Songwriting Principle No. 9: Tracking the Rise and Fall of your Melodies

Writing a good melody requires several things all working together; chief among them are lyric and harmonies. A melody is good if it seems to complement the emotion of the lyric. The harmonies, of course, need to support the melody. Beyond that, there is another important issue which is often overlooked: melodic shape. Melodies need countour. While there […]

Songwriting Principle No. 8: The TONIC Note: Strengthening Your Song's Structure

The tonic note is the note that represents the key your song is in. So if you’re writing in G major, the tonic note is G. The tonic note is of tremendous value in strengthening your song’s overall structure; its importance cannot be overlooked. How you use it is what Songwriting Principle No. 8 is all about: The presence of […]

Your Song's Melody Needs Shape to Be Memorable

If your melody dwells mostly on one note, with only a few rises and dips, don’t be surprised if no one remembers it once the song is over.  In order for a song melody to be memorable, it needs to have shape. The issue of boring, forgettable melodies, occurs most frequently when you start the process […]

Bad Songs, and How to Write Them

There are many ways to write a bad song, but most of those bad ways will fall into one of the following categories:    1. Ignore the form of the song. The form is what makes the listener feel like they’ve been on a journey. Form, in essence, means that your song will make sense.    2. Make sure your […]

How to Shape a Melody So People Will Remember It

A melody needs to have shape and a recognizable contour, or your audience won’t remember it. Recently, someone played a song for me that they had recently composed. My problem was, as I was diagnosing it, I had to keep going back to the recording of it; I couldn’t for the life of me remember that […]

Which Should Come First – Chords or Melody?

It’s probably true that more songwriters come up with a chord progression, in whole or in part, before they come up with the melody that goes along with it. These “chords first” people would probably say that they find it hard or impossible to come up with a good melody unless they’re hearing the chords underneath. […]