Rhythm of the music Melody Chords
“Writing is your path home.
It's the obstacle course you run to get to yourself”
is creative expression
It's a way to share opinions, spark debate, look cool or save the world, etc.
isn't guitar playing
guitar players never write songs.
You need inspiration, workflow and
collaborators. Anyone can write songs.
lot of theory on this site. That's good and bad.
Thinking can block creativity
Train your subconscious with these skills. Empty
your mind and improvise. Then elaborate on what works.
Music is about inspiration.
Use the theory to analyze after you play or write. Use it to prepare before you play or write.
Build a frame
Use a DAW like FL studios or Ableton to create a short section
This provides a drum track, synth parts or samples you can play guitar or sing lyrics over.
Keep it simple
There's lots of time to make it complex. Try to get to the essence.
Popular music is easy for the listener to understand.
Jazz and melodic metal rock, but most people can't hear it or
Record a simple
riff or chord progression
If you use a DAW loop, record many variations. Choose the best ones and expand on them.
Play the best
ideas over and over until they feel right.
Record 5 - 30 minutes worth of audio. If you record more than that, it might be overwhelming.
If you really like the part, perfect it before moving on. If you
think the part will change, accept the flaws in the recording and move
on to the next step.
Make sure you
can play the part again. If you play complex stuff it's
a good idea to video record your hands.
Speak and record
any information related to the scale, key, pedal tone settings, tempo,
etc. This makes it easy to remember.
If you use music theory, write down the chord progression, tab the riff, or use the color coded sheet music.
a second part over top of it
A melody? Bass part? Samples? Vocals? Software synth? Expand the drums?
Whatever. Add as many parts as you want, but document each step so it can be recreated.
Listen to the best variations
Take a few days and listen to what you made. This is the
incubation period. Some people can skip this step and keep on
working. This step helps me program my subconscious. The music I'm making is very complex and I need this step.
Select the best parts
This becomes the rough draft for a song section. Could it
be a verse? a chorus? An instrumental? An intro? Is it
almost a complete song? You'll create your own personal workflow at this point. You must decide.
Imagine other sections of the
development techniques. Write lyrics,
rhythmic or melodic hooks, use different tones, samples, drum parts etc. The possibilities are endless.
You can play right now
even if you just started playing guitar. Simple techniques make nice sounds.
Popular music is easy
that work together.
is much easier than becoming a guitar master. I tried that and went nowhere. That will happen
time and proper effort.
songs will push you
hours of practice much easier. It allows you to create and see
progress. It gives you a chance to perform on stage and that's a
Singing helps guitar playing See singing
helps you write songs. It helps you write
melodies. It makes you more desirable as a band
summons music into
You can play guitar on autopilot and practice cliches all day. Singing will stop that. You'll hear
the music in your head. This skill is priceless.
Sing everyday for
You'll be amazed.
song a month
guitar routine each day and then improvise with a drum machine (record good
ideas for the future).
Then work on the song you were working on yesterday. Spend a
month on each song. In a year, you'll have a CD worth of material.
Songs keep you focused on progress
It's nice to create something and watch it grow.
A passion for music
to express yourself
ability to work with others
An organized procedure
Be receptive to any ideas
you have. Song ideas are everywhere. See hook line
strategies for inspiration.
Find the music in your soul
Connect with others
Feel first, think second
Clear your mind. Feel the scale, tones and rhythm. Go with the flow. Play and sing
the sounds you hear inside you.
Use your imagination. Try to hear something first and then play it.
who you are and how you feel. Other people will imitate you.
Songs are made of chords,
melody, rhythm and lyrics
You can make a song by starting with any of them. If you have a weakness, practice will make you better.
Collaborating makes any song better
Find people and work with them. People are the secret
missing link. It doesn't matter how good you are. Read that
again. I was one of the best guitar players in the world and it
didn't matter, because I didn't have a band, and I had trouble
writing songs and remembering parts. As a result, being able to
improvise rock riffs and solos at 220 bpm didn't matter. Having a
unique style didn't matter. I have
recordings I can listen to, but that's all I have.
People are the
most important part.
Start looking for them now.
best workflow is listening, analyzing and singing
Listen to lots of music. If
you need a teacher, be sure they're good. Let them push you into
reading sheet music. It's actually very important. Have you
ever heard of a writer that couldn't read a book? Of coarse not. Use the color sheet music
. It's a better system.
