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Communicating with melody

I’ve never heard songwriters explain how melody relates to the meaning of their words.

Is their approach completely intuitive? Or are interviews (where I always hear songwriters talking) the wrong place for that kind of discussion?

I don’t know. But I don’t have a problem talking about it here.

This is a continuation of my previous post on time signatures and rhythm. You may want to check that one out first.




Walking through the doorway, all on the same pitch. A pretty determined move, full of intention. Then it meanders kind of drunkenly as soon as the singer sees whoever it is that’s standing there.

A nice contrast between confidence and a lack thereof. What story does it tell?



melody 5:4

The ascending line implies optimism, a feeling of lightness. The descending line implies the opposite. Why is this person on the other side of the doorway so awful? How does the symbol of the doorway fit in here?



melody 3:4

The descending line isn’t hopeful. But the rise in melody on each downbeat is. A descent to the depths, all the while thinking that maybe things will be alright.

Maybe they will. This is an example of melody as foreshadowing. Things are bad, but they could get better.

You’ll have to write the rest of the song to see if they do…

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