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. […]

music, photography rule of thirds

Applying the Rule of Thirds to Songwriting

When you talk about thirds to a musician, you’re usually talking about the space between two notes, like C to E, or D to F, and so on. In photography, the so-called “rule of thirds” is completely different: it refers to dividing an image into thirds using two vertical lines and two horizontal lines. If […]

Genesis

Songwriting: Lyrical Hooks and Clichés

I’m a fan of Genesis, but enjoyed the older incarnation of that group more than the one in the mid-80s. That’s not a criticism at all because I think Genesis wrote brilliant pop music. I just happen to like their older prog rock style. Genesis wrote and recorded “Tonight, Tonight, Tonight” for their 1986 “Invisible […]

Now, Now - SGL

Getting the Most Out of a Song’s Hook

For most songs in the pop genre, the bit that you really love will be some short, catchy fragment. That fragment — the hook — is the bit that you’ll remember forever about that song. Long after you’ve forgotten almost everything else, you’ll remember that hook. “Hooks and Riffs: How They Grab Attention, Make Songs Memorable, […]

Bruno Mars - The Lazy Song

Making the Best Use of Motifs in Your Songwriting

For most songwriters, defining a hook is simple: it’s that catchy bit that makes up the main part of the chorus. It usually comes back over and over because that’s what choruses do — they reappear after every verse, and then again after the bridge. A hook is good if it has a melodic shape […]

Songwriting - Form

Writing an Effective Song Refrain

At first glance you might think of a song’s refrain as simply being a shorter version of a chorus. But they’re actually quite different. Choruses are usually complete structures that can be repeated over and over easily, as we notice with final chorus repeats of most pop songs. But a refrain isn’t a complete structure; […]