Bruce Springsteen

Giving Your Songs a Good Sense of Progression

When we talk about progressions, the automatic assumption is that we’re talking about chords. But the reality is that in good songs, practically everything progresses. The reason for the assumption that we’re talking about chords is that they will quickly sound disorganized and confusing if we don’t pick up that all-important aspect of progression. Simply having […]

Christina Perri

Curing the Melody that Aimlessly Wanders

Writing melodies may not be the part of songwriting you find easy at all. You may find it easy to create chord progressions that you like, and you may even be a decent lyricist. But if you’re finding that your melodies sound like aimless wandering — a disorganized collection of notes — that’s a problem […]

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 […]

Dan Hill

Working Downward Melodic Leaps Into Your Song Melodies

With song melodies, big melodic leaps can do a lot to inject some emotional energy into the lyric of the moment. The upward leap is common, probably more common than the downward leap. I’m not sure why that is, but downward leaps seem to require a bit more work to make them successful. There’s something […]

Shawn Mendes

The Same Melody From Different Angles

This is something that doesn’t necessarily occur to casual listeners to pop music: the number of times we hear a melody that’s really just the same short 4- or 5-note cell that gets repeated over and over with different chords underneath. Like starting the songwriting process by working out the chords first? There are benefits […]

Video Melodic Analysis: Sia's "Soon We'll Be Found"

Download “The Essential Secrets of Songwriting” 6-ebook bundle, and learn how to write great songs! ________________ A while back I did a blog post that examined Sia’s “Soon We’ll Be Found”, from her “Some People Have Real Problems” recording. The main point of that article was to look at the way she used alternating minor-to-major […]