Phil Collins

Must All My Melody Notes Fit the Chords?

As you know, you can strum a chord for quite a number of bars, and the melody that you sing over that chord will usually feature a lot of different notes. Sometimes, the various notes of a melody might actually come from the chord itself. For example, “Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone” (Norman Whitfield, Barrett […]

Melody-first songwriting

What’s Better: Melody First, or Chords First Songwriting?

The title of this blog post sounds like a trick question, because you’d probably think that I’m going to say, “Neither is best – it’s whatever suits the musical ideas rolling around in your mind at any given time.” That, of course, is logically the best answer. But for me, I’ve always found melody-first songwriting […]

Bruce Springsteen

Audiences Don’t Remember Notes — They Remember Patterns

If you look at the number of different notes that any one good melody uses, you might be surprised by how few there are. For many songs, most of the notes will be from one octave, and often less. In a song like “Hound Dog”, most of the song is comprised of 3 or 4 […]

Lang Lang, piano

…And On the Other Hand…

A few days ago I wrote a post in which I talked about the chords-first method of songwriting (“Giving Your Melodies Some Shape in the Chords-First Songwriting Process“), and warning of the main pitfall of this process: the ignored and uninteresting melody that might result. As in all things in songwriting, you can find exceptions […]

Chords-First Songwriting

Giving Your Melodies Some Shape in the Chords-First Songwriting Process

There’s an inherent danger in writing songs by starting with the chords, which is that the melody can get a bit static and uninteresting. You may have come up with a chord progression you really like, but when you try to add a melody to that, you often find yourself stuck on one or two […]

Songwriting: Melody and lyrics

Finding a Great Melody By Experimenting With How You Say Your Lyric

Lyrics and melodies go hand in hand when you’re writing songs. In truth everything needs to partner up well in order for a song to sound great, but that particular partnership between lyrics and melody is perhaps one of the most crucial ones. But how do you ensure that your melody is properly supporting both the […]