Andy Grammar

The Repeatable Quality of Great Chorus Hooks

In the pop music genres, a great chorus is a self-contained unit. It doesn’t need a verse in order to work, musically speaking; it will work on its own. That’s certainly not to say that a chorus is all you need, or that a verse serves no useful purpose. In most songs, if all you […]

Sting - Every Breath You Take

After Verse and Chorus Chords, What To Do About the Bridge?

Most pop songs, and all the related genres such as folk, country, etc., use simple, strong chord progressions. In fact, when you go back and look at complex prog rock tunes from the early to mid-seventies, you might be surprised to see that chord choice is not nearly as adventurous as you might think. Complex […]

Adele - Someone Like You

Checking and Comparing Verse and Chorus Melody Range

For many songwriters, getting a catchy melody for your song happens as the result of improvising melodic ideas over a chord progression. If that’s your normal process, it’ll usually work well for you. But improvising ideas should always be seen as a first step to getting a final version of a melody that really works. […]

John Legend

Using Opposite Approaches For Your Verse and Chorus

As listeners of music, we like to hear contrasting ideas as a song progresses, even if we’re not consciously aware of it. In songwriting, a contrasting idea might mean something like this: one part of a melody that’s harmonized mainly with minor chords, followed by a section harmonized with mostly major ones. Contrast in a […]

Bruno Mars - Uptown Funk!

Songs Without a Focal Point Will Quickly Fail

If you’re a successful landscape artist or photographer, you know the vital importance of a focal point. That’s the feature that immediately draws the viewer’s eye and establishes the artwork’s main subject. Without a focal point, you’ve got a painting or photo that looks fine but keeps the viewer endlessly searching for purpose. Like staring at […]

Imogen Heap Recording Tital

A Powerful Way To Plan An Entire Song

If you are a fan of the music of J.S. Bach, you might know that he often took the shape of a small melodic fragment, and then planned for the entire piece of music to also adopt that shape. Here’s how that might work. If you listen to the beginning of Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. […]