The Chorus Hook and the Climactic High Point

I write a lot on this blog about song melodies and their so-called climactic high point. That’s a term that refers (usually) to the highest notes of a song. I say usually because sometimes the climactic moment in a song isn’t necessarily it’s highest note. For example, choruses will often sound more climactic — more exciting […]

Creating a More Energetic Song Chorus

Most people have little or no vocabulary when it comes to the structure of songs. The average person sitting in the local coffee shop listening to a song through their headphones wouldn’t know a bridge from a pre-chorus. But interestingly, if you actually ask someone, even with little or no musical background, “Is this section […]

Sigrid - Don't Kill My Vibe

Using Melodic Range to Create Musical Energy

If you’re not sure what’s meant by a phrase, think of it as a part of a sentence up to a comma or a period, where the sentence seems to pause, either temporarily or permanently, like this 2-phrase unit from Robert Frost’s poem, “Stopping By Woods On a Snowy Evening”: Whose woods these are I […]

Elton John

Sometimes Principles Confuse Us

Lately it seems that I’ve been getting a lot of comments, both through email and in the comments section at the ends of various posts, questioning some of the various songwriting principles I write about. Mainly, a comment will go something like this: “You say that chorus progressions are shorter than verse progressions, but I […]

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 […]

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 […]