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Writing Strong Melodies - Lessons from Nature

What do Trees, Smoke, Muscles and Waves have to teach us about writing stronger melodies?

Writing Strong Melodies - Lessons from Nature

What do Trees, Smoke, Muscles and Waves have to teach us about writing stronger melodies?
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What makes a good song? Why do certain melodies really resonate with us? What do we have to learn from nature, about songwriting and composition? These are the questions we'll be exploring in this class.
Examining how patterns are found in nature, and especially variations in patterns - then applying this to music. The musical term is a Motif. And learning how to work with motif's is a fantastic way of writing songs. We resonate with a pattern, and it's a key songwriting technique to work with patterns effectively.
A key element of what makes smoke attractive is the element of surprise. And in songwriting, you will need to determine a balance between predictability and surprise. A lot of that is up to taste - your personal preference. But it's critical to understand how to play with that balance, so you have more flexibility and skill in using these elements while composing.
When writing a song, it's really important to understand how to control tension. Tension and relaxation are how movement is created (not just in music, but in your very body). And there are several songwriting techniques for accomplishing this. We'll dive into this deep over the next couple of videos so that you can add this technique to your composing.
If you're curious about how to write songs that have a deeper level of complexity, and interest, to them - then waves are the perfect example in nature for how to do this. At the ocean, you have overlapping waves that are constantly moving in and out of each other. We'll look at the musical equivalent for that - and how you can weave other melodic lines into your compositions. The musical term for this is counterpoint - and it's an ancient composition technique that's still relevant today. Learning how to utilize this can add much depth/complexity to your composing and songwriting.
Watch me critique a student's first attempt at songwriting/composing, using the concepts applied in this class.

What do Trees, Smoke, Muscles, and Waves have to teach us about writing melodies?

A killer melody line can make a song (and a lame one can also break your song).  You know a great melody when you hear it, by maybe you're wondering WHY it works?

That's what we'll explore in this class, as we dive into songwriting/composition techniques to strengthen your music. 

We'll approach this topic by looking at nature.  Nature is all around us, and it's literally us. Our bodies are part of nature. Therefore, we are instinctually attracted to works that have really strong similarities to nature. Not literal similarities (i.e. a song about the ocean), but the similarity in structure and anatomy.  

Here are some of the things we'll cover in this class, that will help you when you are writing a song:

  • How patterns, and variations on patterns, are found in nature - and how that relates to music composition and songwriting. 
  • What can we learn from smoke - and how that teaches about anticipation and surprise.  And how this can inform how many repetitions you'll use when writing a melody.
  • How tension and relaxation can create movement in your music - just like how it works in our bodies (with muscles).  There are a number of composition techniques in this, for how to work with tension (dissonance). 
  • Addition complexity through overlapping melodic lines - similar to how waves overlap each other.

Whether you're someone looking to get better at writing songs, or composing instrumental music, we are going to dive into the fundamentals around music. There will be plenty of songwriting techniques in there, but my main aim is to equip you with a better understanding of how these elements work.

This course is for beginners, as well as advanced, musicians.

What makes a good song? Why do certain melodies really resonate with us? What do we have to learn from nature, about songwriting and composition? These are the questions we'll be exploring in this class.
Examining how patterns are found in nature, and especially variations in patterns - then applying this to music. The musical term is a Motif. And learning how to work with motif's is a fantastic way of writing songs. We resonate with a pattern, and it's a key songwriting technique to work with patterns effectively.
A key element of what makes smoke attractive is the element of surprise. And in songwriting, you will need to determine a balance between predictability and surprise. A lot of that is up to taste - your personal preference. But it's critical to understand how to play with that balance, so you have more flexibility and skill in using these elements while composing.
When writing a song, it's really important to understand how to control tension. Tension and relaxation are how movement is created (not just in music, but in your very body). And there are several songwriting techniques for accomplishing this. We'll dive into this deep over the next couple of videos so that you can add this technique to your composing.
If you're curious about how to write songs that have a deeper level of complexity, and interest, to them - then waves are the perfect example in nature for how to do this. At the ocean, you have overlapping waves that are constantly moving in and out of each other. We'll look at the musical equivalent for that - and how you can weave other melodic lines into your compositions. The musical term for this is counterpoint - and it's an ancient composition technique that's still relevant today. Learning how to utilize this can add much depth/complexity to your composing and songwriting.
Watch me critique a student's first attempt at songwriting/composing, using the concepts applied in this class.

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Jonathan Haidle

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