Connecting Melodic Ideas Between a Verse and Chorus

How much of a connection should a listener hear between the verse and chorus? In other words, except for tempo, key and general feel, can a verse melody set up a chorus well if it bears little to no similarity to that chorus melody? Take the classic hit “Witchy Woman” (Don Henley, Bernie Leadon). Compare […]

Adele - Hello

The Benefit of Speaking Your Lyric

Improvisation is an important part of most musician’s songwriting process. You sit at a keyboard, or set up some loops, or start strumming your guitar, and you generate ideas spontaneously. It’s fun to work this way. And I suppose you might say that the stronger your musical imagination, the more likely you’ll hit upon hook-like […]

Singer - Songwriter

Songwriting and Line Drawing

I’ve written a few articles on this blog about the notion of drawing a line that represents your melody (like this article I wrote a few years ago). It’s not just that it’s kind of neat to see your melody sketched out as a line; there is a real purpose and benefit from seeing your […]

Guitar and paper for songwriting

Songwriting Processes: the More the Merrier

When you start your songs the same way, you make it very likely that there will be an unpleasant sameness about them. Your aim as a songwriter should be to feel at ease with as many different processes as possible for starting songs. Comfort with many different processes makes it more likely that your songs […]

Now, Now

Thinking About the Range of Your Song Melodies

It’s somewhere between possible and likely that when you come up with a song melody, you’re following pure instinct. You may work and re-work lyrics and may spend a lot of time tweaking the chords, but I wonder if melodies always seems a bit random, where the changes you might make over the course of […]

Ben Folds

Shaping the Melody In a Verse-Without-Chorus Song

How do you create a melody that works well in verse-only songs? Are they structured differently from verse melodies that lead to choruses? The short answer to the second question is ‘yes’ — at least most of the time. Whether you look at classic rock examples of verse-chorus tunes (“The Night They Drove Old Dixie […]