The One and Only Reason That People Stop Listening

I remember a university prof years ago asking us fledgling students a question: What is the one thing that all pieces of music ever written have in common? You might think that it’s a pretty easy question. Obviously, all music involves sound, right? No. John Cage’s “4’33” is a work in which the performer (usually […]

The Chorus Hook and the Climactic High Point

I write a lot on this blog about song melodies and their so-called climactic high point. That’s a term that refers (usually) to the highest notes of a song. I say usually because sometimes the climactic moment in a song isn’t necessarily it’s highest note. For example, choruses will often sound more climactic — more exciting […]

The Bee Gees

Chord Progression Transitions Between Song Sections

With most good chord progressions, there is a sense that the progression is making one chord (the tonic) sound like a kind of musical target. As each chord happens, you hear that tonic chord approaching, and when it finally happens it sounds musically satisfying. Example: C  Dm  G  Em  Am  Dm  Gsus4  G7  C (I […]

Gently Rising Song Melodies Creates Musical Momentum

When a song melody moves upward, you hear an intensifying of musical energy. That’s because of the nature of the human voice. The higher we sing, the more tension we hear in the voice. You know that when you’re singing at the very top of your range that you hear that bit of strain. In […]

Adele - Someone Like You

The Psychology of Song Section Durations

In the world of music composition, songs in the popular genres (pop, rock, country, folk, and most of their subgenres) tend to be short, at around 4 minutes or so as a norm. Yes, some subgenres such as progressive rock will feature songs that are much longer, but brevity is a feature of most pop […]