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The Muse's News
The Muse's News
The Muse's News
An E-zine For And About Songwriters.
Issue 15.8
November 2012

In This Issue:
* Editor's Musings
* Music Reviews - Cyrus Rhodes
* 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: The Answer to the Most Asked Songwriting Question Ever by Brad Dunse
* On Site Featured Article - An article (or articles) 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!WRITE BETTER SONGS WITH MASTERWRITER 2.0 - 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:

I unfortunately have some very sad news to report this month, folks. Suzanne Glass, the founder of , passed away the week of October 22nd after a battle with cancer. There's more information on this along with comments from various people paying their respects on the blog.

I was really sad to hear this news. Personally, I had no idea she was even sick, but I get the feeling I wasn't the only one in the dark about it and I understand that such things are very private between the person fighting the battle and their closest loved ones. I knew Suzanne mostly in passing through a few emails every now and again when we would cross-promote our websites. She was a sweet, generous person from what I knew of her and our corner of the web is left a little less bright without her. I hope you'll go to the website and pay your respects if you knew her - or knew of her and her contribution to the independent music scene. She was a very special lady.

In other news, there are only a couple of raffle winners this month - which means that those of you who have neglected to write to me up until now, are missing out. There's lots of raffle prizes to give away. So if you want one, follow the instructions below and write to me already! :)

The raffle winners this month are:

  • Steve Bills from St. Marys, WV, has won a downloadable version of Rhyme Genie, a dynamic rhyming dictionary featuring over 300,000 entries and 30 different rhyme types.

  • Richard Thomsen from Vadnais Heights, MN, has won a ZEEDIS, pocket-sized, circular slide rule for finding the notes of chords, scales, modes and also for finding diatonic triads of scales/modes, instantly and easily. Thanks,! What a great tool!

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.)

Make every day count, my friends.

All the best,


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


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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: Cyrus Rhodes


Cyrus Rhodes:

* Raina Krangle
* Robbie Dupree
* These Curious Thoughts
* Roxy Randle
* Chris Riffle

* Mouthful of Daisy

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.


Fred Frees - Genre: NOVELTY

Comedy songs of Christmas, from the mouth of voice actor, Fred (son of Paul) Frees. There aren’t enough comedy songs for Christmas. Certainly not enough involving slapping, farting, waiting hours for your wife, giving your son the present he doesn’t want, thieving Santas, and zombies. And much, much less.

Raina Krangle - Genre: SINGER/SONGWRITER

A singer-songwriter for over 20 years, Raina is a self-taught musician with a fresh folk-rock vibe. The soon to be released CD is a compilation of her songs over the last 20 years. Raina has heartfelt lyrics and a soulful voice that soothes your ears and makes you want to keep listening. Stay tuned for her new release- Solstice.
Have a read through Cyrus Rhodes' review here on The Muse's Muse.

Songwriting Book Review By: Anastasia Karalekas

Chord Dice
"To Rock, Just Roll" ©

When I truly love a product, I want to shout it out at the top of my lungs and share it with everyone I know. This is one of those. My fellow songwriters: get the Chord Dice. It’s an amazing product. But I guess that’s too short for a review, right? So let me elaborate.

As songwriters, we don’t have many tools. Every time I sit down to write a song, I have my necessities – guitar, notepad, my favorite pencil (sure, I bet you don’t have one of those). Add my new set of chord dice, and my songwriting toolkit is now complete.

The chord dice are a set of five eight-sided dice with chords printed on each side. You simply roll them, and since they’re all in the key of something (mine are in the key of G major), no matter what chords you roll, they all sound great together. (At the moment, I believe they only come in the key of G and C.)

My songwriting sessions used to consist of throwing a dart at my circle of fifths, and then working my way around a chord progression that I was happy with. I usually got bored before I could write a song using this method. Other more successful methods are to strum some chords that I know sound good together, and write a melody from there. This works, however I always end up using the same chords over and over and over again.

With these little gems, I can get up to five chords that sound good together. I can use all five for my song, or choose as many as I want. If I’m not feeling a melody from the chord progression I’ve rolled, well, I just roll again. One, two… or all five of them.

Such a simple tool. My songwriting sessions have now become so much more fruitful, and my songs have more depth. These dice allow me to broaden my creativity’s horizons, stepping out of my comfort zone. The chords are suggested to me, and I decide on the sequence, the strumming pattern, and let loose on the melody. I love these dice. I think every songwriter should have a set. I can’t say that enough times.