I hear amazing music in my dreams,
and I'm jealous of the people playing it. When I wake up, I realize the music is inside me. I
rarely hear it when I'm awake, but it's there. The easiest way
for me to hear music is when I'm jogging. The pulse of my breath
summons it into me.
theory is optional
music is inside you
Great songs are written by people
with no theory training. All you need is music inside your head. Develop this by listening
. It helps to know theory though. It provides options that open doors and carry you over new musical
horizons. Knowledge of chord progressions and chords is the most
you have one possibility you know what to
If you have many choices, pick one.
Hum or sing the
music in your head
Record it on a pocket recorder.
Carry a notebook
and portable recorder
I've lost hundreds of great songs.
The best ones happen once and never come back. Call home and sing the music on your answering machine.
the moment of musical
inspiration. This is the most important element.
about what you know and feel
unique. Your life is full of songs. Your experiences are shared by millions of other people.
with you, your message will stay in
their hearts, minds and CD players.
Feel the emotion. Return to the scene. Imagine you're there. Don’t
try to cram every emotion into one
What's on your mind?
If you're thinking about it, other people are too.
85% of mega-hits are love songs
100% of my favorite
songs are not.
You have melodies inside you
Practice singing for a year and you'll be able to improvise
makes this easier. The other instruments suggest melodies and
they just happen. Make sure it’s an original melody
so you don't
If you hear
a melody in your head:
Sing nonsense words (dummy lyrics) that have the right rhythm.
Record it. Listen to it, you'll hear real words you can
Words are the most important part of a song when it's finished. They're the least important part when you begin.
Most people avoid improvising vocals because they can't think of
STOP THINKING. Sing rhythmic tones. Avoid all
words, or slip in dummy lyrics as you go.
and rhythm come first
Words can inspire sound and rhythm.
Sound and rhythm can inspire words.
a guitar or piano to find
ideas. See piano
you get on your instrument, the more ideas you'll
a recorder handy, if you don’t, you will
have a good idea.
songs can be hits
You need: strong melody, arrangement, buildup, catchy
rhythms, lyrics, etc. Create a simple chord
and improvise a simple melody over top. Write simple lyrics, give it a hook
random simple songs and change things that don't
work. Develop the best ones.
makes songs better
a band and jam
song will come together in a natural manner. It will fix any
structural problems. It will enhance the build and flow.
Playing with feeling.
Major or minor chords affect the mood.
See Major - minor
If the mood's optimistic and
upbeat, use a major key. If it's sad and mournful, use minor.
Minor melodies can switch to major. This often happens at the
end of the song.
Verse can be minor and the Chorus can be the relative major. See Major and minor
or music theory
things affect the mood:
The speed of the song
Phrase or rhythmic balancing
Using higher or
in the chorus.
The musics mood should match the
They don't have to match. Contrast can have a nice effect.
Write a phrase or title that
represents the mood.
Create a simple chord progression
the progression suggest a
Improvise melodies over
worry about words. Sing dummy lyrics, or rhythmic tones.
Focus on your vocal tone. Let the tone convey the feeling and
mood. If you have a title
, sing it with your dummy lyrics.
What did it feel
like to be the tank commander in Tienamin square, knowing that the brave young student
would be executed and choosing to join him
. Do you feel
different than you did ten seconds ago?
Images can inspire understanding, tears, empathy,
Experiences are real. Examine what they really mean and then pick up your instrument.
There are no bad ideas
Ideas need clarified, refined and made more unique, clever and real.
“If you're afraid
to suck, you’ll never
write a note.” -Jeff Boyle
99% of your music is average, 1% is good
The more music you write, the more of that 1% you'll get. Free
your mind and just do it.
Write and write some more.
a quiet place to write
Pick a topic you're passionate about
Hum a simple melody over simple chord changes.
Humming a melody unlocks lyrical flow. The song already exists, you're simply
summoning it to you. A song is a gift from the universe. Words and music
existed before you were born, and the same is true for the song you're
writing. It's not your song, it belongs to the universe.
on an instrument
Keep it simple. The goal is to provide an inspiring platform for the words to come out.
Playing a simple 1 - 4 - 5 chord progression is perfectly valid.
Share the song
“Your best songs will come from true life
experiences” -Joe Isaacs
Write a sentence that explains your
This is the
blueprint for your song. Stay true to the concept.
Use the idea throughout your song.
