, Mortar, and Cement - by Bill Pere

A key element for making lyrics communicate effectively is the use of concrete references. Why are they important?  They make your lyric focused, clear and real, instead of vague and subject to misinterpretation.  And most importantly, seven out of every ten people in a general population prefer to give and receive information using concrete references.  So it's important to make sure you know what is and is not a concrete reference.


Secondary Dominant Chords - by Dan Rivers

(Surprise Chords-Money Chords) - Chords that contain notes out of the key signature. These chords will get your songs noticed. Before reading this, I suggest you review my article on Chord Pallets.

Classifieds & Useful Services


Indie-Music is seeking artist submissions for its prestigious annual Top 25 Awards. This exclusive competition features the best independent artists and songs in a year-long campaign which exposes their music to thousands of potential new fans and industry backers. Artists worldwide are invited to submit their music for placement on the website, which receives millions of hits every year. All genres welcome.


The Indie Bible shows you where to get your music reviewed, your songs played, and your CDs sold. Now in its Seventh Edition, The Indie Bible has 330 pages of valuable contacts and music-related articles.

The 11th Edition of the Indie Bible contains:
4200 publications around the world that will REVIEW your CD!
3400 radio stations around the world that will PLAY your songs!
500 vendors and services that will help you to SELL your music!
200 sites where you can UPLOAD your band's MP3 files!
500 helpful resources and sites where you can PROMOTE your band!
52 articles that will help your career to MOVE forward rapidly!

Listings include web, e-mail and physical address, as well as phone and fax numbers.

Click here for details and to order online.


Lyricist is the first-of-its-kind word processor designed specifically for musicians, songwriters, and poets. The software includes a Rhyming Dictionary, Thesaurus, Album Categorization, Chord Charting, Chord Generator, Song Arrangement, and On-Line Copyright Link.

The new version 3 release adds support for "Piano Style" chord symbols, Nashville Number System, and Transposition features - all in one easy-to-use package - and all for only $54.95! (That's $5.00 off to all Muse's News readers who purchase from the review link at!)

This tool will revolutionize the way you write and organize your writing.
Be the best songwriter you can be and purchase Lyricist today!


Inspired by the songwriter's journey, and through understanding the principles talked about in "THE SECRET", this audio program is specifically created for the songwriter based on those findings. Through Power of Thought and Understanding the Law of Attraction, you will have the tools, knowledge & ability to create the thoughts, experiences, and circumstances to be a phenomenally Successful Songwriter. Included is a guided meditation that is as passionate as it is empowering!

Muse's Muse Visitors - Enter Promo Code: 42567 for Discount.

Limited Introductory Offer of $12.95 for Digital Download Discounts for CD, and CD/Digital Download Combo shown on ordering page.

For Classifieds: US$50 Max. 7 lines (though I do make exceptions), where a line = 65 characters including spaces and punctuation. All contracts must be prepaid. Write to:

Click here for Newsletter Sponsorship rates and other advertising opportunities.

Contact Info & Credits

Jodi Krangle, Editor:

The Muse's News is a free monthly newsletter for and about songwriters. Subscribers are welcome to recirculate or reprint The Muse's News for nonprofit use as long as the appropriate credit is given and the ENTIRE text of the newsletter is included (including credits and information at the end of each issue). Others should contact me at All articles copyrighted by their authors.

Back issues and other information will be available here.

The Muse's News is part of The Muse's Muse, a web resource for songwriters.

For further information, send your e-mail to: - How to place a classified ad, pass on market information or sponsor The Muse's News. - How to subscribe or end your subscription. - To submit articles,reviews,ideas,etc.

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