What is the course about?
Explore what makes a good melody. We will focus mainly but not exclusively on popular songs of the last hundred years. This study is suitable for songwriters and anyone interested in how music works.
What will we cover?
- Components of melody: pitch, intervals and rhythm
- Small-scale melodic shape: phrase; statement and answer; repetition and contrast; "hooks"
- An outline of the fundamentals of harmony: bassline; harmonic progression; changes of key
- Groove and feel
- Song structures: verse, chorus, "bridge", middle 8
- Critical listening.
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
- Listen to music (others and your own) with greater critical understanding
- Be aware of compositional techniques available to the songwriter
- Apply the above to your own creative work.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
You should be able to demonstrate competence as a musician who is capable of attempting the compositional tasks the course will involve. This usually means writing using staff notation. The tutor can negotiate with you other ways of capturing/composing, however. E.g. use of audio recording. Willingness to 'have a go' is the more important than experience.
You will need to follow written and verbal instructions in English and engage in class discussions.
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
We listen to examples from different styles and periods to illustrate the topics under disscussion. Some songs will be analysed thoroughly. Simple composition exercises will be set for students to apply the principles/devices discussed.There will be the opportunity to perform your own work to the class and bring other musical examples you would like to discuss.
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
A machine to record elements of the class would be useful. Please also bring manuscript and a notebook.
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
You might also be interested in Song lyrics writing for popular music and/or Songwriting: form and function
Learn how to record, mix and master your songs with one of our Music Technology courses and learn how to build your musical career through onie of our courses in Professional development for musicians.