Love, hate, friendship, enemies, family, children, memories, conflict, winning, loss, sports, ethics, luck,
music and song, travel, faith,
hope, spirituality, afterlife, past lives,
states of mind, protest, praise, future, past,
fads, society, government, NWO, etc.
Write about anything in life.
See hook line strategies
Song titles and concepts are everywhere
Listen to people's
conversations. Analyze their complaints and passions.
Watch their behaviors. Watch the
news, TV and movies. Read magazines, books and quotes.
What matters in your life right now?
Good inspiration makes good
date, time and location
This helps you return to the moment of inspiration.
Give the song a title.
You can change it later.
Organize your recordings
Digital recordings go on a computer. Tape
gets documented and sorted.
a cd with your good recordings on it. Listen to it for inspiration.
Classify your recordings by genre and style. Song. Mood.
Make practice CD's or tapes
to chord progressions or melodies while you drive, walk or work.
Listen and imagine new ideas. Sing them into a recorder.
Get a 5 section notebook
Phrases, titles, concepts,
observations rhymes and pieces of lyrics.
2. Songs in progress
chorus, rhymes or reasons. Reference your recordings.
3. Dummy lyrics
These lyrics hold the rhythmic place of real lyrics.
3. Finished lyrics
songs in progress,
to write until inspiration hits.
Write lyrics on the right page. Random
phrases and ideas go on the left page.
Put your name and phone number on
case you lose it.
Offer a reward for its return.
Notice everything that enters your mind
If you think about it, other people are too.
Write down everything
Go over your list and see what stands
Improvise on your instrument
look at the words.
Some words might inspire music with the same mood.
Take the best ideas and start writing a song
Sound of Words
Point of view
Lyrics = thoughts
+ rhyme + rhythm
Lyrics connect you with other peoples emotions and desires.
Types of lyricsStory
listen to hear how it
ends, especially the first time they hear it.
to suicide. Positive concepts will have a higher listening rate.
events The world is falling apart. Please fix that right now.
I was in a band that almost made it because the singer wrote really funny lyrics.
Write about anything. The Beach Boys didn’t surf.
Make fun of something.
Change the world. Write about God,
heroes, parents, love, desire, spirituality, etc.
Frailty of man
Drugs, greed, hate, etc. These songs have a low listener retention rate.
Search for meaning
Philosophy, deep thoughts, quantum physics, God, duality, etc.
See Hook strategies
Pop songs don't confuse the listener
Keep your focus clear. Pick a category and stick to the topic.
Rock songs can confuse the
You can be cryptic and mysterious. However, this has changed in the last 30 years.
Now, pop rock songs are clear and they get to the point.
Make the concept easy to relate to
Start with a concept: Love, desire, romance
Make it personal: I'll hold
you tight tonight
in life have the most impact
What we say
vs. how we feel.
How you feel for her vs how she
feels for you.
Write with a collaborator.
inspire you and add to your song. When a group of people improvise, it makes the
song stronger. It gives the song a natural, flowing quality.
A good lyric blends with the melody. Sing the song as you write it.
What matters to you right now?
A title might suggest a
An idea or concept might suggest a title.
Any life experiences?
Any cause you believe in?
A storyline you’ve imagined or lived?
A catchy phrase?
A melody that suggests a lyric?
Read and write poetry
Also read and write philosophy and study common psychological patterns. What issues are making people sad or happy?
Start with a title
Find a unique way to use the title.
Pick a subject that's meaningful.
If you haven't wrote music:
Write the melody as you write the lyrics. Make the melody sound good without any music.
If you wrote the music:
Sing the lyrics over the music.
Improvise a melody.
If any lyric feels wrong, sing dummy lyrics that feel
the title lyric to a different place in the song.
Put it at the start or end
of a verse, or the start or end of a chorus.
Put it as many places as you
In “Let it be”
The Beatles, the title appeared 42 times.
force it. A good title can be used sparingly
Start with a concept
What's the motivation for the song?
Is this my experience or someone else's? Why is this concept important to me?
Create a character
What's the character thinking? What are they feeling?
What's their problem, love or situation? Is it present, past or future tense?
Write a lyric hook line
Write several and pick the best.
the lyrics. See hooklines
Create a musical hook
Improvise on your instrument. Find a riff and tone that feels right.
Use a catchy
It has to grab the listener instantly.
The 1st verse explains the
with a general idea and get specific in later
Or move from specific to general.
to the concept.
