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 […]

Songwriter

Don’t Overthink Your Songwriting Process

What’s the biggest problem for songwriters around the notion of process? It’s just my opinion, but I believe that over-thinking your process can be the biggest one. Every songwriter has their own way of approaching the task of writing songs. Most songwriters will be careful to tell you that they use many processes: no one song […]

Songwriter - Guitarist

Adding Chords to a Melody: Focus On the Strong Beats

In my own composing of music, I would far rather work out a melody first, and then add the chords as a second step. That’s because melodies are what people hum to themselves; it’s hard to hum a chord progression. Many songwriters, however, work out the chord progression and backing rhythms first. There is one […]

Joni Mitchell

Controlling the Mood of a Song

Mood is one of the first things that’s conveyed by music. Listeners pick up the mood via the partnership of all the various song components, but mostly through: key choice (major versus minor); tempo; melodic shape; instrumental choices and effects; lyrics. I purposely placed lyrics at the bottom of that list, even though the lyrics […]

Tom Petty

Making Your Melodies Easy For Listeners to Remember

In order for a melody to be successful, it needs to be easily remembered by a listener. If your melodies sound like aimless wandering, you’re going to have trouble building an audience for it. The best melodies out there are the ones that people can hum or sing, even if they aren’t great singers. When […]

Piano keyboard and guitar

Tips for Songwriters: Avoiding Accidental Plagiarism

Given the few notes within an octave and the millions of songs that have been written using them, accidental plagiarism is a constant companion for most songwriters. Every time you come up with a great songwriting idea — especially something that you really like — you’re immediately wondering if you’ve stolen the idea from an […]