Phil Collins

Must All My Melody Notes Fit the Chords?

As you know, you can strum a chord for quite a number of bars, and the melody that you sing over that chord will usually feature a lot of different notes. Sometimes, the various notes of a melody might actually come from the chord itself. For example, “Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone” (Norman Whitfield, Barrett […]

Melody-first songwriting

What’s Better: Melody First, or Chords First Songwriting?

The title of this blog post sounds like a trick question, because you’d probably think that I’m going to say, “Neither is best – it’s whatever suits the musical ideas rolling around in your mind at any given time.” That, of course, is logically the best answer. But for me, I’ve always found melody-first songwriting […]

Audience at a rock concert

Today’s Top Songs: What Am I Missing?

I always avoid doing the “old man rant” on this blog, but this may stray into that category… forgive me! One of the biggest problems I have with top-rated Billboard Hot 100 songs these days is that the chords are usually pretty simple and, frankly, uninspiring. Don’t get me wrong, a simple progression that works […]

Songwriter and piano

Dealing With Musical Muscle Memory

Writing songs is not always easy. Some would argue that it’s never easy, but you get such a great feeling from completing one that it makes the task worth it, and you want to do it again. That makes sense, because when something gives you a challenge, and you finally succeed, you get what might […]

Bruce Springsteen

Audiences Don’t Remember Notes — They Remember Patterns

If you look at the number of different notes that any one good melody uses, you might be surprised by how few there are. For many songs, most of the notes will be from one octave, and often less. In a song like “Hound Dog”, most of the song is comprised of 3 or 4 […]

Chords and songwriting

Chord Progressions: Moving From Fragile to Strong

When you listen to songs, you’re likely unaware of the concepts of fragile and strong being played out, but it’s actually a very important aspect of good songwriting. If you’ve written a melody and you want to explore the many ways there are to add chords to it, you need to get “How to Harmonize a […]