The 2nd verses reveals more information
Each line should move the
Use descriptive words and visual images. The
verses set up the chorus.
the chorus after writing the 1st verse
It will suggest ideas for the next verse.
Try flipping the order of your verses. The second
verse might sound better first.
The pre-chorus sets up the
It makes a smooth transition between verse and chorus. Use
non-specific lyrics if the verse is specific. or vice
It's often 2 - 4 measures long, 4 is average.
can unbalance the song by adding extra measures
This creates tension that is resolved by the chorus.
The title line needs to sum up the
is the lyric
people remember and buy.
It can be a few words, a deep thought or a phrase. It can be simple.
Chorus lyrics can change
If you have several choruses lyrics, use them. Keep
the title in the same spot. Don’t change the title too
the title is long, use a simple melody. If it’s short
use an advanced melody.
the verse melody is simple, make a good chorus melody, or vice versa.
notes are the highest in the song
The chorus can be written first
It’s the most
important part of the song. The
title line often suggests chorus lyrics and melody.
The bridge can:
Sum up the meaning of the song. Expand on the meaning of the lyrics. Provide something different, such as an
Paul or John
often wrote the bridge for each others song. This kept the songs fresh, and provided a
lot of contrast.
It contrasts the verse and chorus.
If the verse is fast, slow down the bridge. See deceleration
If verse is slow, speed up the bridge. See acceleration
can change the key signature. You
can reflect on the verse or look ahead to a plot twist.
The bridge often occurs after the second chorus.
are often 8 measures or less.
They average two lyric lines.
They provide fresh
Rhythm of the words
of the words is as important as the rhymes. The
biggest hits have great word rhythm. The words need to flow smoothly without music.
If the words don’t flow, change them.
You want to be able to sing it fluidly.
the lyrics over a drum track.
You'll hear it if they stop flowing.
You may have new
ideas as you sing.
Record them and work with them.
Word rhythm can be accelerated.
This adds excitement. See rhythmic
Words can be stretched over measures.
This is a romantic effect. Vowel sounds are easiest to extend.
rhythm is predictable and
balance between what's expected, and what's not.
Rhythm makes the melody more interesting.
Change rhythm patterns to make a
in a different section.
But keep them similar.
Each music genre has different rules.
Country and pop use the same word rhythms across
sections. It's easier for the audience to sing along.
the word rhythms because
the music depends on it.
Rock songs change the word rhythm and maintain the
Change the word
rhythms, but keep the chords and song rhythm.
That way the listener won't get lost.
Sounds of the words
Words shouldn't sound awkward.
it easy for the
listener to sing along.
Use a thesaurus
to suggest other words. Use a rhyming
dictionary to suggest rhymes.
Use lyrical and poetic devices.
See poetic devices
Or see hookline poetic devices
Write as if you're talking.
To baby or not to baby, yeah yeah yeah.
Lyric point of view
1st person is the
most personal, and popular.
(I, we, my)
Change 1st person lyrics to 3rd person, and
see what the effect is.
(his, her, they're)
You can address tough
topics that are difficult in first person.
An advice song.
3rd person helps you avoid being preachy.
It's here, now
It's reflective, it
looks back on a situation.
can change viewpoints if you're careful. This adds movement to a story and moves the song
If the song is for someone else, be aware of that
artists image. If it makes them look bad, they won't sing it.
Formal vs. Informal
If you're using simple words, don’t start using big words, unless it's a gimmick.
Write songs that match
Negative people don't write good positive songs.
Music style affects the lyrics.
Country: no swearing, crude
lyrics or words like lust, sex, etc.
These rules are always changing. You can do what you want, but if you want to go pro, follow the rules a lit
Song forms or formats
make your songs sound
Any of these rules can be broken.
It's often a version of the
It grabs the listener, and shows what's coming.
Pop intros are 12 seconds
It tells the
story, sets the mood and introduces patterns.
Each verse expands the story.
Each verse melody is the same, except
for variations to make lyrics fit.
PC or Channel
It's an optional
section before the chorus.
It provides fresh lyrics and chords.
It’s no more than 8 measures long. It contains the same words each time around.
If the song is propelled to the chorus
without it, you don’t need it.
This is the melody
It sells the song.
It contains the highest notes.
It's different from the verse.
It contains a musical phrase that's repeated through the song.
The choruses are identical,
so people can sing along.
BR or release or middle eight
This optional section comes
after the second chorus.
It can contain lyrics or an
It has different chords.
It provides contrast and interest.
