Ten Commandments of Songwriting

These are not the


They are, however, rather significant observations made, not by Moses‘ musical director, but
by Dr. Louis Anthony deLise

Many, many very successful songs in popular styles…

  1. Have a melody and lyric that are its principal focus,
  2. Have musical phrases that are balanced,
  3. Have musical phrases that are in even groups of measures—most often in multiples of four,
  4. Have a melody that is borne out of and supported by a harmonic accompaniment (chords),
  5. Have a melody and accompaniment that is tonal,
  6. Have chords that progress in a logical manner—the chord roots progress
    • Along a major or minor scale, or
    • Around the circle of fourths, or
    • Progress in diatonic thirds, or
    • Combine some aspects of all three harmony/chord pattern techniques
  7.  Have lyrics that employ vernacular language,
  8. Have a lyric that expresses a single message; all lyrics support that single message,
  9. Have an underlying rhythmic ostinato that is based on some kind of popular dance,
  10. Have melodic, harmonic and rhythmic variety, (There is however a consistency of all three elements that supports the identity of the song.),
  11. Have a succinct and memorable melodic and lyrical hook, and
  12. Can be easily performed without extensive production or arrangement (e.g., piano or guitar and voice).

Learn more about Songwriting…

Order your copy of The Professional Songwriter:
Songwriting, Recording and Making Money with Your Music
by Louis Anthony deLise, D.M.A.

Recent credits include…

  • Number 1 Album The Gospel According to Patti LaBelle (Arranger and Conductor)
  • Top 20 Album Timeless Journey (Patti LaBelle) (Arranger and Conductor)
  • Top 10 single Homeby the band SPiN

Latest releases…

  • “Inseparable” Megan Rose (Philly Nouveau Records/BBE Records, England)
  • “Your Kiss” Josi Davis (from the album, Love/Rain; Philly Nouveau Records)
  • “He” and “Faces” Lyz King (Philly Nouveau Records)
  • “Wreckage in the Dust” Bruce McFarland (Philly Nouveau Records)
  • “J’Ouvert” John Gibbs dance re-mix by Lord Echo (EM Records, Japan)
  • Steel Funk John Gibbs (re-release, EM Records, Japan)
  •  Action Moves People United (UNESCO special product)
  • “Trinidad” John Gibbs dance re-mix by Masaya Nakahara (EM Records, Japan)

Additional recording credits include arranging & conducting for Halestorm, Robert Hazzard, Bunny Sigler, William DeVaughn and many others!

Sideman on recordings or concert performances with Paul Shaffer, Eric Bazillian, Babyface, Sheila E., Carlos Santana, Henry Mancini, Tony Bennett and many others.

Dr. deLise has taught theory, songwriting and film scoring at Temple University’s Boyer College of Music, is listed in Who’s Who in America and sits on the Board of Governors of the Recording Academy (The Grammy Organization, NARAS).

Warner Brothers, Bocage Music Publishing and Print Music Source publish his compositions in print.

His label credits include Mercury, Casablanca, Vanguard, MGM (Australia), EMI, Centaur, BBE, EM and Flexatone records.