Piano and guitar - songwriter

Melody-First Songwriting Means You Need to Have a Good Grasp of Chords

If you take a look back — way back — into the history of music composition, you’ll discover that writing music meant writing melodies. If you listen to something written in, say, around 1550, you’ll hear several melodies being sung together, harmonizing with each other, but not purposely creating chord progressions. The chords were incidental; chords […]

Singer-songwriter-guitarist

How to Write Song Melodies that Connect With Your Audience

For some songwriters, songwriting seems to be all about writing a great melody. Paul McCartney, Joni Mitchell, Paul Simon, Barry Gibb — these are all songwriters for whom the success of their songs is often easily attributable to the quality of the melodies they write. I mention this, because not all great songs need to […]

Microphone

How Melodies Move Up and Down Within Your Song

Good songs are almost always about contrasts. If you look closely at chord progressions, you’ll notice major and minor chords: opposites working together. With instrumentation, you’ll often see sparse, transparent sections (often the verse) contrasting with fuller, busier parts (the chorus). Contrast is an important part of what keeps listeners coming back to your song. […]

Microphone - Song melody

What Kind of Backing Vocals Are Right For Your Song?

How to write (or even if you should write) backing vocals is usually a step beyond songwriting. In other words, it’s usually something that comes under the heading of production more so than songwriting. These days, though, where technology has blurred the line between songwriting and production, you may find yourself thinking a lot about what to do about […]

Pink - Nate Ruess

The Importance of Rhythm in a Good Song Hook

For a lot of people, a song hook is hard to define, but you certainly know it when you hear one. There are many different kinds of hooks (intro hooks, instrumental hooks, lyrical hooks, etc.) but by far the most common kind is the chorus hook. In fact, many songwriters, particularly in the pop genres, […]

Song Melody

The Power of a Great Song Melody

Robin Gibb once said that a great song is all about a great melody. It really depends on the genre, but most of the time I think he’s right. When you’ve hooked a listener with a good melody, you’ve given them something to hum — something to remember. A great melody is a powerful way […]