Coda out or outro or tag
It gives the song an ending
A A A or V V V
It has the same music, but different lyrics.
Used by: Gospel, folk, and a few pop songs.
Keep your melody interesting.
You might need a musical section between
verses to provide contrast.
You can use a fake chorus that doesn’t contain the songs hook.
"All along the watch tower"
Bob Dylan and Jimi Hendrix
"Born in the Usa"
A A Br A or V V Br V
The title lyric is in the 1st or last line of each verse.
You can change the title in the following verses, but keep it close to
The bridge uses
different chords and melody.
It might use a different lyrical tone, a change of viewpoint, a new
verses usually have different lyrics.
The verse sections are often 8 bars in length, or 16 bars for faster
first two verses establish a pattern
The bridge provides tension.
occurs when it returns to the verse.
A A Br A Br A or V V Br V Br V
final verse may repeat a previous verse.
Beatles often used this form. "Hey Jude"
"I want to
hold your hand"
and winding road"
They also used: A A
Br A Br A Br A
Verse 4 is an instrumental, verses 2 3 5 are the same.
The bridges all have different words.
forms are often advanced.
A B A B or V C V C or Verse - Chorus
good lyric line often starts the song. Make it something people
The chorus is always the same.
Use the title in the 1st line of the
chorus, the 1st and last, or the last. The songs title is the chorus lyric hookline.
chorus conveys the main point of the song.
sure the verse and chorus are relevant to each other.
A B A B or V V C V C
2 verses occur before the first chorus.
A B C or V Pc C
Add this to any of the forms above.
A short Pre-chorus leads into the chorus.
The pre-chorus is a mini bridge.
It often uses the same words each time. It has different chords than the verse or
title line can go in the pre-chorus or chorus.
"Lucy in the sky with diamonds".
A PC with different words occurs before the first 2
choruses, No PC occurs before the last
A B A B C or V C V C
Br V C
Verse - chorus with a bridge.
bridge is an interlude.
It has new chord changes, different themes and higher
or lower notes.
“Everything you want”
“Here comes the sun”
A B C A B C D or V Pc C V Pc C Br or V Pc C
A pre-chorus before every chorus and a
bridge (D) in the
You can add another verse before the out chorus.
sure the song isn't too long with all
The last verse - chorus might bypass the Pc.
“Hold on loosely”
be afraid to try new structures.
can’t hold back”
by Survivor V
Pc V Pc C Br PC V
“Drops of Jupiter” by Train
V C Br V
C Br V C
only title line
C no title
chant with new word rhythm V simple
piano / vocals C combines other
Re-arrange sections to give your song
a unique structure.
Listen to The Beatles and Motown songwriters.
Examine the best songs and understand them.
Read the lyrics. Notate sections as verse, chorus, bridge, etc.
Where do the
title lines appear?
Can you hear the rhythm of the song in the words? Many times you can't.
What makes each section different?
What's original in your favorite
What makes it your favorite?
Contrast between sections keeps a song
Change the music or melody.
Change the words:
From past to
From general to specific,
Change the location,
If any section doesn’t work,
get rid of it.
Use it in a different song.
Hooks get stuck in your head.
There are many kinds of hooks.
Most hit songs have multiple hooks.
One often stands out.
Too many hooks isn't good.
Some lines should move the music.
Others should focus the listeners attention.
Include each type of hook
in a song.
It keeps the listener
Hooks work on some people better than
Some people love hooks and some people hate them.
The people who hate hooks love jazz, or classical. They have advanced ears.
Listen to hit songs
different types of hooks.
A hook is repeated too much.
A crappy hook.
should take hold without being
The most memorable part of the song
It should be hummable.
It should stick in
the listeners head.
It’s the part of the song they look
forward to hearing.
The most memorable.
The lyric title is often called the hook.
tells people which cd to buy. See
Your title has to be catchy, not
songs message can enhance a simple title.
Simple words can become
Cliches can be
title hook should summarize the song.
people don't hear the words.
Place the title line carefully in your song.
title might not be in the song. Listen to “For what it’s worth” by
The 2nd most memorable hook
It's part of the music.
Repeated notes that form a phrase. The
phrase is also repeated.
patterned line that
cycles around on itself.
It often describes the
music in a rock song.
blues or jazz line. It's more linear.
Any short, repeated phrase.
