Shawn Mendes

The Same Melody From Different Angles

This is something that doesn’t necessarily occur to casual listeners to pop music: the number of times we hear a melody that’s really just the same short 4- or 5-note cell that gets repeated over and over with different chords underneath. Like starting the songwriting process by working out the chords first? There are benefits […]

Calvin Harris

The Power of Patterns In the Writing of Song Melodies

You’ll sometimes see discussions amongst songwriters on the topic of how many notes a good melody should have. In other words, how much of a  range, when you compare the lowest notes to the highest ones, should there be when considering good melodies? History tells us that there’s no good answer to that question, because […]

guitar - keyboard - headphones

Creating Chord Progression Motifs

In music, a motif is a short fragment of music that gets developed and repeated throughout the length of a song. The repetition aspect of a motif makes it similar to a hook. But a hook generally repeats verbatim; it generally sounds the same each time we hear it, like “She loves you, yeah, yeah, […]

Ten of the Most Important Things a Songwriter Should Remember

There are things a songwriter should remember because they’ll result in better songs. There are other things that will result in a happier you. From time to time, you need to sit back and bring those things to mind. I write music almost every day. Sometimes they’re arrangements of already-existing songs (folk songs, for example). […]

Composing Your Own Descant Melody

Every year I have the best of intentions to write a post or two regarding writing holiday music, good and early so that songwriters can actually use the information! And then, usually due to my own busy schedule this time of year, I don’t get it done. But I thought I’d write this quick one […]

Bruno Mars

Making Song Melodies Memorable and Singable

There is an important aspect of a good song melody that the average listener is not much aware of: shape. Good melodies need an engaging shape — something that is memorable, enticing, and (at least relatively) easy to sing. In fact, song melodies need even more. They need to partner with a lyric so that […]