As always, we are raffling off a set, so if you want to try these out for yourself, submit your name to be entered in the draw. (Instructions at the top of the newsletter.) And if you don’t win, they’re worth every penny, here at



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 (when I need to), 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 $10,000 in Prizes and provides awards for 50 winners in 10 songwriting genres. Entrants receive written song evaluations from music-industry judges, including publishers, music producers and recording artists. This event is open to songwriters, lyricists and composers everywhere. Sponsored by Songwriters Resource Network, a trusted educational resource for songwriters everywhere. Submission deadline is October 31, 2012. For details, visit:


The New York City Chapter of NSAI is hosting a 1 day Jason Blume Songwriting Workshop on Dec. 2nd. Topics will include Lyric Techniques to Communicate What’s In Your Heart, Crafting Melodies That Listeners Can’t Forget, and selected participants’ song critiques. Muse's Muse members receive the members discount. Sign up before 11/10 and receive an additional discount. For full details, go to:


The San Francisco Chapter of the Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI) will present a two-day songwriting workshop with hit songwriter/publisher/best-selling author Jason Blume at the Musician’s Union on November 3rd and 4th. Muse's Muse members receive the members discount. For full details, go to:


Getting great gigs, building your audience and selling more merchandise is exactly what your career is all about. This online course is jam-packed with 12 hours of downloadable audio mp3s and PDF Action Guides. There are 5 modules: Module 1: Tour Goals & Planning Strategies, Module 2: Routing Your Tours, Module 3: Negotiation Techniques & Contracts, Module 4: Working with Presenters, Bookers, Promoters/Advancing the Date, Module 5: Targeting Your Markets for Maximum Audiences. Plus 2 hours of bonus classes, BONUS #1: Website Maximizer-Is you’re your Website Selling You? Learn how. BONUS #2: Copy Writing: How to write fan emails, press releases and other promo copy that get responses. Bonus # 3: Three free Industry Biz Booster Monthly Mentor Interviews. And finally, weekly call-in office hours to talk with former agent, manager, author, creator, Jeri Goldstein directly, about the course and your career. Booking & Touring Success Strategies & Secrets gives you artist-tested, step-by-step strategies to help you reach your career goals and make all of your tours profitable.


We are music based promotion experts with the solutions, services and support to help you optimize the success of your promotion strategies. Our services capitalize on intelligent and proven forms of promotion to achieve maximum awareness building for your music. Within our first year of business, Music Clout has placed artists in over 1,000 different music industry opportunities including deals with record labels, publishing and licensing, radio stations, blogs, and many more.


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.


Hooktheory is a free resource that can show you how to integrate basic music theory into your songwriting process, making it easier to write catchy chord progressions and melody. Hooktheory currently consists of three main areas:
1. The Hookbook demonstrates basic principles of music theory and how they relate to popular music. It's filled with multimedia-rich content explaining musical concepts synchronized to real songs so you can hear what you are learning and make connections easier.
2. The Music Editor lets you write chord progressions in Roman Numeral notation and listen to them in any key. Add a melody, save your work, share it with friends, or export it to Garageband, sheet music, or guitar tab.
3. The Analysis Wiki is a user-generated collection of analyses of popular songs. Look up the chord progression and melody of a song, or use the music editor to create your own analyses.
Check it out now!


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

©2011-2012 John Brhel. All Rights Reserved.
Used By Permission

“How do you do what you do to me? I wish I knew
If I knew how you do it to me I'd do it to you.”

“How Do You Do It?” - Gerry and the Pacemakers

“How Do You Do It?” Ahh, what a catchy little Merseybeat ditty. It was, in fact, Liverpudlian pop group Gerry and the Pacemakers’ first hit single. Funny, I always thought that it was made popular by that other Liverpudlian pop group with the charming Ringo fellow.

The central idea of “How Do You Do It?” ties in directly with the essence of this week’s songwriting website. How often do you wonder how they (hit songwriters) do it? How often do you think about what makes a song a hit and what makes another a forgotten waste of countless hours writing and recording?

If you’re like me, a songwriter who’s spent years trying to craft memorable pop songs, you think about this stuff a lot. If you’re really like me, you listen to a lot of pop music and rack your brain wondering how songs as varied as “The Way You Make Me Feel” and “She Loves You” (there’s that moptop group again) became such huge hits. You know because they’re awesome songs (IMO) that make you want to sing in the shower, tap your feet in your cubicle, etc. But what if there were something more?

That Frankie Goes to Hollywood and Neil Young can both score big hits pretty much erases any notion of a guaranteed pop formula, amiright? Visit <a href="">Hit Songs Deconstructed</a> and you might think otherwise. This new songwriting website offers in-depth analysis of the most popular songs of today and yesteryear. Founders Dave Penn and Yael Penn, experts in music and marketing, break down today’s most popular songs and musical trends by month and quarter in an attempt to give amateur songwriters direction in crafting their own hits.

Every month, Hit Songs Deconstructed does just that: breaks down top charting hits to their very core -- melody, lyrics, production, instrumentation, etc. The site’s founders dissect each song to give “insight how you can apply these principals to help take your songwriting to the next level.” For example, they recently deconstructed Taylor Swift’s “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” and Pink’s “Blow Me (One Last Kiss). As a fan of both Swift and Pink, this sort of analysis sparks my interest. Hey, even if you’re into underground lo-fi antifolk, you might learn something as well.

Dave Penn also offers insight on classic pop songs in the aptly named “Penn’s Picks.” Past picks include “The Chain” and “She Bop.” Sure, Skrillex and Bruno Mars might seem worlds apart from Fleetwood Mac and Cyndi Lauper, but they’re still writing songs using the same elements: melody, rhythm, etc.

