Music concert microphone

Using the Direction of Your Melodies to Create Musical Contrast

You may not have considered the up-or-down direction of your song melodies as being all that important, but it can go a long way to adding structure and musical interest to your song. Specifically, contrasting upward-moving phrases with downward-moving ones can be an aspect of musical contrast that keeps listeners listening. What I’m about to […]

Singer - songwriter

Why Chorus Melodies Are Usually Higher Than Verse Melodies

Good music isn’t determined by adherence to rules; it’s more a case that the best songs are guided by certain musical principles. One of those guiding principles is that chorus melodies should normally be pitched higher than verse melodies. “Hooks and Riffs: How They Grab Attention, Make Songs Memorable, and Build Your Fan Base” describes […]

Paul McCartney - John Lennon

The Differences Between Lennon’s and McCartney’s Melodies

Generalizing any aspect of a songwriter’s output is straying into dangerous territory. That’s particularly true of the music of Lennon and McCartney. They were arguably the most versatile writers of pop song of their generation, and probably even now. As soon as they wrote a hit, it was back to the drawing board to come […]

Paul McCartney

When the Verse Melody Becomes the Bridge

Here’s something interesting: the melody that Paul McCartney uses as his verse melody for “You Never Give Me Your Money” (“Abbey Road” album) serves, for all intents and purposes, as a bridge melody for “Carry That Weight.” True, the fact is that its appearance as a bridge melody is overshadowed by the fact that its main […]

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 […]

Outline of a guitar

The True Nature of Contrast in Songwriting

We tend to over-simplify what we mean by contrast in a good song, and thereby misunderstand its power. Contrast, in musical terms, means considering musical opposites: loud versus soft, high versus low, and so on. When we over-simplify contrast, we simply think that the contrast principle requires us to mix loud and soft sounds, high and […]