Rhythm can form the basis of a song,
especially in rap and
songs play one chord, and get away with it because of good
“I want Candy”
“Bad to the Bone “
“Not Fade Away"
Sound effect hook
Millions of sounds can be added to music. Car crashes, phones, dogs, crowds, water,
metal grinding, etc.
Buy sample packs sounds online.
Find and record sounds on your synthesizer.
Record crazy vocals and process them
Use a DAW to process the samples
I really like Gross beat in FL studios.
Harmour in FL allows you to process samples as well.
Add them to live music with a trigger pad
Ableton is good for performances.
hooks can be in the background, or they can be the main hook.
Find sounds that enhance the emotion of your
Change the speed of the sample to
match the song.
Reverse the sample and make backwards
All the DAWs will do this easily.
Beatles used many sounds, from circus sounds to
Pink Floyd and White Zombie also used sounds very well.
Reading poetry helps you write lyrics.
Stories, poems, book reports, etc.
attention to things you want to focus on.
Don’t use too many poetic devices in one song.
Devices Rhyme Rhyming
Songs often use repeating sounds.
Repeat words, phrases, verses or choruses. Choruses usually repeat the same way
section can be built using a single word (often the
Words can repeat to fit the melody
(hey hey hey... hey baby... yeah... etc.)
Repeat the same sound, usually consonants or non vowels.
Words that create images in your mind.
Treat a place, thing or idea
like it’s human.
comparison using the word like or as.
A comparison where one thing is called something else.
A rhyme using the same vowel
sounds and different consonants. Example: late, make
A combination of pleasing sounds.
repeated at the
start of lines. This is very common.
Imagine you're in the situation.
What do you see, feel, hear, smell, taste?
Apply poetic devices to what you "experience".
Use Consonance whenever possible.
Pick words that sound the same.
is like putting a puzzle together.
Types of rhyme:
The same vowel and final consonant
sounds. (car, bar, star, far)
Slant or Imperfect Rhyme
syllable (love, dove)
2 rhyming syllables
(lovin, oven) (improve
her, prime mover)
Ends in a vowel
sound, it can be extended as a melody note. (fly,
sky) (hey, say)
Ends on a consonant, it can’t be extended.
Occurs within the lyric. (She told
me she had sold
out long ago.)
Make the rhyme first.
Get the rhyme first.
Rhymes suggest a storyline.
Read a thesaurus and rhyming dictionary.
Ten minutes a
day is enough.
Create dummy lyrics using rhymes.
Place holder lyrics kill writers block. They allow you to sing. Stop worrying about the words.
Sing anything. Any sound, any rhythm. Sing the line and it will create itself.
make a rhyme work.
Practice rhyming words
can use less rhymes:
Use more poetic devices.
letter represents a line of lyrics.
Lines with the same letters are rhymes.
a b a b a b a b
a a b b
a a b a
variety, tension and moves the lyric, returning to a
relieves the tension
a a a a
Pie” Don McLean
a b c b “House of the Rising Sun”
Make your own
a b a c d e d c
chorus a b c b c “Eye
of the Tiger”
Near rhyme can fool the ear.
Don’t throw out good lines if the rhyme
Never sacrifice meaning and emotion for a perfect rhyme.
Look at rhyming patterns in your favorite songs.
These rhymes occur within the line,
instead of at the end.
The effect is rather subliminal.
It sounds professional. These can
also occur in following lines.
The voice rises in a phrase.
The voice lowers in a phrase.
7 syllables, 4 accents
6 syllables, 3 accents
ry WENT 1+
7 syllables, 4 accents
2 and 4 match.
Lines 1 and 3 match.
Line 3 starts on an unaccented syllable
This doesn’t affect the flow of the words.
can also use equally stressed syllables
There are 4 accents in the first and third line.
There are 3 accents in the 3rd and 4th lines
Map your lyrics using
lyrics the same way.
Accents can emphasize key words.
the length of the syllables.
Fast lyrics can
be countered with slow lyrics. This adds
See the rhythm
the mood of your song and lyrics.
This means 4 beats in a measure (or bar) and 8 measures in a
four = 4/4 time
The strong beats
are 1 and 3.
or back beats
are 2 and 4
= 2/4 time
three = 3/4 time
The offbeat is 2
The offbeat is 2 or 4
In 4/4 time:
The bass drum often plays beats 1 and 3
(Not a rule)
The snare often plays beats 2 and 4
Write a song based on a rhythm figure.
Rhythm is a main starting point.
(along with notes, lyrics,
chords or melody)
Strong lyric accents are often placed
in each measure.
