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The 24 Universal Melodic Figures

If you’ve ever sensed that certain melodic patterns recur from song to song, your hunch was right! Every song you know is made from just 24 melodic building blocks.

What is a Melodic Figure?

Composers rarely think about melodic figures, and that’s a shame because they offer so many ways to unlock your melodic potential.

Laser Dot Melody

Have you ever wondered why people find melodies so irresistible? Have you ever wondered why our feline friends find laser pointers so irresistible? Could there be a connection? I think so. In fact, I know so. Whenever we hear a melody, our ears “chase”

beatles all you need

How the Beatles Create 6 Dynamic Melodic Effects with Just 3 Notes

Audio enthusiasts have done a great job detailing the many ways that the Beatles’ approach to sound transformed popular music forever. In comparison, we composers have largely failed to show what makes the Beatles’ melodic craftsmanship so exceptional. The more I look into their

How to Make a Good-Looking Chord Chart

It’s hard to produce a professional-looking chord chart without a professional design program. Egad! How can anyone expect little old you (a songwriter, not a designer) to get the chords to line up with the lyrics? But there’s a trick! It takes a just

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Melodic Building Blocks?

Performers use the word “”play” for music-making. So why don’t composers? Learn how to build melodies with “musical Legos” and you’ll sound more spontaneous.

Don’t Stand So Close to Me

In 1980, a rock band called The Police recorded a song about a raging infection and the social distancing it required. “Don’t Stand So Close to Me” tells the story of an adolescent girl who becomes lovesick over her teacher. But rather than giving

music analysis necessary

Why Analyze Music?

I get asked this question A LOT. It seems that many people see analysis as a purely mental exercise that’s more likely to spoil music than reveal anything worthwhile. But any time we step outside of our experience of music to try to answer