The Chieftains

It Doesn’t Take Much

Every once in a while I write a blog post that refers to the importance of repetition in music, and how song melodies without repetition are problematic because they’re hard to remember. We already know the power and need for repetition in music when it comes to basic elements like the backing rhythms. Most songs […]

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 […]

Moon Taxi

Repeating a Short Melodic Fragment: The Chords Keep it Interesting

There’s more to a song hook than meets the ear… a lot more. “Hooks and Riffs: How They Grab Attention, Make Songs Memorable, and Build Your Fan Base” is a vital manual for any serious songwriter. American indie rock group Moon Taxi’s 2015 single “All Day, All Night” is a good reminder that you can […]

Home recording Studio - Darren Perkins

Making Sure Contrast is Playing an Important Role in Your Songs

If you really want to see contrast at work in music, you should listen to a Classical symphony. Each piece typically consists of four movements, and each movement will be in a different key, and usually a different tempo. Also, each movement, even if they borrow ideas from previous movements (as 19th-century composers sometimes did), […]

Singer - Open mic

When a Song Sounds Bad, Take a Look at the Structure Underneath

When a song sounds great, we like to think that there’s a certain magic involved. But if you are a student of songwriting, as most good songwriters consider themselves to be, you’ll know that it’s not magic that makes a song great. A song sounds great when it follows basic musical principles. And we love […]

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 […]