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Melody in Songwriting: Tools and Techniques for Writing Hit Songs (Berklee Guide)

Melody in Songwriting: Tools and Techniques for Writing Hit Songs (Berklee Guide)

Discover songwriting techniques from the hit makers! This comprehensive guide unlocks the secrets of hit songs, examining them, and revealing why they succeed. Learn to write memorable melodies and discover the dynamic relationships between melody, harmony, rhythm, and rhyme. Fine-tune your craft and start writing hits!Discover songwriting techniques from the hit makers! This comprehensive guide unlocks the secrets of hit songs, examining them, and revealing why they succeed. Learn to write memorable melodies and discover the dynamic relationships between melody, harmony, rhythm, and rhyme. Fine-tune your craft and start writing hits!

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3 Responses to Melody in Songwriting: Tools and Techniques for Writing Hit Songs (Berklee Guide)

  • middlemoo "maraschino" says:
    72 of 74 people found the following review helpful:
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    TRIPLE-A FOR “STUCK” SONGWRITERS!, June 12, 2000
    By 
    middlemoo “maraschino” (United States) –
    Amazon Verified Purchase(http://www.amazon.com/gp/community-help/amazon-verified-purchase/177-6670393-4450124', ‘AmazonHelp’, ‘width=400,height=500,resizable=1,scrollbars=1,toolbar=0,status=1′);return false; “>What’s this?)

    Jack Perricone is a great admirer (and practitioner!) of the pop song, and in this book he outlines successful strategies for songwriters to get back IN the groove, or to break OUT of their writing “ruts”. Granted, this material may seem rather “heady” at times, and less intuitive than we like to think creativity is, but when you need a jumpstart to get back on track, you’ll be glad to have this assortment of options at hand. Although this book is nominally about Melody only, the author includes all other song components as they interact, and provides a fresh perspective and analysis on how and why certain songs reach us and connect with the public. There’s as much respect shown toward rock and blues songs as more traditional pop, and a lot of very valuable stuff for writers of ALL styles of songs.

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  • Jack says:
    50 of 51 people found the following review helpful:
    4.0 out of 5 stars
    A great book on melody, May 28, 2004
    By 
    Jack (oslo Norway) –

    This is a good book, well written , and clearly laid out. It offers the reader a methodical approach to writing better melodies by showing you that good melodies are the result of contrast, balance and fluidity. It also covers harmony and its relationship with melody giving examples from popular songs. The book is a refreshing change as it does exactly what it says on the cover; it looks at melody within song writing, and approaches it as a serious subject to be studied and learned. If like myself you get slightly lost every now and then, read the chapter through, go back and read it again, its really worth it because once this stuff begins to sink in, you go away and see what he’s talking about as soon as you turn on the radio or listen to your favourite music. I say a refreshing change because it differs from other song writing books that I have recently purchased with titles such as “How To Write That Hit!” etc which seem to spend about 3 pages telling you how to write songs then divide the rest of the book between telling you how to “Pitch that song in the market” or patronising the reader with little cute stories about how they wrote their half a hit that came out 200 years ago “Oh and then Bruce, as in Springsteen, called up asking how the song was coming along, it was all so hilarious”. We don’t want cute stories , we want guide lines to the craft of writing beautiful songs. Lastly, in this book, Perricone does not attempt to suggest that technique is more important than inspiration, indeed he says that both work hand in hand, each one necessitating the other. As an aspiring young song writer myself I have often heard this debate between those that believe in the dreaded technique, and those that believe in inspiration alone. The argument on the one hand goes, the decline of the modern pop song is due to the fact that writers no longer learn their craft, long gone are the golden years of song writing (Berlin, Porter, Rogers and Hart etc.). On the other hand, I’ve heard lots of song writers (none of whom ever got a publishing deal!) saying “you dont need to learn technique, inspiration is what I use”. often said with a kind of religious conviction. The example people in this camp always wheel out is the fact that, yes neither Lennon nor McMartney read or wrote music. What these people seem to fail to comprehend is that both Lennon and McCartney were almost musical scholars when it came to the popular songs of their time, analysing, dissecting and pinching sections of these songs. Anyone who’s ever read “Revolution in the Head” by Ian Mcdonald (a fantastic book!) will tell you so. My own point of view is consistent with that of Perricone. Having read his book I feel that the knowledge of a little technique has only propelled and projected my creativity and to me at-least it seems preposterous that song writers should think that they need not learn a little craft. Try and become a painter or a carpenter with out a little technique. Now after years of heart ache, not knowing how to develop that little melody in my head and putting the guitar down after five minutes to make a cup of coffee, with a little know how, I am writing better songs. At least my girlfriend thinks so!!! Go and create people! We need good songs to wrap up our memories. Best wishes, jack.

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  • frankp93 "frankp93" says:
    35 of 35 people found the following review helpful:
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    It’s About Composition, Plain and Simple, April 11, 2006
    By 
    frankp93 “frankp93″ (Connecticut United States) –
    (VINE VOICE)
      

    This terrific book examines what might be called a “theory of melody” as applied to songwriting, although many of the principles Perricone demonstrates come straight out of classical composition and could be applied to melody in many contexts
    other than popular song.

    The author wisely divides the work into two large areas he calls
    “Melody: Its Components” and “Melody-Harmony Relationships”. Separating the horizontal and vertical aspects of melody is an effective learning tool, though such a line would likely never be drawn in the intuitive act of composing.

    The Components part of the book deals with the behavior of tones and the contruction of melody: the influence of rhythm on phrases, devices to develop and contrast motives
    and the expansion of this basic material into larger sections is covered.

    The second part of the book introduces the harmonic element, placing the melodic invention of the first part into its traditional context. Unless you’re planning to write Gregorian chant or solo voice Appalachian ballads, your melodies interact
    with, and are to a certain extent a function of, the underlying harmony. Tension tones, and the influence of target and bass tones are explored. Gradually the integration of harmony and melody unfolds and a set of tools are demonstrated for creating
    both chord progressions and corresponding melody. Indeed, much of this material is as applicable to jazz improvisation and composition as it is to songwriting.

    The author assumes you’re familiar with musical notation and the harmony illustrations are keyboard-oriented, so if you’re a guitarist you’ll have to adapt the chord symbols to your own voicings.

    The harmonic vocabulary covers a broad range of musical styles and should be familiar to rock/pop musicians as well as those interested in jazz/show tunes. There are a number of references to well-known songs, but in contrast to Jimmy Kochulis’ books, Perricone relies somewhat less on examples and possibly
    more on the individual’s own initiative. He assumes you’ve got the listening background and experience and have confidence beyond the phase of literal imitation (a phase that’s nothing to be ashamed of and has been the starting point for most composers throughout history).

    There’s a tremendous amount of useful material here for those willing to work at it. This is not a “write a hit song in 21 days”-type of book. It’s a serious composition text that will reward serious study.

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