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 […]

Louis Armstrong

What Makes Good Song Melodies Memorable?

A key part of success when it comes to song melodies is writing something that audiences easily remember. If it’s possible to consider beauty and memorability as two separate entities, it’s worth spending a bit of time thinking about a) what makes melodies beautiful, and b) what makes them easy to remember. You’re going to […]

Ben Folds

Shaping the Melody In a Verse-Without-Chorus Song

How do you create a melody that works well in verse-only songs? Are they structured differently from verse melodies that lead to choruses? The short answer to the second question is ‘yes’ — at least most of the time. Whether you look at classic rock examples of verse-chorus tunes (“The Night They Drove Old Dixie […]

Taylor Swift - Our Song

Repeated Notes in a Melody, and Their Impact on an Audience

If you were to ask for a generic definition from the average layperson for a melody, they’d probably come up with something like: “A series of notes that move up and down.” You’d then remind them that backing vocals also comprise a series of notes that move up and down, and that’s when we start […]

Singer - Songwriter

No One Remembers Notes

When it comes to creating beautiful song melodies, the actual notes you use isn’t all that important. No one remembers notes, because no one knows what notes you’re using in the first place. What people remember are shapes and rhythms. Knowing how to get a melody working well with the chords and lyrics is a crucial part […]

Bruno Mars

Making Song Melodies Memorable and Singable

There is an important aspect of a good song melody that the average listener is not much aware of: shape. Good melodies need an engaging shape — something that is memorable, enticing, and (at least relatively) easy to sing. In fact, song melodies need even more. They need to partner with a lyric so that […]