Tunesmith: Inside the Art of Songwriting

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Overview

Jimmy Webb has given the American song book more hits, in more styles, than any other songwriter of his generation. He is also the only artist to ever receive Grammy Awards for music, lyrics, and orchestration. The wunderkind of pop music, Webb became the hottest songwriter around when, starting at age twenty-one, he wrote a string of hits recorded by Glen Campbell ("By the Time I Get to Phoenix," "Galveston"), The 5th Dimension ("Up, Up and Away"), and Richard Harris ("MacArthur Park"). Now, Jimmy Webb uses the ...
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Tunesmith: Inside the Art of Songwriting

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Overview

Jimmy Webb has given the American song book more hits, in more styles, than any other songwriter of his generation. He is also the only artist to ever receive Grammy Awards for music, lyrics, and orchestration. The wunderkind of pop music, Webb became the hottest songwriter around when, starting at age twenty-one, he wrote a string of hits recorded by Glen Campbell ("By the Time I Get to Phoenix," "Galveston"), The 5th Dimension ("Up, Up and Away"), and Richard Harris ("MacArthur Park"). Now, Jimmy Webb uses the grace and eloquence that have characterized his lyrics to write Tunesmith, the ultimate book for aspiring songwriters - the first ever with such an insider's knowledge and experience. With a combination of anecdotes, meditations, humor, and advice, Webb breaks down the entire process of creating a song from beginning to end, including coping with writer's block, song construction, rhyme schemes, chord progression, and the art of collaboration. He then goes beyond the techniques of song crafting and the realms of creativity to shed light on the machinations of marketing yourself, selling a song, and coping with big business, be it in Hollywood, Nashville, or on Broadway. Webb also provides a glimpse into the inner circle of the professional music world, sharing tales from friends and close associates, including Nanci Griffith, Stephen Sondheim, Burt Bacharach, and Michael Stipe.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The only artist to receive Grammy Awards for music, lyrics and orchestration, Webb has written many of the most memorable songs performed by the Fifth Dimension "Up, Up and Away", Donna Summer "MacArthur Park" and Amy Grant "If These Walls Could Speak", among others. Here he seeks to impart the tools of the trade to songwriters "who may be attempting the delicate transition from amateur to professional." Covering technical matters from basic chord theory and rhyme schemes to the protocol of pitching songs, Webb draws on a trove of personal anecdotes from a career spanning more than two decades. In addition to salient comments on today's music scene, Webb cites numerous examples from the past and includes sections on writing for the stage and film. Of greatest value, perhaps, are the exercises suggested for developing song ideas, which will help anyone stumbling through a period of writer's block. While Webb's fans will revel in the behind-the-scenes details of his career and a candid view of his artistic process, others may wish that the asides, finger pointing at arrogant co-writers and Webb's own pet peeves e.g., no-talent spouses who insist on songwriting credits on their partner's records had been left out. And Webb's nuts-and-bolts approach somehow undercuts every songwriter's need for that spark of absolute inspiration. For those interested in the latter, Songwriters on Songwriting: The Expanded Version Da Capo, 1997, a collection of interviews between editor Paul Zollo and a variety of songwriters, including Webb, is the ticket. Sept.
New York Daily News
Tunesmith may be the most interesting book ever written on songwriting. . . . The sections on writing lyrics are riveting. . . . Itís for anyone who enjoys words.
Albany Times Union
Tunesmith [is] an eminently readable master class in songwritingóone that will thrill aspiring composers and lyricists, yet still interest the general reader.
Variety
[A] persuasive and scholarly tome on the art of songwriting. . . . Itís a comprehensive volume that journeys generously from Victor Herbert to rap.
Musician
Perhaps the finest book about songwriting of our time.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780786861316
  • Publisher: Hyperion
  • Publication date: 9/16/1998
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 448
  • Product dimensions: 6.50 (w) x 9.50 (h) x 1.32 (d)

Meet the Author

A minister's son from Eld City, Oklahoma, Jimmy Webb has been writing songs for over twenty-five years. The only artist to receive Grammy Awards for music, lyrics, and orchestration, he is a member of the National Academy of Popular Music Songwriters' Hall of Fame and the Nashville Songwriters' Hall of Fame. According to BMI, his song "By the Time I Get to Phoenix" is the third most-performed song in the last fifty years, with "Up, Up and Away" on the same list in the Top Thirty. Jimmy Webb lives in New York State. For more information, visit Jimmy Webb's official website: www.jimmywebb.com.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 3, 2013

    Excellent book! Great insight into song writing!

    Excellent book! Great insight into song writing!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 21, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

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