Tuesday, August 01, 2006

SONGWRITING: making it stick

What is it about a song that lingers? What is it that catches the listener's ear, and hangs around in their heart? Making it stick is about writing good hooks. A hook is that melody that won't let you go once you've heard it - it's simple, but it's so good that you can't stop singing it, and you want to hear it over and over again. You need something hooky enough melodically in the verse that keeps people listening until the chorus - and then you want something so significantly hooky in the chorus, that people will come back to it time and again. Have a think about the songs that you love the most, and then listen to them as a writer - ask yourself what notes they are using, how are they using rhythm, where are putting the accents? As you listen, you'll start to see some patterns in your favourite parts of the songs - it might be the use of octave leaps, a motive that mirrors another part of the song (maybe a three note motive in the verse that comes back in the chorus only a third or fifth higher) - there'll be all sorts of different things that you can spot and then adapt; taking the pattern as a blueprint, and putting your own melodies to it. Why not try it out with something you're working on today and see what happens - I'd love to hear how you get on!

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