Melodies and Chords, and How They Work Together

When we talk about a melody-first songwriting process, we assume that we’re talking about writing a song where thinking up the melody, or at least a bit of a melody, is the first step. Then once we’ve got a good chunk of that working and sounding good, we then try to figure out what kind […]

A Simple, Time-Honoured Way For Writing Song Melodies

Get the eBook bundle that thousands of songwriters are using to polish their songwriting technique. Comes with a free copy of “Use Your Words! Developing a Lyrics-First Songwriting Process” There is a kind of melodic structure called period structure — a two-phrase melody in which the first phrase acts as a kind of “question”, and the […]

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 […]

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 […]

Taylor Swift - Our Song

Repeated Notes in a Melody, and Their Impact on an Audience

If you were to ask for a generic definition from the average layperson for a melody, they’d probably come up with something like: “A series of notes that move up and down.” You’d then remind them that backing vocals also comprise a series of notes that move up and down, and that’s when we start […]

Joni Mitchell

Writing Song Melodies That Can Build a Fanbase

Do you get stuck at the melody-writing stage of songwriting? Do you find chords easy, but melody hard? What can you do to come up with melodies that are enticing and attractive to an audience? Melodies and lyrics are the trickiest parts of songwriting for most songwriters, because those are likely the parts of songs […]