Tom Petty

Making Your Melodies Easy For Listeners to Remember

In order for a melody to be successful, it needs to be easily remembered by a listener. If your melodies sound like aimless wandering, you’re going to have trouble building an audience for it. The best melodies out there are the ones that people can hum or sing, even if they aren’t great singers. When […]

Piano - songwriter - theory

Writing a Song With Unrelated Sections

You might assume that a verse should have some connection to the chorus that follows it — something that makes the verse and chorus sound like musical partners. Creating musical partners of various sorts is usually a goal in good songwriting. But (with the possible exception of the lyrics) it is possible to write a verse and […]

Foster the People

Identifying Your Song’s Climactic Moment

Most songs have a moment that can be identified as being its climactic moment. More often than not, it’s somewhere toward the end. Climactic moments are sometimes easy to identify: “Bridge Over Troubled Water” (Paul Simon): You can hear the song constantly building, and, like many songs, is really a series of climactic moments, each […]

Songwriter - guitarist

An Important Way That Chords-First Songwriting Can Let You Down

There is a lot to be said for the chords-first songwriting process, not the least of which is the fact that when you start vamping on a chord progression, a mood usually becomes quickly obvious. And once you’ve got the mood of the music, a topic will often be easier to settle on. And once […]

Singer-Songwriter

Making Verse Melodies Sound Better By Thinking Ahead to the Chorus

If one of your songwriting struggles is to get the verse and chorus melodies to sound like good musical partners, you may be surprised to find that the answer may not be to make them similar. Sometimes good verse-chorus partnerships happen when those two melodies have very different structural qualities. When it comes to making […]

Catfish and the Bottlemen

Pacing Your Chord Changes to Create Musical Energy

We use the term harmonic rhythm to describe the rate that chords change when compared to the number of melody notes. So let’s say you’ve written a song where the melody is primarily a stream of 8th notes. If you’re not sure what that means, think of the verse (and that prominent intro bass line) of […]