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 […]

Song Form: Making a More Energetic Chorus

It’s not terribly surprising that most people can tell whether they’re hearing a chorus or a verse. That’s a good thing, because songs don’t come with signposts that say, “This is the verse…”; “This is the chorus.” What I find interesting is that even non-musicians can tell. Songs normally start with the verse, but with […]

Adele - Someone Like You

Checking and Comparing Verse and Chorus Melody Range

For many songwriters, getting a catchy melody for your song happens as the result of improvising melodic ideas over a chord progression. If that’s your normal process, it’ll usually work well for you. But improvising ideas should always be seen as a first step to getting a final version of a melody that really works. […]