THE KEY TO WRITING MUSIC

June 16, 2009

although this blog features an ode to great music remakes, it doesn't mean that we aren't encouraging readers to write their own music. performing original songs always feel so much better than doing covers.

if you're in a band and would like to make it in the music industry, it is always recommended that you have some original tracks to perform in order to make yourselves known. why? because a lot of people are already able to sing, play guitar drums, and other instruments. but not everyone can perform your original pieces in the way that you do! there will always be something UNIQUE to it that no tribute bands can ever mimic and this is what would make you stand out from the crowd of musicians.

having trouble writing an original? according to writer richie gilbert, MELODY IS KING. read this full article about song writing:

Write Music That Appeals To Peoples Emotions

Whether you write music first or lyrics first, please remember this one thing. Melody is king!

I want to explain why I believe that statement to be true.

I know when it comes to songwriting all of the elements must fit together just so. There has to be a perfect marriage of lyric, melody, structure and feel. That is the hallmark of a great song.

But I have heard too many songs that seem to focus primarily on the lyrics. The writer has poured out his or her soul to create a truly touching and beautiful story. Then those wonderful lyrics are paired with a mediocre, or even (gasp!) boring melody.

The result? A mediocre, boring song!

Those lyrics might work wonderfully on their own. But a monotonous unimaginative melody drags them down.

Appeal To The Emotions

As a songwriter, writing melody that appeals to the emotions of your listeners should be your top priority.

Why?

Because it's the melody that our brains latch onto first. A melody on it's own can make you cry, laugh and everything in between. It truly can be a direct communication to the soul. An interesting mood-evoking melody commands our attention. It makes us sit up and take notice.

Only then do we start to pay attention to the storyline. To the lyrics. And if those lyrics are top-notch: Bingo! You've hit the jackpot.

Write Lyrics As Good As Your Melody

Now, this scenario can also be looked at from the opposite side:

You write music that is truly inspiring. You then settle for the first lyrics that pop into your head. You don't bother rewriting those lyrics. You figure that since they fit the melody and tell the story they are good enough.

I did this for years! And I was always secretly embarrassed by my lyrics.

As songwriters, we must strive for that perfect balance. And it takes time and effort to master. (I'm still working on completing my apprenticeship!)

Work On Your Weakest Skill

If you only want to write music or you only want to write lyrics, that's okay. Collaborating with writers who excel at what you do not is a great way to write songs. If you love to write melody, find yourself a great lyricist. Or vice-versa.

Most of us are better at one aspect of songwriting than we are at others.

For me, it's always been writing melody that seems to come naturally. As a lead guitarist I usually opted for the slow, melodic, soulful lead over the fast shred. Through the years I've written quite a few instrumentals that I am proud of.

Lyrics have always been a struggle for me. That's why I tend to spend a lot more time working on the words to my new songs than I do the melody.

But I spend quite a bit of time on writing melody too! Because I understand how important a great melody is.

Listen To Your Melodies

Listen to the melodies you are writing. Are they as strong as your lyrics? Perhaps more importantly, can they stand on their own?

A melody should be able to stand on it's own. It should be moving, interesting, somewhat predictable and a little surprising at the same time.

I say somewhat predictable because we all need familiarity. If every line goes off in a completely different direction you will lose most of your listeners.

People must have something that they can grasp immediately. Especially in the chorus.

So go and write music that moves you. If it moves you, you can be pretty sure it will move others too.

Happy melody writing!

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