Moon Taxi

Repeating a Short Melodic Fragment: The Chords Keep it Interesting

There’s more to a song hook than meets the ear… a lot more. “Hooks and Riffs: How They Grab Attention, Make Songs Memorable, and Build Your Fan Base” is a vital manual for any serious songwriter. American indie rock group Moon Taxi’s 2015 single “All Day, All Night” is a good reminder that you can […]

Bruce Springsteen

Allowing a Chorus to Grab Attention When the Verse Uses the Same Melody

A few articles back I gave some advice on what to consider when you’re trying to write a good chorus hook (“Creating Effective Song Hooks“). But what do you do when your verse and chorus use the same or very similar melody? How can a chorus hook do its job if the verse is using […]

songwriter - guitarist

Too Much of a Good Thing

This post contains some additional thoughts on my previous post about motifs. As you know, a motif is a repeating figure (melodic, rhythmic, or any other musical fragment) that adds strength to the structure of a song. But it begs the question: is it possible for a song to feature too many repeating things? When is […]

Christina Perri

Curing the Melody that Aimlessly Wanders

Writing melodies may not be the part of songwriting you find easy at all. You may find it easy to create chord progressions that you like, and you may even be a decent lyricist. But if you’re finding that your melodies sound like aimless wandering — a disorganized collection of notes — that’s a problem […]

Alan Parsons Project

Using Musical Motifs as a Kind of “Signature”

You may have heard the word motif before and wondered what it is, and how it might apply to songwriting. It’s a term that’s somewhat similar to hook — and that’s a word you’re probably a lot more familiar with. A hook is a musical idea that repeats throughout a song, though we often associate it chiefly […]

Songwriting and writer's block

You’ve Got a Chorus Hook, But What Now?

It’s quite normal to come up with a catchy chorus hook as a first step in your songwriting process, since the hook contains elements that are easily sung, played and remembered. But once that hook has been developed, you might find that your creative mind lets you down: what do you do next? If you’re trying […]