John Newman - Losing Sleep

The Most Common Melody Problem Songwriters Need to Know About

For most songs, a good melody is crucial because it gives the listener something to hum after they’ve heard it. There are all kinds of melodies — from the ones that use one phrase over and over again (“Free Fallin’” – Tom Petty), to the ones that move up and down and encompass much of […]

Singer-Songwriter

The Snapshot That Represents Your Song

I’ve got several analogies I like to use to represent what’s going on when we write songs. Sometimes I find it useful to compare it to going for a walk or a short journey. That’s a useful comparison because it emphasizes the fact that, like taking a walk, we are aware that songs have a […]

George Harrison

Solutions For the Two Main Reasons Why a Song Might Fail to Impress

In reality, there’s many possible reasons why a song that started with a lot of promise winds up being one where the audience has a ho-hum reaction. But if you’re looking for a likely culprit, here are two of the most common reasons for a song that misses the mark: The hook isn’t doing its […]

Bob Marley

Solidifying Chorus Rhythms to Help the Chorus Hook

Try this little experiment the next time you’re listening to music on the radio. Put your radio in an automatic scan mode, where it moves through the dial, stopping on radio stations as it finds them, and then plays 7 or 8 seconds before moving on. As it stops at each new station (and assuming […]

Sting - The Police

There’s a Benefit to Writing Song Melodies That Use Few Notes

When I listen to a song that’s spent a good deal of time at the top of the charts, I’m often amazed by how simple its structure is, how simple the chords are, and how few notes the melody actually uses. Sure, there are the exceptions. Elton John’s songs, for example, tend to use long […]

Bruce Springsteen

Allowing a Chorus to Grab Attention When the Verse Uses the Same Melody

A few articles back I gave some advice on what to consider when you’re trying to write a good chorus hook (“Creating Effective Song Hooks“). But what do you do when your verse and chorus use the same or very similar melody? How can a chorus hook do its job if the verse is using […]