Faith Hill

Moving a Chorus Range Up an Octave For Musical Power

Back in 2000, Faith Hill had the number 1 country tune and pop single of the year with “Breathe” (Stephanie Bentley, Holly Lamar). It’s hard to believe that it’s been twenty-one years since that song hit the charts! “Breathe” is a great example of a song where the range of the chorus notes is approximately […]

The Chieftains

It Doesn’t Take Much

Every once in a while I write a blog post that refers to the importance of repetition in music, and how song melodies without repetition are problematic because they’re hard to remember. We already know the power and need for repetition in music when it comes to basic elements like the backing rhythms. Most songs […]

Sting - The Police

There’s a Benefit to Writing Song Melodies That Use Few Notes

When I listen to a song that’s spent a good deal of time at the top of the charts, I’m often amazed by how simple its structure is, how simple the chords are, and how few notes the melody actually uses. Sure, there are the exceptions. Elton John’s songs, for example, tend to use long […]

Moon Taxi

Repeating a Short Melodic Fragment: The Chords Keep it Interesting

There’s more to a song hook than meets the ear… a lot more. “Hooks and Riffs: How They Grab Attention, Make Songs Memorable, and Build Your Fan Base” is a vital manual for any serious songwriter. American indie rock group Moon Taxi’s 2015 single “All Day, All Night” is a good reminder that you can […]

Piano and guitar - songwriter

Melody-First Songwriting Means You Need to Have a Good Grasp of Chords

If you take a look back — way back — into the history of music composition, you’ll discover that writing music meant writing melodies. If you listen to something written in, say, around 1550, you’ll hear several melodies being sung together, harmonizing with each other, but not purposely creating chord progressions. The chords were incidental; chords […]

Singer-songwriter-guitarist

How to Write Song Melodies that Connect With Your Audience

For some songwriters, songwriting seems to be all about writing a great melody. Paul McCartney, Joni Mitchell, Paul Simon, Barry Gibb — these are all songwriters for whom the success of their songs is often easily attributable to the quality of the melodies they write. I mention this, because not all great songs need to […]