Write lyrics with a drum machine playing.
Sing the lyric ideas to the rhythm.
Focus on rhythm: notes and tone can be adjusted later.
a drum machine with lots of rhythms.
Or use software. You can program an exact rhythm.
Listen to different
styles of music.
Listen to music from other cultures.
Check out rhythm acts like Blue Man Group and Stomp.
Try to create different styles.
Stevie Ray Vaughn.
notes are treated as triplets.
Make a heavy rhythm, fast or slow.
Make a catchy rhythm.
Add 16th notes.
This makes any beat more interesting..
Write dummy lyrics to the
the rhythm, focus on it.
Move your body
to the rhythm, shake your head, dance.
Find a phrase that fits the rhythm.
A phrase might suggest a rhythm.
Syncopation is accenting a weak part
of the beat. See poetic stress
for accent info.
Shift a word to a
Don't put all the strong accents on strong beats.
It can make your music sound stiff.
Anticipate the strong beat.
Put the strong
accent on a weak beat.
Extend it into the strong beat.
Keep singing on the offbeat.
Cut across the beat instead
of landing on it.
2 measures land on the beat, 2 measures land off the beat
2 beats on, 2 beats off
is the thread that ties a song together. If done poorly, every
seam will be apparent
and it will not hold
together for long.”
Melody is a pleasant series of notes.
See the melodies page
It carries the lyric. It’s the
tune the main instrument plays.
Melodies “come into your
Guitar players also say this.
The secret is being in the zone.
See meditation or athletics or dancing
simple melodies. Analyze them and see what makes them work,
, and listen
to music. Eventually,
you'll hear melodies all day long.
Improvise on an instrument while you sing.
Melodies are simple. They're easier than chords, riffs, licks or solos.
and sing a scale. See solfege ear training
Make the scale notes into a simple melody.
things sound good.
Write a random melody on sheet music.
This develops sight
reading and singing.
Change any notes that don't sound right.
Give it a rhythm.
Good melodies are often simple. They have to be hummable.
Melody writing is technical
Change the chords, try note
combinations, rhythm variations.
and develop the best variations.
you know what you want, find the notes. If you don't know, experiment.
you don't like the melody, don’t try to
force it. Wait and let your
brain process it a few days.
Keep the Range manageable.
2 octaves is difficult
for anyone to sing.
hit song is always able to be sung by an average person.
A masterpiece can use many octaves.
First takes are often the best.
If you don't
record them, you're missing out.
melody can inspire something later.
Buy sheet music for your favorite
I think country music has the best simple melody examples.
Sing the melody over the chords. Keep it simple. If you can't play the chord, just play the root note of the chord.
Sing the melody over the tonic (root note) of the key. Keep playing the root chord.
Study how the melody interacts with the chords, and the root chord of the key signature..
The intervals between melody notes. The range of the notes
(high and low). How does the melody
changes between sections. How does major or minor emphasize the mood?
How do the bass notes interact with the melody? The bass is in charge of the chord progression and harmony.
Are any of the bass notes inverted? This makes the bassline smoother.
Are minor chords replaced with inverted / chords? Is the diminished 7 replaced with a minor chord? etc.
Are any parralell modes or chords used?
Develop a sense of melody.
Listen to music and sing along with the singer.
Record a chord progression. Play it over and over. Put it in an mp3 player. Go on a walk and sing over it.
Record it if it's good.
A melody can
come to you at any moment.
are all around you. Listen
Let the emotions of the world inspire
Singing gets melodies in
Sing and use the ear training exercises
Buy a portable recorder. They cost 30 - 300$
A Zoom H4 is great.
Call home and use your answering machine.
Call a friends phone and sing it as a message.
Write sheet music.
Sing it until
it's stuck in your head.
you'll remember it.
Make melodies into songs.
Start simple. It can get
more advanced later. Apply any principle.
Choose. Options will hold you back if you can't decide on one.
Melody is measured against the root note of
the key. Play a single chord with a rhythm. Sing a melody over it and record it.
Substitute chords. You can change the melody to fit the new chords. Change the chords if it doesn't work.
Collaborate, one person can record song
structures with chords. The melody writer records variations over top of it.
In the car. Make a CD of chord
Play it, and sing melodies. Record
with a separate recorder.
Or, have one tape player playing and
Tune in to the universe
Every instant someone is being
born, dying, making love, etc.
Tune into positive or negative energy.
