Rush

Considering the Note Your Melody Starts On

How much thought do you give to the note you choose to start your song melodies on? It may seem trivial because from that first note you can move in any direction you want, and so it may not feel as though it matters a whole lot, once you’re a few notes in. But I […]

Rolling Stones

A Rare Tonic Note Creates Forward Motion in Your Songs

The tonic note is the one that represents the key of your song, and it has the main quality of feeling like “home”. When a tonic note happens, it sounds as if a musical phrase has, even just temporarily, ended, and the next one can begin. That’s a good reason why the tonic note happens […]

Piano and guitar - chords

What To Do With a Song Chorus That Isn’t Working

Let’s say you’ve come up with a hook that you think should be something that works well as the main flag-waving part of your chorus. So then you set about to write a verse that leads into that chorus. But once that’s done, and you play the verse and chorus in sequence, you find that the […]

Beach Boys - Vocals

Creating Good Backing Vocals For Your Song Recordings

Backing vocals, when they’re done well, can give your song a professional sheen. When they’re done poorly — out of tune, or not well written — no one wants to hear that. It’s not really possible to solve the problem of writing or performing good backing vocals (BVs) in one blog post, so I’ll do […]

Fleetwood Mac - Don't Stop

Song Melodies: Thinking About Your Starting Note

Because good songwriting usually starts with improvising ideas based on your instincts, you may not have given much thought to what note your tunes start on. The chord you choose, in most circumstances anyway, limits your choices to 3 notes: the root, the 3rd or the 5th. Understandably, there’s no rule that governs what the […]

John Newman - Love Me Again

How to Take a Verse Idea and Create a Great Chorus

A lot of the time, the musical ideas you conjure up will be chorus ideas, because it’s often easier to think up short, “hooky” fragments that will serve as a good chorus. They’re the kind of musical ideas that are short, repeatable, singable, and generally fun to perform. But sometimes a musical idea will pop […]