Shawn Mendes

Building a Sense of Anticipation in Your Melodies

Recently I wrote about the musical power that comes from starting progressions on a chord other than the tonic chord. By avoiding the tonic, the listener subconsciously wants to hear it, and so it creates a very powerful sense of musical energy: the listener is willing to wait to hear the tonic eventually happen. Songwriters […]

Music concert microphone

Imagining Song Melodies

Writing the chorus part of a song is usually a very different process than writing the verse part. With choruses, you’re usually coming up with a little package of music — some chords, a backing rhythm, a catchy melodic bit and then some lyrics. That musical package is what we call the chorus hook, and […]

Haim - Summer Girl

When In Doubt, Repeat

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. Does it ever feel to you that you’re might be trying too hard to write a song? You could […]

John Lennon

Song Melody Tricks We Can Take From “Norwegian Wood”

“Use Your Words! Developing a Lyrics-First Songwriting Process” is FREE with your purchase of “The Essential Secrets of Songwriting 10-eBook Bundle. $37 USD. Immediate Download. The melody for John Lennon’s “Norwegian Wood” is a beauty. There’s really not much to it, but you can argue that the best song melodies are like that: unassuming, almost […]

Adele

The Structure of Good Verse Melodies

It’s hard to think about song melodies without also thinking about the chords that we put underneath them. They go hand in hand. Historically (as in hundreds of years ago) music was all about the melody. Eventually (in the early 1600s) it was melody and bass line, with chords starting to fill in the middle. […]

Rush - Spirit of Radio

Comparing Vocal and Instrumental Melodies

In theory, there shouldn’t be a lot of difference between a melody that’s meant to be sung and one that’s meant to be played. Particularly in the pop genres, both kinds of melodies will usually display the following characteristics: The melody will usually move mainly by step (i.e., adjacent notes in a scale) with occasional […]