If you’re interesting in finding out how popular songs that start with a chorus were this past summer, you can find out by signing up for Hit Songs Deconstructed. On top of individual song analyses, the site offers quarterly reports on popular music trends. So, if you’re wondering whether or not that saxophone solo in your new tune will go over, a quick look at the quarterly report might help you decide. In my opinion, sax solos are always appropriate.

Hit Songs Deconstructed doesn’t stop at reports and song breakdowns. If you’re looking for some professional feedback on your tunes and/or career advice, the Penns offer song and artist development. For a fee, you can work one-on-one with David Penn, who will guide you through two rewrites of your song.

Most of the site’s content is available via a free membership package. This includes the #1 Hits Of The World Report, The US #1 Hits Report, and Penn’s Picks. Access to more in-depth content (special reports, Hit Songs Deconstructed reports) is going to cost you $9.99 per month. If you’re a struggling, Taco Bell-every-night kind of songwriter and can’t afford the entry fee from the get-go, the site does offer a four-week free trial of its paid package.

No report can determine whether or not one song is going to be a hit and another a local car dealership jingle. I mean, who could have ever predicted Crash Test Dummies’ “Mmmm Mmmm Mmmm Mmmm” would be a hit? It can’t hurt, however, to know what’s working and what’s not. I mean, I don’t really suggest pitching an entire album of ska songs, but then again who knows? Hit Songs Deconstructed is a great go-to if you’re interested in what makes today’s pop songs tick and what today’s average pop listener is into.

If you’re wondering, like Gerry and those lovable Pacemakers, how “they” do it, check out Hit Songs Deconstructed. Now, time to go listen to this Fab Four my friends keep gushing about.


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: The Answer to the Most Asked Songwriting Question Ever

The last note of the song rings out into the Minneapolis sunset over Lake Harriet, the crowd's applause chases the fading bits of the note over the lake behind the band shell, I thank the crowd of summertime park goers for coming out, and to have an awesome evening.

Stepping down off the platform with my guitar, I'm met by some very kind folks expressing their appreciation of my music. I smile, nod, shake their hand in gratitude... and then I wait for it.

I know it will come out sooner or later, all I have to do is keep the original music conversation alive and it will be there.

"Can I ask you a question?” They’ll say.

“Here it comes,” I’ll think to myself…

"So, when you sit down to write a song, do you write lyrics or music first?"

Relief, it arrives. To that I'll answer, "Yes," which always crooks their smile.

We've been programmed for orderly progression our whole life. We start at the beginning of the book. We show up to work at the beginning of our shift... well we're supposed to anyway, right? We meet someone, and subconsciously shake their hand. Everything has its proper starting point and progression, so I guess it's natural for people to wonder which we'll start with when writing a song.

For the most part songs have two main dimensions, words and music; people get curious which is the right way to start a song. This is a question new writers have as they let loose into their creativity.

I believe most writers can start with either, but I also think there is likely a personal favorite.

For me, more often than not I'll sit down with a guitar, come out with a groove, riff, or progression, then just play with it and off I go.

I remember the first real songwriting instructional I went to in Nashville, the pro writer at the front of the room said, "Sometimes I'll just start with vowel sounds, non-words or gibberish that doesn't really make any sense, and before you know it I'm off with the song."

That was the most freeing thing I'd heard, because that's exactly what I was doing, but too embarrassed to admit it at the time.

Some folks need to have structure: a direction, a topic, a sense of what the lyrics are saying and how they say it. For them, that will dictate what they'll play or what they'll look for in music and genre.

Others need to have the feeling of the music: major or minor chords, fast or slow tempo, rockin’ or easy groove; happy, sad, serious or humorous sounding. Often times a hook line, title, or phrase will emerge from the music almost magically.

I write in either, but personally favor the music first method. Why?

I have always been and still am, a groove minded person. When I hear a song, I am first drawn to the groove, rhythm, riffs, syncopation and feel of the tune. Sadly, I don't even hear the lyrics the first time or two unless I force myself to.

This caused me to work seriously on my lyric skills early on in my writing, to bring them up to speed with the groove side of me.

Maybe you are the same, or the complete opposite. I know tons of writers that are lyric based and probably don't even hear the way the drums and lyric delivery work together for a cool syncopation. They are focused on the meaning, they use of words, the theme.

There is no wrong way to write them. Write them with lyrics first, music first, or both simultaneously. Write them with a guitar, a piano, a kazoo, or no instrument. Write them with white socks on, blue socks on, no socks on. Write them in whatever way that brings out the best of your creativeness and the song itself.

Look, songs have many dimensions, textures, flavors and hues to them; and whatever you feel is right for you to get one going, is right for you.


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.


Musicians - The Real Cost of Cheap Graphic Design
- by Draven Grey

We’re all on a tight budget.  Have you considered these things before paying for graphic design for your cd?


Classifieds & Useful Services


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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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