Music concert microphone

Using the Direction of Your Melodies to Create Musical Contrast

You may not have considered the up-or-down direction of your song melodies as being all that important, but it can go a long way to adding structure and musical interest to your song. Specifically, contrasting upward-moving phrases with downward-moving ones can be an aspect of musical contrast that keeps listeners listening. What I’m about to […]

Songwriter - calculating a new key

Moving Your Song’s Key Upward For the Chorus

I remember a while ago listening to someone’s song, trying to analyze what the problem with the chorus was. The songwriter had sent it to me, telling me that she felt the song started with great promise, but halfway through the chorus, everything sounded underwhelming. In that particular song, we diagnosed the problem as being […]

Linda Creed - Thom Bell

When Melodies Leap Upward

There’s no denying that the shape of a melody has a lot to do with the mood of music. However, melodic shape is a tricky one to calculate. It’s not based on a rule as much as it’s based on psychology. On a psychological level, we know, for example, that: melodies that are static, sitting […]

Genesis - Wind & Wuthering

Downward-Moving Verse Melodies, and When They’re a Good Idea

When you look at a typical verse melody, it’s probably most common that you’ll notice that the typical direction is upward, particularly if you compare the first few notes to the final few before the chorus hits. It’s time well spent to look deeper, though, at how good verse melodies move, because where the voice […]

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 […]

Jack Garratt

What the Direction of Your Melodies Does For the Meaning of Your Songs

I’m a fan of any songwriting process that requires concentrating on the melody first. The main reason I like melody-first writing is that you’re concentrating on the part of a song that’s the most hummable, and the easiest for someone to remember. If there is one criticism I have of melody first processes, it’s that […]