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For more information, please see full course syllabus of Songwriting
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Lecture Comments (1)

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Post by Muriithi Alafia on October 6, 2012

The music/notes should be a little louder. The lecture is very clear but you really have to turn up the volume to hear the line of notes, then turn the volume back down when the lecture resumes. can this be fixed?

Melody & Harmony

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Melody & Harmony

Lecture Slides are screen-captured images of important points in the lecture. Students can download and print out these lecture slide images to do practice problems as well as take notes while watching the lecture.

  • Intro 0:00
  • Melody Lesson 1:59
    • 3 Most Stable Keys
    • Unstable Notes
    • Example: Stable Note
  • Harmony Grooves 5:47
    • Groove
    • Example: Own Harmonic Groove

Transcription: Melody & Harmony

Hello and welcome back to introduction to songwriting.0000

My name is Elliott your songwriting teacher.0003

So, in today's lesson we are going to talk about the 3 basic components to writing a song.0006

And developing your song ideas and remember those are lyric writing, melody and harmony.0011

So, I am going to give you 3 very basic exercises.0017

One in each of those areas to help you start developing your ideas.0021

So, the first thing I want to talk to you about is lyrics.0024

So, we are going to go through an exercise. It is called the object write.0028

And that is you are going to take a certain amount of time and it is just 5 minutes.0032

That supposed to say object write.0039

And the purpose of being only 5 minutes is I want you to tap into creatively what you want to say, write it down and then stop.0040

I do not want you to try this exercise for 4 hours at a time and just end up very frustrated.0050

That is not the point of it at all.0055

So, all you going to do is write a list of things that are associated with this one word.0057

And I am going to tell you what the word is. Just a moment.0061

You do not have to feel pressure to come up with lyrics that rhyme.0063

Or write a paragraph with full sentences, with punctuation.0066

Now, it is probably going to look a lot like a shopping list, like one or two words or maybe some short phrases.0070

So, and I want you to time yourself again just 5 minutes.0075

It does not sound like a long period of time and it is on purpose.0078

So, the object. I am going to have you do an object write on is the word orange.0084

And a bonus hint is it is not just a color it is also a fruit.0090

So, as much as you can think of the word orange just start writing and writing and writing and see what you come up with.0094

And then next lesson we are going to review that.0100

And I am going to show you a few tips for how you can take that object write and turn that into some ideas for your verse.0103

So, start your timer and I will see you back in a minute.0110

OK, so the next exercise we are going to do today is one having to do with melody.0114

Now, if you think of the QC which is just CDEFGAB.0121

What notes are going to be the most stable and which notes are going to be the most unstable?0128

Stable meaning to the listener it is going to feel like you are at home.0135

Maybe that you are at the end of a section of a song.0140

It unstable notes will probably appear in most dramatic parts of the song.0143

Maybe the bridge going right into the course where that person is trying to hit the big high note.0148

That is probably an unstable tone.0152

So, if we think of in the QC this C cord and again a cord is just 3 notes played at the same time.0154

It is CE and G and may not surprise you to know that those are the 3 notes that are the most stable in this key.0162

So, the 3. This is going from stable all the way to unstable CGE.0170

And then we start going into some unstable territory with DAF and then finally B.0177

Now, why do you think these notes FA, excuse me DAF and B are more unstable.0188

They do not resolve. They want to go somewhere else.0198

And the somewhere else that they want to go is to actually one of these notes over here.0201

So, having said that here is our first example. This is just one measure of music, 4 quarter notes.0205

I want you to keep your melodies initially very simple just to understand these concepts.0212

So, we have CDED and then I ended it on C.0217

Now, if we look up at our chart here. That is the most stable note I could of ended it on.0225

So, at what part of the song would this probably occur?0231

If you answered the end of the verse through the end of the course you are correct.0235

So, what I want you to do is as you see we just have the same one measure of music 4 different times.0240

And I want you to end it on different notes.0246

So, this is end on a slightly unstable tone.0250

Well, if we look at our chart of stable versus unstable what is a slightly unstable tone?0252

Maybe that would be A. OK, so I am going to draw A here and on a slightly stable tone.0258

What would that be? CDED slightly stable. Let us try E.0268

So, let us draw E and on an unstable tone.0272

Well, the most unstable is B so let us end on a B and C and see how that sounds.0279

So, I want you for homework if you choose to do it on.0285

Choose your own notes here. What would be stable and what would be unstable.0289

And then play them one after another and see how it sounds.0293

So, it will sound something like this.0296

So, that sounds very stable and what would you choose there?0310

Slightly stable tone here and ending on an unstable tone.0320

So, I wanted to show you this is how simple you can be.0327

You can take one measure of music and then all of the sudden turn it into a Mars, a music.0330

You have a verse here and you start it with just one measure idea and that is how simple your melodies can grow.0336

So, our final exercise for today's lesson is an exercise in harmony.0343

Now, when you hear the idea of what is harmony?0349

Harmony is the cords that the piano or guitar or any other instrument will play underneath the bed.0351

Providing a bed for the melody and a lyrics.0359

So, the easiest way to think of harmony as far as songwriting goes is to establish a groove.0361

And what you may ask is a groove? A groove is simply 2 cords back and forth. That is it.0368

When you go back and forth between the 2 cords you just feel it is natural rhythm.0374

Harmonically that is occurring and it feels like a groove.0379

Some hit songs, very famous songs have been written just from a 2 bar groove going back and forth.0383

If you need help developing your melodies this is one of the easiest ways to do it.0389

Just choose 2 cords. In this case I have chosen C and F and just play them back and forth.0393

And just think of what might come to you as an idea of a melody.0399

And remember with our previous melody example keep it really simple.0403

Just a few quarter notes. That is all you really need.0407

So, listen to this harmonic groove and see if you can come up with something. And then back to C, F.0409

So, I have got an idea right there at the end there.0452

You can play with a temple play them faster or slow it down even further.0454

That was actually already a little bit on the slow side anyway but.0461

So, to give you an idea on the groove it is just 2 cords going back and forth.0464

And it is the easiest way harmonically to get you used to coming up with ideas of how to grow the sections of your song.0471

So, that is it for today's lesson. Thank you for tuning into

This is Elliot your songwriting teacher and I will see you again soon.0483