Feel what they
feel. See what they see.
beyond your standard cliches.
Tune in and become one. The universe is making music right now. People are
rocking out right now.
Listen close and
you will hear it.
Remove the distractions of the world. To hear the quiet music inside you, you have to be quiet.
Songwriters can change the mood of the
The listener experiences the songwriters mood.
If the listener feels something it’s good. If they
get goose bumps on their skin, it’s great.
a complex melody if the chord
progression is simple.
a simple melody if the chord
progression is complex.
The best melody focuses on the music.
Don't try to be
memorable. Try to be good.
ROCK and ROLL
Melodies are often simple and mono-tonal
(one or two
To avoid monotony, change:
The chords behind the melody. This gives each
note a different effect.
can have strong
melodies, it depends on the band and singer.
Some Rock songs use
aggressive rap-like verse lyrics and melodic chorus lyrics.
to the Beatles. They are pop.
Work on your vocal tone.
Find a sexy singer to sing your songs.
Listen to the top 50 hit songs.
are very rare in rap songs.
Any melody exists in short
Rap is very attitude
It flows with word rhythms, instead of vocal tones.
can be used effectively in the chorus.
Listen to hit country
songs and sing along.
The patterns will get stuck in your head. Many country songs are
It will be in a
Melody by section
The verse melody sets
up the chorus melody. If it sucks, the listener will stop listening.
Keep it simple,
but never boring.
from the lyrics.
attention from the chorus.
The chorus melody has to be better than the verse.
Use more images and
Use less intervals in the melody.
Use intervals that reinforce the
Use spaces between phrases
This lets the listener think, and allows the singer breathing time
The pre-chorus sets up the
pre-chorus often starts on different
chords. (vi minor or IV Major)
The notes are often higher than the
lower than the chorus.
It often has a new word rhythm.
The pre-chorus gives a song
It anticipates the chorus.
If the the pre-chorus sounds like the chorus, make
the chorus sound better.
It has the highest notes, and the
intervals between notes.
can try the opposite.
Make the chorus melody different from the
acceleration or deceleration (speed control
Key signature changes.
Parallel mode changes.
Drum acceleration, instrument changes.
If the verse is stronger than the
chorus, switch them.
A bridge provides contrast.
The bridge melody depends on the
rest of the song.
or decelerate the rhythm or the phrases. See MELODY
Point of view
any chords from the verse or chorus,
Use different chords, or chord substitutions.
An instrumental bridge.
It uses an instrument to restate the melody musically.
It’s your last chance to say something
If you have nothing left to say, you don’t need a bridge.
This section is optional.
If it works,
the listener waits for it. If it doesn’t, it’s extra baggage.
Chords are the foundation of any song.
A chord describes patterns of
that make standard sounds.
A chord is not 3 or more notes played at the same time.
chords, and they play one note at a time.
The notes in the song form a chord.
These notes can be
the vocal melody, rhythm or lead guitar, bass, even drums.
Sometimes you'll see a N.C, notation. (non-chord)
This is a false
statement. Notes always form a relationship.
Chords help us:
Simplify the harmony.
Know which notes work best together.
Show songs to other musicians.
The color of any chord is determined
Major or minor
inversions: Major is 1 3 5.
Inversions would be 5 1 3, or 3 5 1.
Different notes are in the bass.
Major 7, minor
7, Major 6th, minor 6th, 4th, 2nd, b5, b2, etc.
Music genres affect chords choices.
Rock songs use large chord
jumps. (Jump an octave)
Pop songs avoid them.
diminished chords, (1 b3
b5, A tense chord)
Jazz uses them.
a piano or guitar.
Use the modal tuning
On a keyboard
, Play keys B or C.
Change keys with the transpose button.
Each key has seven notes, each note
can build a
Learn which chords are major and minor in a key. Learn
how they work together.
Chords by style
See Chord Progressions
use dominant 7th chords.
Play 1-7 4-7 5-7 instead of 1 4 5
This key uses non-scale notes from the parallel minor key.
It gives you that bluesy sound.
a blues scale over top of it. Focus on phrasing and tone.
12 Bar Blues
the most common blues structure. It has 12 measures.
Call and response
Say something lyrically, and answer with the guitar.
Rock often uses
power chords. (1 - 5 intervals)
D tuning allows power chords to be played with 1 finger. See
, Drop D pattern
progressions don’t have to be complex.
Two chords can be very powerful.
They have room for a lot of melody.