This article originally appeared on Educated Songwriter.
While there isn't an official songwriting rulebook, there are quite a few tried-and-true songwriting conventions that over time have essentially become rules. In almost all instances, these "rules" are there because they tend to make songs more commercial or catchy or both. That being said, breaking these rules can be a very effective tool, assuming it's done with the full understanding that you are doing so. In other words, breaking the rules by accident doesn't count and can often result in a song that isn't as effective as it could be. In this article, I'm going to walk you through the when, how, and why of breaking the rules of popular songwriting.