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For more information, please see full course syllabus of Songwriting
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Lecture Comments (2)

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Post by Beverly Terry on June 1, 2013

Hi, I hope you are there. I'm doing the lessons as you prescribe. Following this Part 1, using C as the first note of the last measure, I had to invert the F chord to make it sound reasonable. I am using Sibelius to help me and that's why I had to invert the last chord F. I hope you offer a comment. I don't want to be alone here.

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Post by Mark Howson on May 20, 2012

Me too, great lessons though.

Rhyming, Melody, Harmony, Part 1

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Rhyming, Melody, Harmony, Part 1

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
  • Object Write: Ocean 0:09
    • Object Write Review
  • Rhyming Lesson 3:06
    • Rhyme Scheme
    • Example: Amazing Grace
    • Example: Beyonce- Irreplacable
  • Melody and Harmony 5:57
    • Audio Example: Combining Melody & Harmony
    • Possible Ending Note

Transcription: Rhyming, Melody, Harmony, Part 1

Hello and welcome back to, and this is Intro to Songwriting, and my name is Eliot, your teacher.0000

So, let's get right into today's exercises.0006

If you remember last time, we did two different types of object writes. One was on ocean, and one was on - there we go - the word truck.0009

Today, for the purposes of this exercise, we are going to focus on the one we did on ocean.0021

Again, remember, an objects write is just a 5-minute exercise.0025

It is timed for a short amount of time just to get you into the practice of figuring out what you want to say.0028

Now, again, you can use the object write as a tool. You might not necessarily want to write a song about the ocean.0036

You might want to write a song about a beach or a vacation home that you used to stay at- anything having to do with water.0042

Once you use the object write as the tool, you might be really surprised with what you come up with.0049

So, here is just a 5-minute list that I came up with.0053

Some of these things I personally think are really cool, and some I would not use in a song; and that is both OK.0056

Let's go through: cool water, each wave is a new breath. That is, kind of, interesting.0063

A new moment, seagulls diving, soothing sounds, children splashing in the waves- for some reason, I really like that, so I am going to circle that.0068

And again, this is where your personal taste comes into play.0077

For me, you can take this as an example outside of the object write and just once sentence children splashing in the waves.0080

You get an idea of a vision and a story and a picture just with that one line.0089

So, we will see what I can do with that, but for now, I am going to circle it.0094

Running by the water, calm, clear, clean blue- that is really good alliteration.0098

That is when you have the first letter or sound of each word is the same: C-C-C.0102

Come here to think, ships passing, people going into place, ships passing-0110

I think there is this really this old song ships passing in the night, something like that.0116

I might be dating myself, but that is, kind of, nice. I think I probably came up with that because I like to go on cruises, so we will see.0119

People going to new places- that is good.0126

New voyages, new experiences, cold salty sea- I cannot imagine where that would fit in a song, but who knows.0129

If one of you uses cold salty sea and writes a lyric, let me know.0137

Family vacations, finding my breath, volleyball on the beach- I used to play beach volleyball all the time.0141

Sand castles- I love sand castles. I love to write a song having to do with sand castles.0146

Ocean wave crashing into the castle, breaking it apart, burying people into the sand- that was always fun, and sand and toes.0152

OK, so that is the idea with an object write. You go through your 5-minute list of ideas in your head, and you get it all down.0159

And then, see if anything that you came up with is something you might potentially be able to use as far as the lyric.0165

Maybe it is an idea for a verse or even the subject or title of the song.0172

And so, next time, I am going to show what I did with these that I circled, so let's go on to our next exercise.0176

This is our first examples of rhyming, and so, the rhyme scheme is the pattern by which a certain rhyme is repeated, and here are a few examples.0185

So, if we think of a verse as having four lines, 1, 2, 3, 4,0196

and you see something that says A, B, A, B, that would mean that the first line that rhymes with the third.0201

So, this would be 1, 2, 3, 4, while the second line rhymes with the fourth. That is why it goes A-B-A-B, so let's look at an example of that.0208

Amazing Grace- this is a song that I think all of us know.0219

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me, I was lost - excuse me - I once was lost, but now I'm found, was blind, but now I see.0222

So, sound rhymes with found, and then, me rhymes with see, so that is why we have A-B-A-B.0233

Alright, so, let's look at our next example. So, this one is A-A-B-B, which means that the first and the second lines are going to rhyme.0246

And then, the third and the fourth lines are going to rhyme, so this is different from Amazing Grace.0253

This is an example from Beyoncé, a song called Irreplaceable.0258

And keep talking that mess, that's fine, but could you walk and talk at the same,0263

and it's my name that's on that Jag - short for Jaguar - so go move your bags, let me call you a cab.0268

So, we have fine, time. It is pretty funny how I moved from Amazing Grace to Beyoncé.0277

Hey, they are all examples: Jag and cab, so, this is A-A-B-B.0281

If you think Jag and cab, you have a G here and then, a B in cab, it is not a perfect rhyme, but it is actually the same thing here.0289

You have an N here in fine and M in time, but they are more family rhymes.0298

The way that our voices sound those consonants, they are, kind of, in the same family.0302

So, when you sing them in a song keep talking that mess, that's fine, could you walk and talk at the same time,0307

your voice is going to sing the vowel, which is the I sound, and that is why it sounds like a really good rhyme.0313

So, this would be an example A-A-B-B. Oh, here is a bonus tip.0319

Bags is an internal rhyme because this is within in the middle of the line:0323

and it's my name that's on that Jag, so go move your bags, let me call you a cab.0329

She is rhyming, giving a bonus rhyme right in the middle of the line, and that even accelerates the rhyme scheme rhythmically.0334

It really impresses the listener, and it is just a wonderful additional tip you can do.0343

So, you can stay with rhyme scheme of A-A-B-B and then, even add an internal one, too- just a little bonus tip for you.0346

OK, so, let's go to our final exercise of today. This is an exercise.0353

This is the first time we are going to combine melody and harmony.0360

So, if you remember, this is one of our very simple examples of melody. It is just a 1-measure phrase.0364

And we are going to repeat it four different times, and then, we are going to choose four different endings, and here is an audio example.0372

So, we are going to be playing these chords, C and F, just two chords, back and forth to establish a groove with this melody.0381

And then, I am going to leave the second measure of each 2-measure example open for you to come up with what you think a possible ending could be.0388

And then, all of a sudden, here we go again with an example where we have 1-measure of an idea, and we are turning it into an 8-measure verse.0397

So, let's play this example for you. [music playing]0403

So, there we have it. You can probably guess what note is going to sound the most at home.0432

Remember, we were talking earlier about stable versus unstable tones.0437

And again, if we are talking about eight bars of eight measures of music, we probably want to have the most stable tone at the end.0444

So, the listener feels like it is a complete thought.0448

So, probably, this one here, I would choose C because that...OK, this is a C. Here we go, me and this pen.0450

Why do not you look at this and then, choose the other three endings, and then, all of a sudden, you have written another eight bars of music.0464

That concludes this lesson. Thank you for tuning in at, and I will see you very soon at our next lesson.0471